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12/16/15

CLONYC 48 Cameron Hughes Reserves and a surprise ending!

Last evening the old gang met in our usual spot to do our usual thing. Tonight we gather for the Cameron Hughes Reserves, as if we needed a reason.
These are interesting wines for sure who has had much play about the mystery surrounding them. Some said Harlan some said maiden but methinks Kyle Schlachter is correct when he said Alejandro Bulgheroni is the label belonging to these shinered-wines.
While I did not find the dill Wine Spectator did, I did see some issues with a few.
Let me get to them….

We started with some of the Lot wines.
2013 Cameron Hughes Cabernet lot 600 Oakville--Great start indeed. A very pretty nose of reddish black fruits. Palate shows some great balance and elegance. A solid core of medium black fruits that just sort of glide nicely across the palate. This one is memorable on the night.
2013 Cameron Hughes Cabernet lot 596 Monte Rosso—this one shows a more flamboyant nose and is brighter all around. Nice glycerin coating, the tannins seems larger as does the finish. Where it falls a bit (for me) is the elegance. More brutish and larger structured. Another decent drink.
2013 Cameron Hughes Cabernet lot 598 Meteor —Even more flamboyant but palate seems clipped and mid-palate nearly missing.


2006 Cameron Hughes Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon—I went looking for dill as mentioned by the WS tasting note, albeit another vintage, but I was following clues. I found eucalyptus nose and some pretty textured blue-black fruits. A pretty good balance and a decent finish, this certainly spent it’s time in its bottle. An early favorite and a unanimous WOTF for the group. Unanimous! Can’t recall if that has ever happened again.
2007 Cameron Hughes Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon—I wish I can say I found a 2007 I enjoyed because I still have not. The nose is awesome but man does not enjoy wine by nose alone, this was a mess. Void of any sort of acidity which in turn makes it unbalanced which it turn makes me dump it.
2008 Cameron Hughes Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon—another abstract mess-- le dump.
The 2006 was it for this weak flight. Not sure if it showed so well but maybe not as bad as? Anywy, we shall see.
2009 Cameron Hughes Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon—this had a wonderful nose of blackberries and cassis. The overall feel quite nice but just not up to the 2006 or what is to come, the 2011. Yes, the 2011. Let me jump the similar noted 2010 and get to it.
2011 Cameron Hughes Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon—If ever there was a shiney shiner, this is it. It’s amazing in it’s passive near aggressive attack of soft red-black fruits with tremendous elegance and beautiful mouthfeel. Long and true and goes on and on, this could very well be one of the best 2011s I have ever tasted. I had to recheck the pour order/bottles. I did all the pouring it is all poured correctly, this rocks. It’s lithe and fresh with nothing out of place and style-wise certainly a nice wine seeming more like a Sonoma cab than Napa. If your buds want to buy the six-pack and want you to take the 2011 ‘dog’ grab it. 7 WOTN votes.

The straggler
2013 Cameron Hughes Cabernet lot 597 Stagecoach – I am glad this one happened to be last. It came across as all butter popcorn and disjointed. After the 2011, I was not having any of it.
I am glad to have come across that 2011. So far as who has made these? , I believe that everything Kyle mentioned in his findings seems in place and there is no real reason to believe this was not a rich dude with a un-95 point wine on his hands and most certainly had chosen to go the Harlanesque ‘wait a few years’ to release scenario. Too bad the ‘few years’ is a half a dozen. I won’t lose too much sleep, he can afford it.

The staff at North Square did an amazing job once again. The food spot-on and my steak was just wonderful.

Another great CLONYC night.

6/1/15

CLONYC 47 - Some 2012 Cabernet Sauvignons (Who knew it would turn into a TRB-fest?)

Yes, you read it correct, CLONYC 47. I started this thing in April 2006. Hard to believe where we have been.
Simple theme: 2012 Napa Cabs. very 'Old School' for CLONYC. Tweleve guests, tweleve wines, 4 flights of 3.
Lets jump into it.

