Lot 952 2021 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Ready to drink, homerun Pinot Noir from an epic source in the Russian River Valley. This $34 Pinot Noir drinks like a $60 bottle.

Lot 952 2021 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir comes charging out of the gate in ready-to-drink fashion. It’s sourced from an epic vineyard run by the nicest mom-and-pop farmers who harvest pristine grapes from their special site in the fog-shrouded rolling hills of southern Russian River Valley in the Sebastopol area.

What got our attention immediately is that this wine is absolutely classic Russian River. Dark berry fruit, earth, cola, and cedarwood notes—the latter being hallmarks of aging in expensive French oak from excellent coopers, including the likes of Bel Air, François Frères, and Sirugue. These are top-of-the-line barrels often reserved for a winery’s flagship Pinot Noir—ones that cost $60-$160, and yes, you read that right! Lot 952 is already strutting its stuff, showing off those classic Russian River qualities with secondary notes emerging like black tea and truffles. Translation: this is ready for you to enjoy right now and at $34, trust us when we say this drinks like a wine double the price. Because it should be double the price. But not for you—and that’s why you’re a CH Wine fan!

Watch or listen as Chris Lafleur, Sommeliers Creed for Cameron Hughes walks us through a tasting.

Wine Tasting Highlights:
00:00 Intro
00:35 In the Glass
00:58 The Nose
01:40 The Palate
02:17 Food Pairing
02:32 Where in your cellar?

SHOP LOT 952

SHOP PINOT NOIR

LET’S TALK PINOT

Lot 922 2021 Santa Barbara Pinot Noir

We have to admit that whenever there is a Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir on the table, we know we’re at the right table—belonging there just as much as the Russian River Pinots, the Sonoma Coast bottles, and dare we say, the Burgundies! (Shhh!). Cooling Pacific Ocean breezes and limestone-rich soils create the perfect conditions for growing Pinot Noir, and it just might be the best place in the U.S. for this variety. Our new release today, Lot 922 2021 Santa Barbara Pinot Noir is no exception.

If you want to know why our passion for Santa Barbara Pinot Noir runs so deep, the answer patiently rests under the cork and capsule of Lot 922—a Santa Barbara Pinot Noir from the brilliant 2021 vintage. We struck Pinot gold here, having sourced this wine from a 25+ year veteran winemaker and grape grower of the region who has worked with super-star brands like Geyser Peak in Sonoma, Canyon Road, and the Davies family’s Schramsberg label—sure, you might know their sparkling, but what about the Davies Pinots?! They are mind-blowing, but also $55+ a pop. And with all due respect to the other regions, with Lot 922 priced at just $16 a bottle, after one taste you’ll agree that it’s the definition of mind-blowing!

Not only will your jaw drop at the price, but you will be thrilled with Lot 922 as it dances and sings on your palate. This wine draws you in with a fantastically fragrant nose of red berry fruit, earthen tones, and baking spices. It is soft, creamy-textured with an irresistible mid-palate depth of dark, juicy, succulent candied red cherry and strawberry fruit. Toasty oak spices and hints of vanilla round out the finish completing this not to be missed Pinot Noir.

Watch or listen as Chris Lafleur, Sommeliers Creed for Cameron Hughes walks us through a tasting.

Wine Tasting Video Highlights:

00:00 Introduction
00:17 Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara
00:37 In the Glass
00:54 On the Nose
01:50 On the Palate
02:39 Wine and Food Pairing
03:07 Where does this fit in your cellar?

Tasting Video Transcript:

00:00:08:00 – 00:03:48:08
Chris Lafleur says
Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the CH Wine Tasting Room. It’s Chris Lafleur your super sommelier, tasting some Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County. This is Lot 922. So Santa Barbara County, we’re a little bit more southerly than places like Monterey or even Napa and Sonoma by a lot. And some people will say, well, that it’s a warmer climate.

