Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cameron Hughes Lot 326 Pinot Noir

In the past I hated writing tasting notes. Maybe I still do. I won't know until I finish writing this post, at which time I will let you know.

Why do I hate writing tasting notes?  Because I get tired of trying to think of flowery prose that is so detailed and original and blah blah blah. The thing is, there's really nothing new under the sun so everything I can manage to write has been written before about some other wine that probably tasted only remotely similar to the one I am scrambling to describe. 

I will sometimes read the notes people write for a particular wine over at Cellar Tracker. There's such a wide range of impressions and scores, so if you think about it, what is the point of reading all these reviews to try and decide if a wine is worth buying?  Everyone says something different.  Perhaps there is a general consensus but still, most of the time the details vary quite a bit. 

Maybe that's why everyone sticks to going by what Robert Parker Jr. says. At least there is some consistency there. 

So here, for whatever it is worth, is my first review in a long time of a wine. I'll try and keep it simple. 

The past four evenings I've had the pleasure of tasting Cameron Hughes' Lot 326, which is a 2010 North Coast Pinot Noir that I bought at Costco for a mere $9.99. 

The color is a little bit darker than I expected for a Pinot Noir. Aroma-wise, yes it is a Pinot but it was missing that character that tells me right away, this is a Pinot Noir. I had to think about it briefly instead of just knowing what it was. 

Taste-wise: The wine had nice red fruit balanced by good acidity and the tannins were smooth. Did it taste like a Pinot Noir?  My answer for the taste is the same as for the aromas - it makes a nicely fruity red wine but it isn't immediately apparent what the varietal is. My impression was the same for all four portions of the bottle over the four nights.

It's drinking very well right now; it's got very good balance and held up well in the glass. For the price it is a good deal and I'd recommend it if you aren't overly critical about wanting something truly Pinot Noirish, but instead are happy about something in the general vicinity. 

Now.. did I like writing that review above?  Yes, I did!  I guess I will do some more. But don't expect them any more frequently than every four days. 

Remember.. if you were intending to buy something from, go there by clicking the product link at the left.  Okay?  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Am I still drinking wine? 


One wine per week?

Not quite. A little more than that. I am still doing what I described a while ago, which is to open a 750 ml bottle, fill up three (3) 187.5 ml bottles and then drink the 4th 187.5 ml portion that evening. 

Well actually, not drink it. I put the wine in my mouth, chuggle it around (like that word?), savor it, then spit it out. I get all the benefits of the taste of the wine but not the "relaxation" from the alcoholic content. Not that there's anything wrong with that relaxation but spitting it out helps avoid the temptation of opening that 2nd or 3rd (or 4th) little bottle that I am supposed to save for subsequent nights. 

And that's my wine-tasting process. I've had a bunch of wine since the last tasting note I wrote which was so long ago I don't even remember. 

I'm going to make an effort to be more timely with this blog instead of having it be an annual event.  

By the way, if any of you need anything from, please get there by clicking whatever product I've got featured on the left side of this blog because if you buy something during the visit triggered by that click, I get a little spiff.  It doesn't have to be that product; as long as you buy something in the same visit, that's what counts. 

I'll try to post some interesting, less-conventional stuff there to remind you, okay? 

See ya' tomorrow! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Couldn't wait a year... I'm back!

My previous post was nearly a year ago - July 31, 2012. That was spent giving you all an update on my Vassani wine cooler, which at that time I had used for about a month or so. 

After another year, or nearly so, how has it held up? 

Very nicely, I would say. Knock on wood, I'm pleased with it. 

In my opinion, a condenser-driven unit is better than one of those thermoelectric deals.  Yes it is a lot noisier but if it is not in a room in which you require a quiet environment, then what difference does it make?

According to the indoor/outdoor thermometer whose outdoor probe I keep in the middle rack of the unit, it ranges from 57.6 to 47.8 degrees. Now you might think a 10 degree variation is too much for storing wine, and you'd be right except most of the time, except for when the condenser turns on, the temperature hovers around 56-57 degrees (54-55 in the winter). 

I figure even though the temp goes down to 47 degrees, it doesn't stay that low for very long. Right away it starts rising up, but when it hits the mid 50's it seems to rise a lot slower so the unit is not constantly cycling on and off.  

The proof is in the wine, I suppose, and so far I haven't encountered a bad bottle.  It's not for real long term storage anyway; the oldest bottles are vintage 2005: Tablas Creek Panoplie and Esprit de Beaucastel, and Chateau Caronne Ste. Gemme.  There's also a 2007 Stony Hill Chardonnay, but everything else is a lot more recent. 

For $149, I sure can't complain. It's been great so far.