Cameron Hughes – A Modern Day Négociant

Cameron Hughes Wine

 Cameron Hughes Wine – “Great wine doesn’t have to be expensive.”

If you are not familiar with Cameron Hughes Wines this is your chance.  This holiday season if you are out shopping for a Napa Cab around $25, you quickly realize you are hard pressed to find a high quality wine at that price point. Well look no further, Cameron Hughes Wines will seek and negotiate bargain basement prices for you on exceptional, high quality wines.  Their wines on average sell in the $12-$35 range with a few exceptional wines around $55-$75.  How do they do it?  Well read further to hear the story of Cameron Hughes and his wines.

Cameron Hughes is a modern-day wine négociant, searching for quality wines and then selling them under his own private label. Cameron first started selling his private label Lot 1 of a Lodi Syrah to Costco in 2002.  He sold the $28 bottle of Syrah for $8.99.  He does not own any vineyards, instead he travels to producers throughout the world from cellar to cellar, buying wine in bottles or barrels.  Then negotiating the best possible price for the highest quality wines.  Cameron made a real mark in the wine world during the last recession when wineries had a glut of supply and not enough buyers.  Cameron bought some of the highest quality wines from California, Washington, Oregon, and Europe.  He bought the wines on the cheap and slapped on his famous “Lot” labels and sold the wines for a fraction of the cost.

Cameron Hughes wines are for those that want premium quality wines at lower price points.  The only caveat is that you don’t know what producer is in your glass.  Cameron spends a great deal of time hunting for bargains.  Having some incredible connections, it is rumored that Cameron Hughes has sourced wines from some cult wineries in Napa.  One of them being Harlan Estates, though Cameron has never confirmed this. Cameron keeps the producers names anonymous, which allows him to source super premium, high-end wines.  This allows the producers the opportunity to unload excess wines.

Cameron Hughes Wine

The fun and entertaining aspect of drinking and serving Cameron Hughes wines is the speculation.  Cameron gives you just enough information on the label to allow you to speculate and guess and discuss the possibilities of the wine.  These wines are great conversation pieces as it gets you and your friends thinking about who the actual producer is.  When I served these wines at a recent gathering, they sparked great conversations with our guests, on regions, appellations, soils, climates, and winemaking styles.  All the while leaving a sense of mystery and speculation of the producer.

I sampled through 12 bottles of their wines, and each offered compelling values.  Below are highlights and notes of some of my favorites.

Cameron Hughes Wine

2014 Cameron Hughes Lot 606 Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford ($29)

This is an insanely great Cab.  It is a classic Rutherford wine. Lot 606 is a high-end wine from one of the most famous and legendary names in Napa Valley.  Has gorgeous array of black cherries, dark chocolate and lavender.  This is an exceptional value for a Napa Cabernet.

2015 Cameron Hughes Lot 539 Pinot Noir, Oregon ($13)

This is a blockbuster Oregon Pinot Noir.  Oregon Pinots have never been cheap so at $13 this is an exceptional value.  Exhibiting flavors of cranberry, cherries and strawberries on the palate with soft tannins.

2014 Cameron Hughes Lot 601 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($32)

This is a multi award-winning wine from the Napa benchlands. Definitely picked up the “Rutherford Dust” on this one.  With 15 minutes of decanting, the wines exhibits plum, cocoa, and blackberries.  Perfect balance of oak and tannins.  This full-bodied classic Napa Cabernet is fantastic at $32

2015 Cameron Hughes Lot 537 Old Vine Zin, Alexander Valley ($13)

A wonderful Zin with nice fruit and spice.  Notes of raspberries, strawberries and peppers on the palate.  It has an earthy component with a nice long lingering finish. The fruit from this wine was sourced from 60-year-old vines.  A true value Zin at $13

2014 Cameron Hughes Lot 530 Syrah, Santa Ynez Valley ($14)

Lot 530 is a Rhone blend with 84% Syrah and 14 Grenache.  The wine exudes classic Syrah qualities with notes of white pepper, blackberries and spice.  A great wine for Rhone lovers with lots of earthy and savory qualities.

2015 Cameron Hughes Lot 549 Chardonnay, Willamette Valley ($15)

This Chardonnay is very Burgundian in style and is sourced from one of the most highly acclaimed producer in the state.  An absolute high quality Chardonnay at a fantastic value. On the nose the wine is aromatic with floral, fruit and spice which continue on the palate.  The palate is rich with notes of lemon, papaya and pineapple.  A nice minerality comes through on the wine.  From Eola- Amity Hills, a region with some of the highest scoring Chardonnays in America.  At $15 this wine is a tremendous value.

Special thanks to Cameron Hughes Wine for partnering with me on this post. All  opinions on the wines are my own.

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