95 pts, Steve Heimoff - Cameron Hughes 2013 Lot 596 Monte Rosso Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma Valley); $35, 15.2%. This is one of the more expensive Cameron Hughes wines, but it is from the deservedly famous Monte Rosso. And it’s quite a good Monte Rosso: dark, deep, rich and ageable. Cabernet hardly gets more intense than this, with an explosion of blackberry jam, black currants, blueberries, cassis liqueur and a penetrating minerality suggestive of graphite. Throw in the oak, and you get smoky-sweet vanillins. This is a serious wine for red wine drinkers, a wine of sinew and muscle, potency and mouth-filing depth. But it never loses that inimitable grace and dignity we expect from the vineyard, far above Sonoma Valley. The alcohol is admittedly on the high side; there is some jalapeño heat. But it’s an integral part of the wine’s personality. Delicious to drink now despite the massive tannins; a good steak will cut right through them. But I would not be surprised if this wine were not evolving over the next ten-plus years.
A pour of Lot 596 reveals a tantalizingly dark core with an intense magenta rim. Aromas come in uber- vibrant waves, offering crushed red fruit and high-toned florals with classic notes of crème de cassis and brooding bramble. Violets mingle with inky, mineral-laced blue and black fruit. The palate is juicy and plush, with real depth and finesse for being such a big wine. Dense fruit meets fresh-turned mountain earth. Just gorgeous and super intense, but still very young…clearly a lot more to come, but already showing incredibly well at this point – a testament to an incredible vintage.
Style: Full, Bold
Flavors: Blackberry, Oak, Spice