One of the perils of ordering or buying wine from a winery you have not had before is not knowing exactly what to expect or whether you are going to like it. To help solve that problem, a new business has been started that allows you to sample wine, in the comfort of your home, without committing to a full bottle. Started in 2009, TastingRoom.com
“offers wine lovers an innovative new way to discover, taste and acquire wine that expands and enriches the wine-drinking experience. Our service lets you taste wines before you buy via sample-sized bottles delivered directly to your home.”
Each box contains six 50ml bottles. Boxes are available either from individual wineries or by types of wine (i.e., Napa Cabs).
Recently, a sample box of six Cameron Hughes wines showed up for sampling. While not currently listed on the TastingRoom.com website, the six sample bottles from Cameron Hughes included one white and five reds. The six wines were:
Lot 151 – 2009 Columbia Valley (WA) Riesling/Chenin Blanc
Lot 161 – 2007 Sonoma County Meritage
Lot 172 – 2007 Napa Valley Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon
Lot 175 – 2007 Napa Valley Merlot
Lot 176 – 2008 Los Carneros Pinot Noir
Lot 179 – 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet/Syrah
Overall, the sample box is an interesting concept, the 50ml bottles are necessarily small, which makes really tasting the wine difficult. By the time you finish any given sample you really want more to determine if you really enjoyed the wine. The sample box is, however, good for just getting a feel for a type of wine or a specific wineries offerings. Of the six samples, these are the three I enjoyed the most and would consider buying whole bottles.
Lot 161 – 2007 Sonoma County Meritage ($16; 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot)
Dark red in glass with hints of cherry and spice. Tastes of red pit fruit and spice with some tannins on the back of the palate (15.3%). (Rating ****)
Lot 172 – 2007 Napa Valley Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon ($22)
Dark red in the glass with hints of ripe fruit on the nose. Young tannic wine with berries on the palate that will probably drink better in years to come (14.9%). (Rating ***1/2)
Lot 179 – 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet/Syrah ($16)
Dark red in the glass with light fruity nose. Ripe berry and black cherry flavors with mild tannins (14.5%). (Rating ***1/2).