Rutherford 101

Black black black. Black like me. With–shockingly–a little sediment. That perfect ruddy plum comes out abrasive and wild. Metallic saw cuts in rock ebbing and flowing with the alcohol and dense fruit as air gradually works its magic on this thick monster. Creme fraiche and blue cheese mingle with the dark earth and wet sandpaper.

Everybody always yells at me because I get around to sharing these Cameron Hughes masterpieces after they’re already sold out. Well I have some good news for you: I just checked and this one is not sold out! So that’s a first. Who knows where this stuff comes from and who cares! You don’t need names on wine like this to see the magic in it and frankly–based on my experience in the last decade or so–who needs a better brand than Cameron Hughes on the label anyway? I mean–come on: everything he touches is golden.

But you have to taste it. I can tell you right now just with my nose in it this thing is just stupidly too young to drink. But it’s also kind of fun and of course very informative to drink wines at this stage but you really want to drink this wine over the next 15 years. The nose even now–before I drink it–has developed further and along with gobs of sharp fruit there’s a meat-market and garam masala note that’s playing over what I’m going to call “tertiary potential”.

In the mouth, beautiful and round: in an icy-stream sort of way. Sliced onion and applesauce are cloaked miserably behind a stream of acidic beauty. Tannins are impossible to ignore from practically the first drop that hits your tongue and the delicate sweet round cherry nature of them dominate the finish.

The weird part about this wine is that, well, first of all: you assume that Cameron Hughes is going to make a pretty user-friendly wine, but this is NOT a homogeneous over-oaked blockbuster stupid-ripe Napa cab. Not that at all. It is a lean, mean machine, while frosting itself with decadent potential. Classic Rutherford.

2014 CAMERON HUGHES ‘Lot 606’ Rutherford Napa Valley 14.3


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