It’s going to be, you know, not great for Pinot Noir. But I say, you know, without the mountains on the western edge there, you get a lot more coastal influence. So you get a longer growing season overall and it’s great for grapes like this. Let’s go ahead and see what it looks like right away. You see it’s fairly pale, very clear.

I can see my hand right through it, but it’s leaning a little bit red and pink, like it’s still kind of youthful and very concentrated, even for a wine that is so light. I know those those sound backwards, but trust me, I am a sommelier on the nose. Oh, boy. It’s deep. It’s deep on the nose. It’s a core of red fruit with maybe a touch of black.

But really, we were driven by strawberries, cherries and raspberries, maybe even a touch of rhubarb. And if there’s any black fruit here, it’s leaning into the realm of, like, blackberry. But this is a wine that is deep. It is ripe. Maybe a little extra ripe. It feels very fresh. And while there are some other notes to it, like there’s some mushroom here and a little forest floor, but just a little there’s a little bit of vanilla bean here, but really well-integrated.

This is driven by being big, ripe and fresh. And I think that’s a fun expression for Pinot Noir. Now, I should tell you, as are smelling this and enjoying it together, this is a wine that is made by somebody with 25 plus years of experience in the industry making good quality Pinot noir. So if that’s not going to sell you on why this is so integrated and why I think it’s so cool.

I mean, the only thing left to do is taste it and confirm. Really hard to spit that one. The mouthfeel is excellent. It’s got a nice ripping acidity on the bottom, but on the palate, it is silky, it is smooth, it is languorous, it’s got great fruits that are red and strawberry and cherry. And while it does feel a little bit tartar on the palate, because the acidity coming through, it doesn’t feel like it’s lessened, lessening the fruit.

The fruit is still very deep with a very strong core of ripe red fruits on the palate. There’s also a touch of vanilla bean, like we mentioned on the nose, and it does seem to be a little stronger on the palate. I especially feel it on the finish, but I think it’s integrated very well, again, showing a hand with a lot of experience here.

So what do you do with a wine like this? Well, I think that you entertain with it. This is a great wine to pass around at a party. I also think if you’re having a barbecue in the summer with a little asparagus and some mushrooms and maybe a tenderloin, I mean, you know, not that we put all of those on the barbecue, but you could tenderloin, medium rare is perfect with this wine sprinkle a little peppercorn is some chimichurri and you’ve got to win that is very rounded for a delightful dish.

So where does this wine fit in your cellar? I think that this is a wine that you probably want a couple of bottles of minimum, because this is something that I think will change a little bit over time. The ripe fruit will integrate even more fully with the oak and the tertiary notes. I think this is something that in six months you’ll find very interesting.

You can drink it Now, certainly it’s certainly ready to drink, but I think it’ll become more interesting from here. It is December 20, 23, so think about in the summer of 2024. This is a great wine to open, but like I said, more than one bottle because as you open it in the summer, you’re going to again want to see how it evolves when we get into the colder months once more.

So make sure to get a couple, go to the website, click twice minimum on this bottle and I will see you at the next glass.

 

SHOP LOT 922

SHOP PINOT NOIR

TASTE CENTRAL COAST ROSÉ

Lot 919 2021 Contra Costa Petite Sirah

A unique red blend from truly historic vines — ready for your corkscrew.

Today we have a wine from a relatively unknown wine region in California, Lot 919 2021 Contra Costa Petite Sirah with some really cool history. By the mid-1800s one of the most important farming communities in the entire United States—one still harboring a host of pre-prohibition vineyards planted in riverfront sand along a major Pacific Ocean inland delta—was Contra Costa County in the San Francisco East Bay. Today, residential buildings are more prevalent, many in the place of these historic heritage vineyards—but some have been saved.