2012 Maybach Materium- Dark and ominous. Pretty expressive nose of black currants and the darkest blackberries you can fine. Bold and deep and keeps with Materiums style.

2012 Becklyn- I love these type of tastings; this was one I figured for my top on the evening but as it sat between the Materium and the Stone The Crows, it just got lost. It’s a bit redder in style and certainly less exuberant on the nose, but as far as QPRs go, it shines. It is multi-layerd and quite textured.

2012 Stone The Crows – Very similar to the Maybach in style. Bold and densely packed with notes of cardamom. Big boned and tightly knit, this is winner in this vintage and in this flight. My WOTF

7 votes for WOTF go to 2012 Stone The Crows, 2 to the Maybach and 2 to the Becklyn.

2012 Hobel- Starts a bit alcoholic on the nose. In time this fleshes out to become a bit more refined and approachable but unfortunately, I am in no mood to deal with more alcohol so I dumped it.

2012 RM Panek- I always love the multi-dimensional aspects of these and this one is no different. Deftly balanced and a bit more focused than anything before it save for the Stone The Crows. Aromatics on this shows a little vineyard distinction. Always a great one to have on my table. My WOTF

2012 Schrader RBS- When we are speaking Cabernet we can’t ignore one of the bigger players in the field. This is super-dark and dense. Cassis driven with a touch of minerality, I always enjoy these more than I like to admit. Loving a $200 Cab is easy, maintaining that relationship is hard.

The Schrader got 7 votes WOTF, tha Panek 3 and the Hobel 1.

2012 Outpost Howell- I think I have moved away from mountain wines and I think I would have enjoyed the True better, but this it is and this it was. It’s clearly TRB with a more chewy tannic style.

2012 Quivet Pellet- As one of my favorites from last years Mike Smith dinner, this one seems to get a little lost in this crowd. I think it has a bit more refinement and gets clobbered in an array such as this. Had I had a better plan, I would have placed this with the Becklyn.

2012 Pride Cabernet Reserve- I am a fan of the new direction pride has taken. This is a red and black fruit wine with focus and elegance. Tannins behaved but present and finish long. Love the aromatics on this one. I wish this was served earlier and maybe with the Becklyn and the Quivet but it was too cold when it arrived in the dining room.

Between the Pride and the Outpost, this was the most diverse flight.
The Pride garnered 7 WOTF votes (me too) and the outpost 5.

2012 Vine Hill Ranch- if there is one wine on the table that I think I did not give a fair evaluation to, it’s the VHR. It was in position number 10 in a lineup of near bruisers. My notes tell me it had tremendous dept and verve amidst its classic black fruit profile. I mention super deft and very elegant but that’s about it and that is so not me. I would like to give this another try, but again, at $185+, it may never happen…
My WOTF

2012 12C Georges III- I have had this a bunch of times and it was always quite nice but tonight it comes across and pedestrian and run-of-the-mill. Dump.

2012 Plumpjack- Arrived even colder than the Pride, this had the widest style profile in the group; first it was red, then black ; it was very fragrant with notes of flowers and worn leather. It had the highest acidity of the group. It showed intense boldness wrapped within some pretty femininity. It was pretty and handsome all at once.
Loved it but loved the VHR more.

The Vine Hill Ranch had 8 votes for WOTF while the Plumpjack had the balance of 4.

In keeping with the ‘don’t think, just answer’ theme, I asked the group without overthinking it, what wine would they consider their unofficial-official WOTN.

The VHR had 6 votes, the Stone The Crow 3. The Schrader and Plumpjack 1 each and Rays vote is unreadable…..


It was a fun night and was my son Michael’s first CLONYC. He was more quiet than usual. After 47 CLONYCs and a large amount of wine dinners in general I have forget what is like to go to my first one. He is untarnished whereas I am tiring. The young will inherit the world, even its wines….

1/18/15

CLONYC 46, Craig Haserot and Sojourn Cellars

Yes, you read it correct, CLONYC 47. I started this thing in April 2006. Hard to believe where we have been.
Simple theme: 2012 Napa Cabs. very 'Old School' for CLONYC. Tweleve guests, tweleve wines, 4 flights of 3.
Lets jump into it.

