Years ago when I started looking for wines with great value, Spain was amongst the first countries that hit my radar. I loved the predominant style of wines from Rioja and found there were a boat load of stunning values coming from there. Fast forward almost two decades and some things have changed and some have stayed the same. The biggest change is that Spanish wines are much better known by US consumers then they were then. What hasn't changed is that there are still a host of excellent wines coming from Rioja and Spain in general. many of these continue to be excellent values. Today I'll look at a Rioja from Négociant Cameron Hughes. The 2004 Cameron Hughes Lot 93 Rioja is of course composed of Tempranillo. 700 cases of this wine wefre produced and the suggested retail price is $21.
Vanilla, cherry and cedar notes are prominent in the nose of this Rioja. When you first open it this wine is a bit tight and an hour or more in the decanter is recommended to get the best out of it now. Licorice, earth, dusty chocolate, star anise, bramble and more are all part of a complex, layered palate that unfolds as this offering opens up. The finish on this wine long, persistent, intense and more than anything else, impressive in both length and scope of complexity. This is and incredibly structured wine with firm tannic structure and excellent acidity. Pair this wine with a steak, or heck have the wine for dinner.
This offering has the benchmark qualities I think of when it comes to Rioja. Good fruit, structure and nice oak treatment. And it over-delivers in its price category. I have found that to be true of Rioja over the years. I haven't been drinking Cameron Hughes selections as long, but so far he's delivering a lot of value with each offering I have tasted. At this point I'm comfortable enough that I'd confidently pick up anything with the Cameron Hughes name on it and expect a good deal. By the way you could could easily lay down this particular wine for a decade.