Of those vineyards that have been spared by the bulldozer, some are the original vines planted by Italian immigrants rooted in beach sand dunes along the San Joaquin River Delta. Others are ‘younger’ vines, around 40-60 years old, planted by their descendants—‘young’ for Contra Costa but ‘old’ by California standards. And it is there, among the dunes, in a land rich with agriculture ghost stories of the past, that we sourced this fruit-forward Petite Sirah for Lot 919. Vines averaging 40 years of age are dry-farmed, producing small-berry clusters that are rich in flavor. A splash of Alicante Bouschet adds bright fruit qualities, while the Petite Sirah grapes bring muscle, robust tannins, and structure. Fire up the pizza oven, and send us an invite!

This is a Petite Sirah from a historic region that screams value, and at only $14 it’ll be the perfect addition to stock up on for these cold winter months.

Watch or listen as Joe Roberts, founder of 1winedude.com, walks us through a tasting and discusses this exciting release.

Wine Tasting Video Highlights:

00:00 Introduction
00:25 Contra Costa Old Vine Petite Sirah
01:05 The Pour
01:28 The Color
01:53 The Nose
02:27 The Palate

SHOP LOT 919

SHOP PETITE SIRAH

TASTE NAPA VALLEY PETITE SIRAH

Lot 858 2020 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

As always, Sonoma County continues to be a source of incredible values – Napa’s larger, more laid-back neighbor continues to offer superb quality for price relative to its more famous peer – an enticing fact in these new days of inflation (and a welcome relief to our pockets). The Alexander Valley AVA is the largest and most fully planted wine region within Sonoma and has been producing critically acclaimed Cabernet since Rodney Strong sold the first vineyard designated Sonoma Cab in the mid 70s.

Lot 858 is a single-vineyard designated Cab under its original label from the region’s benchlands, planted to gravel and sandy loam soils. After harvest and press, the wine was aged in 40% new French oak with the balance aged in first and second pass French oak for well over 20 months. The result is a wine screaming for attention in an otherwise written off market (considering all the attention its Napa neighbors command to this day).

Watch or listen as Chris Lafleur, Sommeliers Creed for Cameron Hughes walks us through a tasting.

Tasting Video Highlights:

00:00 Intro
00:24 Alexander Valley Cab
01:39 The Color
01:40 The Nose
02:14 The Palate
03:13 Drink now or cellar?
03:51 Food and Wine Pairing

EXPLORE LOT 858

SHOP CABERNET SAUVIGNON

TASTE NAPA VALLEY CAB

Lot 960 2018 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Lot 960 2018 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is a distinguished expression of top-shelf estate Russian River Pinot Noir for a weeknight price.

If these Russian River Valley Pinot Noir grapes could talk!! They’d spill the beans about their origins, and then you’d know all about the source winery’s remarkable single-estate vineyards that contributed to this structured blend. Good thing those grapes were crushed, fermented, and turned into one of the most delicious Pinot Noirs we’ve had the privilege of sourcing this year. CH Wine fans… this is a diamond in the rough.

In the glass, Lot 960 2018 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir has a lovely ruby sheen with a hint of purple in the core and an orange-rimmed hue. At 5 years old – this is a wine that has been cellared for you! It’s a heady Pinot with dark brambly fruits, red and black plum, and hints of allspice framed by oak and vanilla. Hello beautiful! It literally leaps out of the glass with expressive fruit, building with mouthwatering acidity, plenty of lift, and a complex vein of minerality through the medium-bodied finish. This is a lovely structured Pinot Noir hitting its stride right now and capable of another 2-4 years of bottle aging.

Super-high-class Swan, DRC, and Pommard clones of Pinot Noir (the same clones coveted by big-name Russian River producers of triple-digit priced Pinots) were blended together to create this utterly dynamic Pinot Noir. Lot 960 delivers a medium-bodied and fashionable wine that was a special Lot selection from the source winery’s epic estate vineyards. This is a wine people would normally pay $70 for, but as a CH Wine “insider” you get these special deals. You and your best wine friends will be fawning over this heady and lifted Pinot with its plummy goodness, baking spice accents, and underpinnings of cedarwood and vanilla. Expressive fruit and minerality, mouthwatering acidity, and the gusto to pair with everything from baked fish and roasted chicken to rack of lamb and Wagyu burgers.