2012 Maybach Materium- Dark and ominous. Pretty expressive nose of black currants and the darkest blackberries you can fine. Bold and deep and keeps with Materiums style.

2012 Becklyn- I love these type of tastings; this was one I figured for my top on the evening but as it sat between the Materium and the Stone The Crows, it just got lost. It’s a bit redder in style and certainly less exuberant on the nose, but as far as QPRs go, it shines. It is multi-layerd and quite textured.

2012 Stone The Crows – Very similar to the Maybach in style. Bold and densely packed with notes of cardamom. Big boned and tightly knit, this is winner in this vintage and in this flight. My WOTF

7 votes for WOTF go to 2012 Stone The Crows, 2 to the Maybach and 2 to the Becklyn.

2012 Hobel- Starts a bit alcoholic on the nose. In time this fleshes out to become a bit more refined and approachable but unfortunately, I am in no mood to deal with more alcohol so I dumped it.

2012 RM Panek- I always love the multi-dimensional aspects of these and this one is no different. Deftly balanced and a bit more focused than anything before it save for the Stone The Crows. Aromatics on this shows a little vineyard distinction. Always a great one to have on my table. My WOTF

2012 Schrader RBS- When we are speaking Cabernet we can’t ignore one of the bigger players in the field. This is super-dark and dense. Cassis driven with a touch of minerality, I always enjoy these more than I like to admit. Loving a $200 Cab is easy, maintaining that relationship is hard.

The Schrader got 7 votes WOTF, tha Panek 3 and the Hobel 1.

2012 Outpost Howell- I think I have moved away from mountain wines and I think I would have enjoyed the True better, but this it is and this it was. It’s clearly TRB with a more chewy tannic style.

2012 Quivet Pellet- As one of my favorites from last years Mike Smith dinner, this one seems to get a little lost in this crowd. I think it has a bit more refinement and gets clobbered in an array such as this. Had I had a better plan, I would have placed this with the Becklyn.

2012 Pride Cabernet Reserve- I am a fan of the new direction pride has taken. This is a red and black fruit wine with focus and elegance. Tannins behaved but present and finish long. Love the aromatics on this one. I wish this was served earlier and maybe with the Becklyn and the Quivet but it was too cold when it arrived in the dining room.

Between the Pride and the Outpost, this was the most diverse flight.
The Pride garnered 7 WOTF votes (me too) and the outpost 5.

2012 Vine Hill Ranch- if there is one wine on the table that I think I did not give a fair evaluation to, it’s the VHR. It was in position number 10 in a lineup of near bruisers. My notes tell me it had tremendous dept and verve amidst its classic black fruit profile. I mention super deft and very elegant but that’s about it and that is so not me. I would like to give this another try, but again, at $185+, it may never happen…
My WOTF

2012 12C Georges III- I have had this a bunch of times and it was always quite nice but tonight it comes across and pedestrian and run-of-the-mill. Dump.

2012 Plumpjack- Arrived even colder than the Pride, this had the widest style profile in the group; first it was red, then black ; it was very fragrant with notes of flowers and worn leather. It had the highest acidity of the group. It showed intense boldness wrapped within some pretty femininity. It was pretty and handsome all at once.
Loved it but loved the VHR more.

The Vine Hill Ranch had 8 votes for WOTF while the Plumpjack had the balance of 4.

In keeping with the ‘don’t think, just answer’ theme, I asked the group without overthinking it, what wine would they consider their unofficial-official WOTN.

The VHR had 6 votes, the Stone The Crow 3. The Schrader and Plumpjack 1 each and Rays vote is unreadable…..

It was a fun night and was my son Michael’s first CLONYC. He was more quiet than usual. After 47 CLONYCs and a large amount of wine dinners in general I have forget what is like to go to my first one. He is untarnished whereas I am tiring. The young will inherit the