Lot 916 2021 Sonoma County Sparkling Rosé

Cameron Hughes Wine Lot 916 offers a vintage Champagne-style experience for a fraction of the vintage-Champagne price.

Get ready to celebrate because Lot 916 is here to give you plenty of vintage Champagne-style drinking at a fraction of Champagne’s lofty prices. The grapes came from a coveted Sonoma source in this 2021 vintage, but just about everything else about this sparkler screams top-shelf French bubbly. We dare you to pour it blind for your friends and see if they can tell it’s from California—we couldn’t!

Stylistically, Lot 916 takes its cue from the best of Champagne’s vintage sparklers. First, it’s composed of 90% Pinot Noir, 6% Chardonnay, and 4% Pinot Meunier, just like wines from the best sparkling wine houses of northern France. Next, it’s made in the Méthode Champenoise style, with a secondary fermentation taking place in the bottle to capture the biscuit-like, brioche character that marks the best of Champagne. Finally, the dosage delivers a mere six grams per liter of sugar, making it Brut or Extra Brut in style and hence, fresh, energetic, and exceedingly dry with a lovely mineral finish.

Equally as impressive is the winemaking team behind Lot 916, which consists of veterans who are experts in the traditional method of sparkling wine production (having done stints at the likes of J Vineyards and Winery, Balletto Vineyards, Delicato Wines, and Clos du Bois). Their bubbles regularly score 90+ points with top-tier critics, and have taken home Gold and Double Gold medals at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Sonoma County Harvest Fair, the Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge, and the International Women’s Wine Competition.

Watch or listen as Nicole Muscari, your Pocket Wine Advisor, walks us through a tasting.

Tasting Video Highlights:

00:00 Intro
00:18 Méthode champenoise
00:54 The Color
01:02 The Nose
01:32 The Palate
01:45 Pairing or Aperitif
02:12 Where in your cellar?

EXPLORE LOT 916

SHOP SPARKLING WINE

TASTE NAPA BLANC DE BLANCS

Lot 941 2019 Sonoma County Zinfandel

In 2019, we had trouble finding a Zinfandel that pushed all the right buttons. And then, one day, we got lucky.

During one of our blending sessions with the Cameron Hughes winemaking team, we were putting together an exciting Red Blend from a host of grape sources when our noses all landed—and kept landing—in glasses of a particular Sonoma County Zinfandel.

It was wild—blackberry and red currant, tobacco notes, exotic spices, and sandalwood with firm, taut tannins. Could this be a complete wine, all its own? It took some convincing, but we peeled it off the source winery after convincing them it was so good that we had to have it for our own—as Black Label Zin.

With a few years of bottle age, Lot 941 has come into picture-perfect harmony. Punchy on the palate, with ripe crunch red and black fruits, balanced, racy, and loaded with a rich tapestry of baking spices from vanilla and fine cedar to sandalwood and tobacco notes. This is the kind of Zinfandel that makes you wonder why California isn’t producing more wines like it!

Historically, the best California Zins have come from Sonoma (just like Lot 941), and the top-tier wines that come to mind are icons like Martinelli’s Jackass Hill or those from Williams Selyem, Limerick Lane, or Turely—and they cost upwards of $65-$130 per bottle. Our Black Label Lot 941 is only $29 per bottle, and we’d put it right up against any $65+ bottle at the Tasting Table.

So, where does this fit in your collection? We’re pairing this Zin with Mexican fare and reserving a spot at the table for several bottles this Thanksgiving. Won’t you join us?

Watch as Chris Lafleur, Sommeliers Creed for Cameron Hughes, and Katy Long, Director of International Wines for VWE, walk us through a tasting and discuss this exciting Black Label release.

Video Highlights:

  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 00:13 Lot 941 Overview
  • 00:35 Millerandage and Zin
  • 01:53 Color and Legs
  • 02:08 On the Nose
  • 03:15 The Palate
  • 04:17 Aging
  • 05:15 Where Does it Fit in Your Cellar?

 

Video Transcript:

Chris
Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the CH Wine tasting room. I’m Chris Lafleur here with Katy Long. Katy, what are we drinking today?

Katy
Oh, my goodness. Chris, we have got a fun one. I say that every time, but I love wine because they’re all fun. So today we have Lot 941. This is our Sonoma County Zinfandel.

Chris
Beautiful. So Zinfandel.

Katy
Are you infatuated?

Chris
Oh, I am now. Oh, my gosh.

Katy
I beat you to it.

Chris
That’s good. It was there. It was on the table. Literally. One of the things I love about Zinfandel is that it’s such a cornucopia of flavor. And that’s because of Millerandage. Katy, I’m sure you’re familiar.

Katy
Yes. So Millerandage hen and chicken. Yes. So what we’re talking about is the propensity for the grape clusters to grow and develop unevenly. And while this could be a bit of a challenge, Zinfandel is so primed for this. So what we get when certain grapes ripen on the same cluster with a different ripening capacity is some that are underrated, some that are slightly more raisin or just a little bit more developed.

Katy
What that means is it’s almost like we get this blend of ripeness in a single bottle in a single grape. It just adds to the complexity.

