Cameron Hughes Wine takes multiple medals for Lot Series and The Flying Winemaker at the San Diego International Wine Competition.
Gold: Lot 100, Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon
Gold: Lot 108, 2007 Napa Valley Chardonnay
Silver: Lot 103, 2006 Napa Valley Meritage
Silver: The Flying Winemaker Cabernet Sauvignon
Silver: The Flying Winemaker Tempranillo
Silver: The Flying Winemaker Zinfandel
Cameron Hughes 2007 Lot 157 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is awarded Best of Class and a Gold Medal at the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition!
Silver Award winners include:
- Lot 164 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007
- Lot 165 Los Carneros Pinot Noir, 2008
- The Flying Winemaker, Malbec, Mendoza Argentina, 2008
- The Flying Winemaker, Santa Barbara County Chardonnay, 2008
- The Flying Winemaker, Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley, Chile, 2007
Fly across the Potomac to taste these value wines
If youâve been shopping at Giant Food stores in Northern Virginia this month, you may have had a chance to taste one of our new favorite value labels, The Flying Winemaker by Cameron Hughes.
Giant in Virginia has picked up virtually the entire line of Flying Winemaker wines, and there have been free tastings at various stores all month long.
In addition to the 2008 Flying Winemaker Tempranillo from Spain and the 2007 Zinfandel from Lodi, California (our favorite), both of which we tasted last month at the Circle Wine & Spirits Chillin' and Grillin' Summerfest, Giant is carrying the 2008 Malbec from Mendoza in Argentina, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo Valley in Chile and the 2008 Chardonnay from Santa Barbara.
Unlike the âLot Seriesâ wines from Cameron Hughes, which are one-off bottlings of excess wine from high-end winemakers sold under the Cameron Hughes label for a fraction of its typical price, the Flying Winemaker wines are sourced from vineyards on an ongoing basis, so they can be made each year from one vintage to the next. (The 2008 Tempranillo is the second vintage of that wine from the Campo de Borja region of Spain.) For more detail on Cameron Hughes, see last monthâs âThese âbulkâ wines are fine wines, great values.â
All of the Flying Winemaker varieties have won at least one Gold, Silver or Bronze medal at the various West Coast wine competitions, including the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition and the San Diego International Wine Competition. The Santa Barbara chardonnay and Chilean cabernet, both new to the area and only available in Northern Virginia for now, are the most highly decorated after the 2007 Flying Winemaker Zinfandel, which took Gold at the Critics Challenge 2009 International Wine Competition and the Denver International Wine Competition, plus Silver in the Dallas Morning News Wine Competition and the San Diego International Wine Competition.
And as we noted before, you can listen to Hugh Sisson and Al Spoler rave about the Flying Winemaker Zinfandel, along with other Cameron Hughes wines, on Baltimore NPR affiliate WYPRâs Cellar Notes show.
These are wines worth seeking out and trying for yourself. And even if you don't live in Virginia convenient to Oakton or Clifton, it might be worth a trip across the Potomac for the chance to take all five of these wines side by side.
Itinerant winemakers create some high-flying vintages
By Heather Stober Fleming
September 16, 2010 12:00 AM
I am going to take a guess that if "flying winemaker" was one of the careers listed on the "What do you want to do when you grow up?" survey we took back in high school, it would have been a popular option.
The flying winemaker is both a concept and a brand. As a concept, flying winemakers are consultants and winemakers who work with growers and winery owners in different regions, countries, and sometimes even continents. Often, when starting a career, a winemaker takes jobs in several regions to build up a winemaking resume and expand their network. It can also make economic sense for winemakers to share their expertise of a region with another area that is looking to make similar wines. This occurred when French Champagne companies started opening wineries in California and they employed French Champagne winemakers to share their knowledge with California winemakers. Other flying winemakers want the freedom to make wines from various regions of the world without the overhead or commitment of owning property.
The Flying Winemaker brand is part of the Cameron Hughes wine company which began in 2001 when Hughes bought 500 cases of already made Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, added his own label, and sold it to local retailers, grocery chains and price clubs. This was called the Lot Series and it comprised small batches of many different wines from various wine growing regions. As he explored this business model, Hughes discovered great wineries, and winemakers from all over the world who were producing great wines but for various reasons did not always want to label the wine under their own brand.
Hughes saw a huge opportunity to expand his portfolio and created The Flying Winemaker. He has become a hugely successful negociant who is committed to providing the consumer with premium quality wines from some of the best wine regions in the world at an affordable price.
The following wines are currently available in Massachusetts.
Flying Winemaker Chardonnay, Santa Barbara, Calif., $14.99 â Bold fruit flavors of pear and melon are nicely balanced with a clean and crisp acidity. There is a hint of honey-like texture on the palate that gives the wine a soft texture. A refreshing style of California Chardonnay! Flying Winemaker Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, $14.99 â Malbec has been long known as one of the five grapes allowed in the blend of red Bordeaux wine, but during the past decade, Argentina has put Malbec on the map as a single-varietal wine. The climate in Argentina has proven to be perfect for this thin-skinned grape that needs a lot of sun and heat to reach perfect ripeness, with the end result being full-bodied and luscious red wine. The cooler climate in Bordeaux produces an earthier style of Malbec which is best when blended with the other Bordeaux varietals. The Flying Winemaker Malbec has intense aromas of plum and black cherries, which also show on the palate. It is well structured, concentrated with soft tannins for a long, luscious finish.
Flying Winemaker Zinfandel, Lodi, Calif., $14.99 â Lodi is quickly becoming known as one of the best places in California for Zinfandel. The grapes thrive in the Mediterranean-like climate and the appellation brings in more than $300 million each year, which is more than both Napa and Sonoma combined. This wine comes from a vineyard that has more than 100-year-old plants that produce low yields but excellent quality fruit. The flavors of intense berry and dark fruit are very typical for Zinfandel from this region. A hint of sweetness on the palate softens the richness. This would be a great match with barbecue flavors.
Flying Winemaker Tempranillo, Campo de Borja, Spain, $14.99 â Tempanillo is one of the most widely planted red grapes in the Campo de Borja region of Spain. Oftentimes, Tempranillo-based wines are earthy with subtle fruit flavors that tend to require food. Although the Flying Winemaker Tempranillo has hints of earth, the fruit-forward style gives the wine a flavor profile that would work for both sipping and as a food wine.
Flying Winemaker Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo, Chile, $14.99 â This area of Chile is nestled between the Andes and the coastal mountains and has warm days and cool nights, which are ideal conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a luscious Cabernet with hints of eucalyptus on the finish. Chile has a reputation of producing wines that offer a lot of bang for the buck and this wine is no exception. Delicious and affordable!