The Cameron Hughes Napa Valley Meritage, a Bordeaux blend by a different name.
A Meritage blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot from the Oak Knoll district in Napa Valley, California.
The Cameron Hughes Napa Valley Meritage is available for as low as $19. 4,000 cases produced. Sample submitted for review.
From the bottle:
Cameron Hughes is an international negociant, sourcing and producing small lots of high quality wine from the world's best regions. Cameron offers a diverse range of wines uniquely represented by the Lot number on this label.
Lot 444 explodes with rich aromas of red and black berry, toasty oak and spice. Fine-grained tannins and a lush texture resolve beautifully in a graceful finish. Extravagant.
It's been awhile since we've reviewed a Meritage blend, so let's review exactly where that term comes from. The term itself was created from the words Merit and Heritage and is pronounced like heritage. It was created to designate wines that are made in the Bordeaux style of blending different varietals together but that do not come from Bordeaux. The impetus for this was the infamous "Judgement of Paris" in 1976 when a blind tasting ranked California red and white wines ahead of the very best and most renowned French wines. (Much to the horror of the French, even the French judges chose the wines from California!) Realizing that they needed a term of their own for these Bordeaux style blends, the Californians came up with the Meritage designation.
Nowadays Meritage wines can come from all over the world although California is still where you see them most. The varieties allowed in red Meritage wines are: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carmenere. Wines must contain at least two varieties, without any comprising more than 90% of the total.
The 2013 Cameron Hughes Napa Valley Meritage Lot 444 begins with aromas of blackberry, plum, violets, spice, vanilla, chocolate and more that combine to create a beautiful bouquet. The full-bodied wine tastes rich, smooth and delicious with the blackberry and plum notes continuing and the addition of coffee, cedar and graphite. It ends dry and long with lingering touches of dark chocolate. This is a really tasty Meritage blend that should age quite gracefully for the next few years.
Looking for more great Meritage under $20? Find all of our recommendations, plus more tips on finding great value, right here.
See a listing of local retailers selling the Cameron Hughes Napa Valley Meritage here.