Chris
Yeah, and I’ve seen a lot of people deal with it in different ways. Some people will choose to ripen a bit longer to let those chicks become hens, and then the other hens become dried up grapes, and then some people choose to just put it all together and you get this wild selection of flavor like you’ll have like some under red cranberry.

Chris
At the same time you have some big juicy blackberries. And I kind of love that. I love when, like, I don’t know where the flavor starts and ends as I’m tasting it.

Katy
So this also helps preserve the acidity with that grape, you know, grapefruit flavor.

Chris
Yes. You want to make sure that it still feels crunchy and lively at the same time. So it feels big and luscious.

Katy
Thank you, sir.

Chris
Oh, my pleasure. So let’s see where this one goes today.

Katy
All right. So this beautiful kind of a ruby. It’s slightly garnet in color, not in a bad way. In any case, it is almost polished and just bright in the glass. It’s really pretty.

Chris
Yeah. And, oh, I started smelling it right away, and I got super excited. So I think I’m going to jump right there because I got like, right away. I’m getting some nice crunchy cranberries. I am starting to feel like some big juicy plums too. There’s a lot of there’s a lot of stuff here and that kind of runs the gamut from being like slightly under ripe to being like fully ripe and a little jammy and rich.

Chris
So there’s everything here and I think it’s going to be a delight. On the palate. What do you notice that I didn’t pick up?

Katy
So I’m definitely pulling up some strawberries. There’s a hint of minerality in this wine that I’m wondering if it’s thanks in part to kind of the cool soils that we’re getting out of Sonoma County. There’s such a diversity here in this particular region. Old Venison is known for coming from Sonoma and there’s good reason for it. There’s just complexity in the nose, freshness, but also that ripe fun berry flavor.

Chris
Absolutely. And when you get some good old vines, it naturally restricts how many grapes you’re going to have. So more energy is concentrated into fewer grapes, which means the bottle turns up being really concentrated and rich no matter what kind of flavor we’re dealing with, ripe or under ripe or what have you. So, I mean, I can’t stop because that.

Katy
Would still give you a taste to it. Hmm? Mm hmm.

Chris
Mm hmm. That’s great. Oh, man, that’s a little punchy. You know, like. Like fruit punch, in a way.

Katy
This juicy fruit that. That raspberry, that strawberry. Oh, my gosh. It is just jumping out of the glass. What are you.

Chris
Getting? I’m getting that. The palate is super racy. There’s great tight acidity here. There’s adding a lot of tension to a combo of beautiful fruit bouquet, like it’s a fruit punch and alongside that, everything is very lifted. It’s 14.8% alcohol. Yeah. Which I think you noticed as I did it.

Katy
So to me that alcohol, it’s balanced for sure, but it’s helping to lift those aromatics and really just make that fruit come forward. So it’s a whole lot of fun as it just kind of wafts in your mouth.

Chris
And I want to say normally I would say 14.8 is pretty high, but I feel it feels very integrated on this wine and it’s not leaping out past anything else to to really knock me over the head with it. So I love that crunchy fruit, ripe fruit, really rich plums here.

Katy
That great resilience of acid that that under ripe, great quality. But then that really ripe grape quality that is so indicative of the Zinfandel grape variety. Absolutely medium to full bodied somewhere in between their balances the alcohol and then that oak provides I think a little bit of vanilla spice and this just really framing the glossy finish.

Chris
Yeah, if it’s really well with the fruit. So I think it’s got a couple more years to go.

Katy
What about you? I agree. So we’re talking about a 2019. So it’s got a couple of years already drinking beautifully right now. But this has, I’d say, maybe five more years of optimal drinking window. And maybe with that alcohol at that level, I’d be a little bit concerned that some of that fruit will fall off in time. So I don’t want that to become out of balance.

Katy
But this is by no means falling off any time soon.

Chris
Yeah, yeah. This is going to go for a little while. So where does this fit in your cellar? Well, I think that I think this would go with something a little richer in terms of the meat. I think it’s pretty versatile. But I’d want to see this with, like, a pulled pork.

Katy
Awesome. I was thinking maybe carnitas.

Chris
Yes, carnitas.

Katy
I like some some slightly fatty meats that are just going to have maybe a bit of that spice. I think we were talking could be something kind of grilled or roasted porchetta.

Chris
I also think this is versatile enough that you can throw this in with like Thanksgiving.

Katy
I agree that cranberry, that ripe red fruit quality I think is going to lend itself to the Thanksgiving table really, really nicely.

Chris
I’m imagining with the turkey helping your mouth water to go alongside. Maybe, maybe you.

Katy
Didn’t have to help me, but it’s happening.

Chris
I mean, I’m imagining, like, maybe Aunt Muriel, like, overcooked the turkey a little bit. So if that’s the case, this is going to help a lot with that. And just think of this with the stuffing in the cranberry sauce. It’s killer. All right. Well, let’s let’s crush this bottle between. Yes.

Katy
We might stop you from enjoying some now, but you won’t mind if we step away and continue to enjoy ours.

Chris
Yeah, we’re going to be busy for the afternoon, so we’ll see you at the next glass.

Katy
Cheers.

SHOP LOT 941

SHOP BLACK LABEL WINES

A GUIDE TO PAIRING: ZINFANDEL

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