cameron hughes 251 The business model for the Cameron Hughes Lot Series is a win for consumers. They buy surplus wine or wine grapes from good producers at low cost, make the wine if necessary, and sell it for much less than the wine would  have cost had there been no surplus.

So, when looking for bargains, it is usually worth paying attention to what Cameron Hughes is doing. This blend of Syrah (51%), Grenache (43%), Mourvedre (4%), and Carignane (2%) is no exception.

These grapes are sourced from Arroyo Seco, an often overlooked, cool weather appellation in Monterey County. I would expect Rhone varietals from this region to be restrained but with refreshing acidity, which is precisely what we find with Lot 251.

Blueberry, strawberry jam,  black pepper, fig and lightly roasted coffee notes show on the nose; on the palate these flavors are amplified by zesty minerality and a supple, crisp, almost delicate mouth feel.

The aromas don’t leap from the glass—it is a bit reserved but there is plenty of complexity once you probe and ponder a bit.

The clean, velvety finish has persistent flavor but comes up short for lack of tannins. Drink soon; it lacks the structure for extended ageing.

A thoroughly enjoyable, refreshing, everyday wine at an affordable price.

Good: Velvety texture, and complexity for the price

Bad: Light tannins shorten the finish

Distinctive: Refreshing minerality

Price: $13