Cameron Hughes has figured out how to sell wine. He is co-founder, with wife Jessica Kogan, of Cameron Hughes Wine, a privately held négociant business headquartered San Francisco. The son of a wine industry veteran, Hughes cut his teeth in wine direct sales, later joining a small French import firm before starting his own firm in 2001.
Big and bold is easy for any wine drinker to understand. Nuance, on the other hand is more of a challenge. With nearly every U.S. state producing wine, Michigan is trying to nab a spot, along with regions like New York’s Finger Lakes, as the next best thing outside the west coast.
The best-kept secret in the American wine industry celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. The secret? The fact that the first place to receive an American Viticultural Area designation is the small town of Augusta, Missouri.
Faedo is a lovely village in Trentino, a typical little mountain village characterized by two churces and an ancient, mighty castle, Castel Monreale. This village is on the slopes above the Val d’Adige Valley and its climate is one of the most favorable in the area for grape cultivation. Here you will find one of the most well-known Italian wine producers in this area, a true original named Mario Pojer.
So here I was, last spring, talking away with the recently-departed Marcel Lapierre, the Beaujolais vigneron who was one of the dominant figures of the natural wine movement in its strictest definition—organic in the vineyard, wine made with grape juice only, nothing added (not even sulfur), nothing taken out. And as we got into discussing the risks of wild fermentations without sulfur, I asked him what he recommended doing if a fermentation went off in the wrong direction, with undesirable microorganisms like Brettanomyces taking over the wine’s development.
I had just finished my Intro Sommelier course and was determined to distinguish the difference in aroma of all the different flower colors. How else was I expected to know “white roses” from “yellow roses” during my next exam? So I began to smell.