Watch as Katy Long, Director of International Wines for VWE walks us through a tasting of this 2018 vintage Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

Tasting Video Highlights:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 00:13 Lot 960 Info
  • 00:22 Russian River Valley
  • 00:37 Color of the wine
  • 01:00 On the Nose
  • 01:28 The Taste
  • 02:02 When to Drink

Video Transcript:

Katy Long says:
Hello and welcome back to the CH Wine tasting room. I’m Katy Long and today I have lot 960 this is a 2018 Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley. Some regions are synonymous with their grape varieties and Russian River Pinot Noir is just one of those examples. There is a reason why there’s Pinot Noir planted in this area, and that’s because it thrives and it creates these beautiful wines of complexity.

So taking a peek at that color, it is a lovely ruby. It has a hint of purple in the core, almost a bit of orange at the rim, which is kind of to be expected of a Pinot noir, especially one with a few years of age. So what I’m really excited about with this wine is that it is a 2018, which means we’ve done the cellar thing for you.

You can go ahead and open a bottle of this and enjoy immediately, but let me give it a sniff and see if I have anything else to add to that. Oh, this is a heady Pinot noir. There are rumors that just keep unfurling. It is dark bramble fruit. There’s some red plum, some black plum, a hint spice. It might be more of a cinnamon and all spice baking spice component.

And then there’s also this frame of, like oak vanilla. Let’s give it a taste. Hello, beautiful. That wine just jumps out of the glass. Well, on the palate, it’s maybe medium bodied. There’s a good bit of alcohol, and it just kind of lifts up those fruit flavors. It’s mouthwatering acidity. It’s really balanced and it’s a whole lot of fun.

There’s a minerality that also makes it kind of complex. This is a bit more structured than some of the other Pinot Noir, and it is absolutely hitting in its peak window to drink, not to say, though, that it’s not going to continue to evolve for another 3 to 5 years, but I’d say don’t wait, get a case, pop open a bottle and I’ll see you online.

Cheers.

SHOP LOT 960

SHOP PINOT NOIR

TASTE A 2019 RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR

Lot 917 2021 Wahluke Slope Merlot

Cameron Hughes Wine Lot 917 effortlessly combines deliciousness and pedigree into one irresistible package.

Sustainable, expertly crafted, and delicious—that’s our Lot 917 2021 Wahluke Slope Merlot in a nutshell. This 2021 Merlot hails from “Sustainable WA” certified vineyards in the Wahluke Slope, an area of eastern Washington that’s been gaining serious traction among red wine lovers year after year since its official recognition in 2006.

Named after a Native American word meaning “watering place,” Wahluke Slope is actually one of the drier spots in Washington state, all of it sitting on a large alluvial fan with incredibly uniform, gravelly soils that evoke regular comparisons to the world’s foremost Merlot powerhouse region: Right Bank Bordeaux. Bordered by the Columbia River, Saddle Mountains, and Hanford Reach National Monument, there are only 20 vineyards in Wahluke Slope, and almost all of them grow incredible Merlot grapes.

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

Tasting Video Highlights:

00:00 Intro
00:43 The Color
00:53 The Nose
01:25 The Palate
02:05 Wine Pairing

EXPLORE LOT 917

SHOP MERLOT

RATATOUILLE AND MERLOT RECIPE

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 906 2021 Wahluke Slope Red Blend

Cameron Hughes Wine Lot 906 is a ripe-styled, full-bodied, intense, and richly-flavored red blend made from grapes with significantly smaller berry sizes translating into an incredible concentration of flavor and structure.

Red blends are absolutely on fire lately and have always been one of our top sellers. Wines like Lot 906 2021 Wahluke Slope Red Blend demonstrate why that’s the case. (Red Blend fans will want to think about buying multiple bottles, why? Keep reading!)

