Monday, April 30, 2012

BevMo's best Moscato: Cameron Hughes Lot 311

Moscato is the hottest wine on the US market. Sales have tripled in less than three years. People buying it aren't generally doing so at the French Laundry or some specialty wine shop. They're getting it as cheaply as possible, often at grocery stores.

But sometimes they're making forays into stores like Beverages & More. Recently I asked Wilfred Wong, BevMo's ebullient cellarmaster, if I could taste all of the Moscatos that BevMo has in stock.

Wong invited me to BevMo's new headquarters in Concord, where he has a freshly built WongCave that's perfect for all the professional tasting he does: multi-temperature fridges, wine glass-specific dishwasher. I'm jealous, and so is Christian Bale. But Wilfred takes better tasting notes than Batman. (Typical Batman note: "Cherry. Pyrazines. MegaPurple. A hint of strychnine. Alfred, antidote please.")

We tasted a lot of Moscatos, and friends, it was a grim business. Lots of sweetness with strong chemical notes. Let me be like Napa Valley Grapegrowers and be the first to call it: The Joker is behind this Moscato craze.

But this was the best of the bunch, clearly made at least by Catwoman and possibly even a member of the Justice League. It's also available at Costco, so pick it up for all those non-wine-drinking friends you're planning to convert. As for me, I would like it best after the meal, in place of dessert.

Cameron Hughes Lot 311 Moscato d'Asti 2011 ($10)
A pretty wine, with light floral notes and lychee fruit on both the nose and palate. Sweet and delicate, with a low level of fizz that's enough to carry the sugar.
I reached Hughes by email in Mexico (Me: "Are you sourcing a Tequila?" Hughes: "No, just drinking it and doing a wee bit of surfing.") and he says that even in a tight market for real Moscato d'Asti from Italy, he has two producers in Asti making the wine for him and expects to have plenty of it next vintage as well.

So that's what he looks like without the mask

Hughes adds: "The Italians laugh at the Moscato craze as they have been doing it for centuries. Nevertheless they're not above making a buck." And neither is he. I could almost hear him laughing in the email. Wait a minute ... could Cameron Hughes, a man whose livelihood depends on keeping secrets, actually be ...

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Cameron Hughes said...

Hey Blake - glad you like our Lot 311 MOscato.

One thing, however. Costco and our website are the only places to buy Lot 311. BevMo doesn't carry the wine...

Ben Fox said...

One other thing: Sellout!

W. Blake Gray said...

Cameron: Ouch! I swear to you, I tried that one and Lot 319 at BevMo headquarters. Maybe they were test-driving the competition.

Ben: If only. Selling out requires being paid. Not for this post. I guess that makes me a slut, not a whore.

Ben Fox said...

Blake- Definitely not meant for you. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Amalie Robert Estate said...

Blake: It bears repeating, anything worth doing, is worth doing for money.