Wine Rolodex No. 1: CHWine.com
Cameron Hughes is a wine negotiant; i.e., he blends other vintners’ “juice” and bottles the result with his label, or he bottles others’ finished/blended wine with his label, or
he buys others’ shiners (others’ fully-ready-to-go bottles without labels) and merely attaches his label. For the most part, the labels are far from awe-inspiring, most just bearing a lot number and a thumbnail description of the contents; e.g., “2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Napa Valley.” In fact, that’s exactly what’s on the label of Lot 600
(second from left in the photo), which happens to be a mind-blowingly great Cabernet that no longer is available. But the way that wine is drinking today… oh, my. To say it tastes like a $150 bottle of Napa Valley joy is no understatement, yet I got the wine for probably $25 or so a few years back. Cam tastes each wine he offers and videos his impressions for all to see. How often does he spit out a wine in disgust? Never! Because he does not obtain disgusting wine. The opposite is true. And so is this: His review comments tend to be absolutely spot on. And also consider that, when you buy a full case – something easily done with friends – the shipping is free. And you also earn discount points on every wine you buy. PLUS, when he offers up a new wine, your entire order (minimum one case) is 15% off (20% if you're a wine-club member) as long as the order contains at least one bottle of the new stuff. IN ADDITION, Hughes often offers 20%-off deals (25% for wine club members). Bottom line: GREAT wine cheap. Consider Lot 631
, a 2017 Pinot Gris (more or less Pinot Grigio) from Willamette Valley, Oregon. I got a case of it for our Fourth of July party, figuring I’d have more than two bottles left. Not quite. I’d have to rate this at 92-94 points; $9.60 at 20% off. Absolutely wonderful. So is Lot 509
, a delightful 2013 Meritage (a Cabernet Sauvignon-based Bordeaux-style blend) from California’s North Coast. $10.40 at 20% off, and easily a 90-point winner that’s really substantial and delicious. (The typical response by first-time drinkers: “How in the world can he possibly sell this stuff for so little?”) And much the same could be said for Lot 643
, a 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Paicines in California’s Central Coast; $12 at 20% off with what I would rate a 91-point taste profile. Go to the site and create an account. And consider joining the wine club; it’s truly one of the best there is. Great wine but no fancy labels.