A little more than six months ago, I had a Zoom tasting with Cameron Hughes, the well-known négociant. As I mentioned in my post about that tasting, a négociant usually buys already-made wine from a producer that does not want to bottle it (for a variety of reasons) and then bottles it under his/her own label. Usually, the négociant can then sell the wine for a fraction of the cost that the original winery would have sold it.
Last Fall, I was so impressed with the de Négoce wines that I decided to buy some, mostly for my father-in-law. The wines are only available for purchase by the case, however, which was a bit daunting (I don’t typically buy a case of wine that I have not at least tasted), but given the quality of those Zoom call wines, I dove right in and bought not one, but three cases of wine from the de Négoce team.
Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I got around to tasting them. As you can see from the notes below, I liked them. A lot. In fact, I might just have to forget that I purchased these for my father-in-law and keep them for myself.
2018 de Négoce Chardonnay OG N.77, Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $12. I have been looking forward to trying this wine for some time now–I ordered it in October and finally received it about a week ago. I was so excited, in fact, that I plopped a bottle into the freezer as I started dinner. Then, this being the Texas week from hell, the electricity went out. I remembered the bottle the following morning. After the power had been restored around midnight. Oops. Frozen rock solid, cork pushed all the way out, a bit of wine slushy in the freezer. The hazards of impatience (otherwise known as the lack of planning). Still pretty good, but I will wait to make a more formal note (after the bottle had been chilled in a more conventional fashion). Not Rated.
2018 de Négoce Chardonnay OG N.77, Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $12. After forgetting about the first bottle in the freezer for, oh, about 26 hours, I knew that I would have to crack another bottle before writing any sort of objective note on this wine. Well, here we are. Perhaps not needed to state, but this bottle was much better than the first. Quite light straw in the glass with rather shy aromas of lemon curd, peach, a hint of vanilla, and wet rock. The palate is demure as well, but multi-layered and enticing. The fruit starts off the show, but the acidity steals it, coming in with some complexity on the mid-palate, lasting through the longer than average finish. Another solid effort from Cameron Hughes. Excellent. 92 Points.
2018 de Négoce Pinot Noir OG N.48, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $156/case (plus ship and tax). As I wrote about on my blog a couple of months ago, it seems as though Cameron Hughes has once again found a fantastic formula: he buys already made wine in bulk and with little further manipulation, bottles it under his de Negoce label. This wine, which he claims goes for around $40 were it to be sold by the original winery, checks in at $13/bottle (plus tax and shipping, which raises the cost to just a shade under $16.75 per 750 ml bottle. Not a bad price if Mr. Hughes’ claims are true. Well, they appear to be (at least to me). A brilliant translucent ruby in the glass with dark cherry fruit, considerable spice (including clove), and a minty/eucalyptus aspect on the nose. The palate is fruity, rich, fairly big, but also nuanced–this is much more of a sipping Pinot than it is a food wine but damn, is it tasty. Three months or so ago, I was a skeptic before I tried the wines, but I have to say I am a total convert at this point. Delicious. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2018 de Négoce Cabernet Sauvignon OG N.46, Atlas Peak, Napa Valley, CA: Retail $240/case (plus ship and tax). This was the first wine that I bought from Cameron Hughes’ new venture after having tried several of his wines a few months prior. I was so impressed with those first few samples, I decided to take a flyer on a case or (now) three and buy them for my father-in-law. Well, after first trying the Pinot (N. 48) and now this Atlas Peak Cab, I might have to keep some (most?) for myself. Rich and Dark. Oh my. More than ample fruit, spice, and just a smidge of forest floor, this is pretty close to gangbusters even before I take a sip. The palate is rich, full, and tannic, just on the verge of overly so, letting you know that this wine has a long life ahead of it. Long. Mr. Hughes claims that this is a $90 Napa hillside Cab and I am not here to dispute that assertion. At all. Whoa. Excellent. 94 Points.