This red blend from Washington State’s Columbia Valley showcases a unique, record-setting vintage for the region. 2021 absolutely shattered temperature records in eastern Washington, with a historic heat dome settling over the area. For an average wine-growing region, this would have been potentially disastrous. But because of the incredible vineyard management talent and overall health of the vines in Columbia Valley in general, the source vineyards for Lot 906 weathered the heat like champions, producing high-quality, intensely flavored, power-packed fruit (particularly for the region’s red wine varieties).

Berry sizes were significantly smaller, translating into grapes with an incredible concentration of flavor and fantastic structure (thanks to a higher than normal skin-to-pulp ratio, meaning more tannins to go along with all of that ample dark fruit action). The catch? Yields were way, way down, and much less red wine was made in 2021 as a result.

Watch or listen as Chris Lafleur, Sommeliers Creed for Cameron Hughes walks us through a tasting.

Tasting Video Highlights:

00:00 Intro
00:22 GSM and Wahluke
01:48 The Nose
02:30 The Color
02:48 The Palate
04:00 Where in your cellar?

EXPLORE LOT 906

SHOP RED BLENDS

TASTE NAPA COUNTY RED BLEND

Lot 863 2019 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

Defined by the fog bank that blankets the region, and home to rare ancient sandstone seabed soils, the Russian River Valley is known the world over as a preeminent, cool climate winegrowing region, famous in equal parts for its Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. The latter is on offer today exclusively to this list’s members, another tasting room-only casualty from the early days of Covid shutdowns that we grabbed to pass the savings on to you!

Lot 863 is a pinnacle example of this region’s ability to bring its fruit to exceptional maturity and not be marred by being over-oaked. A 60/40 oak and stainless blend that saw malolactic fermentation, it’s equally enjoyable for the diehard ‘classic Cali Chard’ fans and the ‘varietally correct’ camp of stainless-steel Chard lovers, culminating in one of the most balanced, beloved, and approachable expressions of Chardonnay we came across from the 2019 vintage. Add in blue chip estate pedigree and a winemaker with decades of experience with the fruit of this region, and you have one of the best Chardonnay values all year.

Watch or listen as Chris Lafleur, Sommeliers Creed for Cameron Hughes walks us through a tasting of this Russian River Chardonnay.

Tasting Video Highlights:

00:00 Intro
00:16 2019 Vintage Chards
01:18 The Nose
01:59 The Palate
02:54 Where in your cellar?

SHOP LOT 863

SHOP CHARDONNAY

TASTE ARROYO SECO CHARDONNAY

Lot 875 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Cameron Hughes Wine Lot 875 is an exclusive Cabernet release from a top Napa house!

Napa Valley is famous the world over for exceptional Cabs, and occasionally, we come across one of the very top houses cutting bait with exclusive, tasting room only, reserve program, or single vineyard bottlings, however, the price isn’t always right. That’s not the case this go around. One of the tightest NDAs we signed late last year allowed us to find the perfect intersection of exceptional wine at an extraordinary value.

Lot 875 is produced by a house that essentially defines Napa pedigree with triple-digits running the cost of entry. All their releases are in the barrels-to-low case count quantities, so exclusive is something they embody to the fullest. As such, the quantity of what we have to offer today is hyper-limited, and all we can tell you about this wine is it’s 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% New French oak aged, and a one-off score from a discontinued program at the original winery. This is a bottle that may seem unassuming but is in fact a collector’s item.

Watch or listen as Chris Lafleur, Sommeliers Creed for Cameron Hughes walks us through a tasting.

Tasting Video Highlights:
00:00 Intro
00:32 On Napa Valley
01:08 The Color
01:38 The Nose
02:30 The Palate
03:16 Where in your cellar?

EXPLORE LOT 875

SHOP CABERNET SAUVIGNON

9 CABERNET SAUVIGNON FACTS