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Greg Hughes

Greg Hughes

Estate

Henry of Pelham Winery Estate Riesling 2017

Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada
44 days ago

Greg scored this wine: 90/100

This is a great value for a Riesling every vintage. For 20 bucks, you get structure, finesse, and older bottles I've had have proven this one can keep pretty well. 2017 was a difficult vintage until the end, strangely. It was frosty, then humid, then it hailed!.. Somehow Niagara seemed to fair decently well overall and star varietals, like Riesling, will impress. This wine has a bit more of a backbone than previous vintages, but that may well work in favour of the style. Pale lemon colour, a wee bit of residual sugar, and lots of nice citrusy aromatics. Juicy green apple, nectarine, and lemon to the palate. Fresh acidity and a medium body. Pair this wine with yakitori and a seaweed salad.

Appellation San Carlos

Catena Appellation San Carlos Cabernet Franc 2016

Mendoza, Argentina
44 days ago

Greg scored this wine: 89/100

Catena has me hooked, when I see Cabernet Franc on one of their labels. It's not as hefty as Cab Sauv or Malbec and to make a good Cab Franc, it has to retain a nice array of spice and fruit but it also has to have elegant, well preserved aromatics. This achiebes that. This wine was sourced from a small area called El Cepillo, San Carlos (in the Uco Valley). Beautiful garnet colour. Decently rich and opaque. Aromas of incense, cherry, red apple, red currant, craisin, licorice, and cardamom. Flavours of red berry and a ton of spiciness (dried herb and smoke). It's very well made. The year in French oak is completely in kilter and hides none of the expressive varietal character. Completely delicious. Steak au poivre would go well, here. It could last a short stint in the cellar, as well.

Specialties

Santa Carolina Specialties Carignan 2013

Cauquenes Valley, Maule Valley, Chile
44 days ago

Greg scored this wine: 90/100

This wine comes from two growers in the Cauquenes subregion of the Maule Valley. These vines are close to 100 years old and they have root systems reaching so far into the water table that they do not require irrigation. These very special vines produce less fruit, but what is produced is concentrated and delicious. They age this wine for around a year on large format barrels (300-400L). Unsurprisingly to those of us familiar with Carignan, they hold it back and cellar it so it can mellow a bit first. A nice crimson colour - not particularly dark. The aromas have some lovely leather, strawberry, peaches (yes peaches), cherry, and incense. The flavours are unique and elegant. This is not a bruiser Chilean wine. It is supposed to showcase a unique grape that was once a lynchpin to the industry in the early 20th century. It takes a back seat to Carmenere and a myriad of others, but Santa Carolina has made something conversation-worthy here. Yum! Pair it with veggie burgers made with onion and pinto bean.

La Consulta

Altocedro La Consulta 2015

La Consulta, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
44 days ago

Greg scored this wine: 89/100

This is a wine definitely built to age a bit. The tannins are almost face-ripping. It's an interesting blend too: Malbec, Cab, Syrah, and Tempranillo. The colour is quite inky and dark. Fennel, olive, plum, date, cherry, smoke, and quite earthy. The flavours are pretty firm at this point, but they revolve around black and red berries, more ruminating smoke, and tons of phenolic skin character. This firm wine needs some patience to be appreciated either in a decanter for a few hours, or a cellar for half a decade.

Santa Carolina Petit Verdot 2014

Rapel Valley D.O., Chile
44 days ago

Greg scored this wine: 89/100

Grown along Santa Carolina's La Rinconada vineyards, in the Rapel Valley, this wine is always a pretty solid value. It was hand harvested and fermented in steel. Later, it was moved to French and American barrels for aging. It probably got a small amount of time to rest in the cellar as well; given the aggressive nature Petit Verdot exhibits in youth. This vintage comes from 2014, which was a good year for Chile, so Verdot thrived. This wine has a beautiful deep ruby colour, with purple hues. Aromas of incense, fudge, black, and blueberries. It's quite smooth and is entering its prime window now, but will hold on for at least 5-7 years. More chocolate, charcoal, and jammy berries and plum. Hefty and delicious. Petit Verdot can be a pretty big pain in the butt to grow, so it wouldn't be smart to make one unless you are willing to put in special effort. It is extremely sensitive to less than ideal seasons, cannot handle water stress, and the grapes grow differently than similar varietals (two clusters per cane instead of one). The berries are small, high acid, and have thick skin. Awesome value!

Greg Hughes

Memorable Wine

Love it or hate it you never forget your first Gewürz, but in Strasbourg I had the opportunity to try Klevener de Heilligenstein. I was pure bliss.

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First Wine

Jackson Triggs Gewürztraminer 2004

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Unusual Wine Experience

Digging through a wine cellar with Debbie Pratt trying to find the elusive Canadian Dornfelder.

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Current Fav Wine

I am dissecting the Beaujolais crus one at a time.

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Winner World's Best Drink Writer
Four-Time Winner James Beard Foundation
Five-Time Winner Association of Food Journalists
Six-Time Winner Bert Greene Award
Best Wine Literature Book Gourmand World Cookbook Awards
Online Writer of the Year Louis Roederer International Wine Writing Award