Cameron Hughes Lot 509, 2013 North Coast Meritage
Winning 93 points and Best of Class at the California State Fair this year, it’s a blend of impressive Bordeaux grapes including Merlot, Cabernet, Malbec and Petit Verdot. This Meritage (vintners must be Meritage Society members to qualify for this identification) is a complex, juicy wine redolent of blackberry and red currant fruit with earthy wood and olive base notes. Lot 509 is a medium-full bodied wine with integrated tannins that would be great with an elk steak. Cameron Hughes sources their juice from some high end wineries in California and consequently offers very nice wine for a modest price.
All the following wines are sourced from one of our favorite importers, Kermit Lynch.
Corte Gardoni Bardolino “Le Fontane”
Bright and lively, “Le Fontane” is a charming wine with a perfumed floral and fresh berry bouquet, light acidity and smooth tannins that may become your new favorite day-to-day wine. The grapes are primarily Corvina balanced by Rondinella (grapes used in Valpolicella and Amarone) yielding a juicy wine with subtle mineral and pepper notes. Open a bottle to sip while cooking, but save some to serve with your pasta or a game bird like pheasant.
Corte Gardoni Bianco di Custoza
This soft white wine has succulent tropical fruit, almond and rich mineral flavors with fresh apple, lime and wildflower aromas. Close your eyes while you smell and drink it, and you’ll be transported back to a warm spring day. A blend of Garganega, Trebbiano Toscano and Trebbianello, served chilled as an aperitivo or with a fish dish finished with plenty of fresh herbs.
Château de Bellevue Lussac Saint Émilion, 2011 “Les Griottes”
An unintimidating, drink-me-down Bordeaux with notes of ripe cherry, cherry blossom and spice. It’s a young vine Merlot from the right bank of Bordeaux (*learn more about the Right Bank/Left Bank below). It would be lovely with sausages, burgers, roast chicken or your freshly harvested game steak! Its bright berry notes would be a perfect complement to an aged artisan American cheese—or better yet—grilled cheese sandwich, too. It’s definitely one you’ll want to buy more of at this affordable price!
*What’s the Right Bank and Left Bank distinction for Bordeaux?
Bordeaux, France is the largest fine wine region in the world (larger than Germany!) with over 50 appellations and a long history—so distinctions are very complex.
In brief, the Left Bank is the old guard of the region, with the oldest, most exclusive Chateaux and pricier tannic, bold wines that age for decades. Cabernet is the predominant grape, and the prime growing areas have gravel-based soil that radiates heat, gives mineral characteristics and has excellent drainage that encourages roots to burrow deep for nourishment.
The Right Bank has younger vineyards yielding wines rich in fruit, with less tannin and acid, which are enjoyable without aging and often score very high with wine critics. Merlot is the primary grape, and the soils are dominated by clay and limestone. The high levels of calcium carbonate found in limestone soils yield flavorful grapes and the denser clay, produced from degraded limestone, leads to a richer, more concentrated wine.