NV Cameron Hughes, Napa Vallery Carneros Lot 25 Sparkling Wine
Someone in California finally got it right. A handsome effort understated by its name, this is in fact a 1998 blend of nearly equal parts chardonnay and pinot noir. And though I never tasted the original bottling, what the Cameron Hughes team has done with it is profound. After the initial whiff of coconuts and creme brulee, the dry sourdough palate opens to a flood of key lime, tonic, 7-Up, and granny smith apples. And as the long finish develops, lobbying the first flavor profile to place me in central Florida, the expansive fruit creams out to the pliable texture of meringue melting on my tongue. Either an extension or an affront to Champagne proper, this is an honest Carneros offering that brings new dimension to sparkling wine--one I suspect many have been searching for.