Dear Friends,

Many of you know my thoughts about the Monterey AVA and Chardonnay – I think it is the most underrated appellation in all of California for this varietal. The quality of Chardonnay produced here is just incredible for its price point. Our Arroyo Seco (Monterey County) Chards have proven to be our most popular white wine series to date, but after enduring the limited quantities of the 2011 Chardonnay vintage, we redoubled our efforts and hit the pavement hard to source enough of 2012 and ensure we had enough big, rich, buttery and bold Chardonnay to satisfy your cravings. After all, this style of Chard has become increasingly scarce, as wineries have been seeking to curtail costs (barrels and their attendant labor costs, especially). We've got you covered, folks.

Lot 417 2012 Monterey County Chardonnay is an unapologetically rich, buttery fruit bomb from one of the most established producers in Monterey. The wine is barrel fermented in approximately 70% new American oak (with just a kiss of Hungarian), and aged for 9 months before bottling late this summer. Creamy and fresh on the nose, with honeysuckle and vetiver aromas, and sandlewood and vanilla bass notes. The succulent palate texture meshes seamlessly, with stone fruit and lemon balm in a wonderfully proportioned wine that finishes with just a kiss of sweetness. If you're a fan of our Arroyo Seco Chardonnay releases, you are going to love this.

Dry Creek, on the other hand, is not known for Pinot Noir, given its reputation for having warmer climates. Cabernet, Zinfandel, Merlot, Sauv Blanc? Check. Pinot? No.

So, it was with that bias that I tasted a sample of this wine. However, I was quite surprised when I realized I liked it as much as the Russian River Pinot (Lot 395) we released earlier this year. After some investigation, it turns out that the vineyard is at the extreme western edge of the Dry Creek appellation, nestled into the hills there at the edge of a valley that has more direct egress/drainage to the ocean than the rest of the valley…sort of a “Petaluma Gap,” if you will, except 30 miles to the North. It happens to be quite a nice microclimate for growing Pinot Noir. Usually, the source winery (that charges $40/bottle) wouldn't part with this, but it was in transition, having recently changed hands. Good for us – and you, too, should you happen to like the richer style of California Pinot Noir – this wine is pretty much a dead ringer for opulent Russian River Pinot Noir, and a steal at $16.

The wine is a beauty, emerging with an enticing nose of rich raspberry, high-toned violet, and white flower elements. Juicy, fresh, and quite seductive aromatically, Lot 398 2012 Dry Creek Valley Pinot Noir is equally enticing on the palate, with raspberry pie and purple floral notes overlaying a juicy texture with a long and sinuous finish. With time in the glass, a provocative anise seed emerges in the nose, making it all the more compelling.

As a New Release special offer, go ahead and take 15% off any 1 case purchase until Sunday night at midnight (Wine Club members get 20% off) as long as it includes one bottle of Lot 398 or 417 (mix and match the whole store!).

We are also offering Free Shipping on orders of 1 case and above (in increments of 6 bottles – 18, 24, etc.) through the end of 2013!

If you have any questions or need assistance with your order, please don't hesitate to email us or call 800-805-1971.


Cameron Hughes


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Cameron Hughes Wine
251 Rhode Island St Ste 203, San Francisco, CA, 94103
phone 1-800-805-1971 | email

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