We’ve covered de Négoce (“day nuh-go-shay”) in recent installments: a Fall 2021 overview and recently the 2021 Holiday Party Pack Sampler. This time we look at a 12 Days of Christmas sampler pack: a behemoth dozen bottles of various West Coast wines carefully selected by wine negociant Cameron Hughes. Unlike the Holiday Party Pack Sampler, which featured only 5 expressions from assorted vineyards spread over 12 bottles, this holiday pack features a dozen unique ones. Which is a lot to cover, so let’s begin.
2018 OG de Négoce N.17 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – Dense and delightfully burly, there’s lots going on here: rich and dark with notes of cherry jam, cigar box, and black pepper. The palate features a hearty burst of clove and baking spice with a wave of blackberry and raspberry towards the finish. Wonderfully well-balanced and approachable either solo or when paired with food. The best of the pack, hands down. A
2019 OG de Négoce Lot 167 Napa Valley Chardonnay – A lively approach of melon, toasted almond, and apricot complement a full-bodied palate of tropical notes and a creamy texture. A lovely, long finish with a very subtle oak touch emerges towards the end. How Hughes scored this in large quantities is anyone’s guess, but it is a fine thing they did. A
2018 OG de Négoce N.48 Russian River Valley Sonoma County Pinot Noir – In contrast to the pinot noir from Willamette Valley, this was immediately approachable with lively notes of baking spice, bergamot, and Darjeeling black tea which receives a boost at the end from the oak influence. Consider opening this one now but allocate an hour or so for decanting. A-
2018 OG de Négoce N.86 Wala Walla Valley Merlot – Rich with notes of figs and pipe tobacco, it offers a sturdy palate which isn’t too weighty and well-balanced, with ripe blackberry, oak and dates rolling throughout. It’s engaging from start to the lingering finish, with potential to be a crowd pleaser at a gathering. A longer decant is good on this one, but not necessary. A-
2019 OG de Négoce Lot 226 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc – A bit overwhelming at first with lime and lemon zest doing a back and forth routine before settling into palate of heavy florals, freshly cut grass, and a small but intriguing minerality. The finish runs short but is heavy with gooseberry and a return to citrus from the nose. One to serve at a dinner on the lighter side. A-
2018 OG de Négoce N.25 Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon – Heavy vanilla and eucalyptus character dominate on the nose, and it is well advised to let this one sit for about an hour or so. Thankfully, matters calm down and notes of blackberry and oak start to show themselves. A very all-encompassing glass that demands full attention. B+
2019 OG de Négoce N.233 Napa Valley Chardonnay – This was included in the Fall 2021 Holiday Pack, so I was curious to see if the profile matched again with a bit more time in the bottle. Lots of familiar notes of tropicality (lemon, mango, pineapple) with lovely autumnal spice at the finish. I rated this one a B+ previously, which stands as fair assessment during its encore performance. B+
2019 OG de Négoce Lot 185 Russian River Chardonnay – A note of custard on top, with layers of toasted brioche, baked apples, and orange zest all emerging in good form on the palate. The finish lingers for a generous amount of time, full of white peaches, with oak influence making a small cameo appearance. California chardonnay lovers will find plenty here to enjoy. B+
2019 OG de Négoce Lot 176 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – Very fruit forward and lively, with notes of cherry, strawberry, and roses running throughout. There is a small touch of baking spice on the back end, with a cherry compote and bergamot character providing an incredibly nuanced but satisfying finish. B+
2018 OG de Négoce N.30 Atlas Peak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – There’s a savory mushroom and blueberry note on the nose masking the darker fruit notes found on the palate, which has a one-two punch of black cherry and currant. Fine tannins with low acidity keep things well-balanced, and a dry finish with a slight minerality wraps things up nicely. I’m predicting this bottling will improve over time while in cellar, but it is also cohesive and drinkable now for audiences with high curiosity and low patience. B
2018 OG de Négoce N.65 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir – Somewhat surprisingly, this needed to be aerated for a significantly longer time than anticipated. The wine is quite thin and lacking character at first, but revisiting a day later was worth the trouble. Bigger notes of black cherry with forest floor notes on the finish balancing out the sweetness nicely. Patience and time are requisites here, but worth it. B
2019 OG de Négoce Lot 219 Santa Ynez Valley Grenache – Buoyantly fruity, full of strawberry, cranberry, and a touch of milk chocolate on the nose. More strawberry and vanilla keep the palate equally as sweet with a lingering finish and medium acidity. No frills simplicity abounds in this selection; it’s drinkable as a single glass serving. B
With a sampler pack this size there is generous amount of value to be found, and something pleasing for the most critical of palate. It’s a great selection for holiday gatherings of all sorts, and probably more enjoyable than if you spent an equal amount of money at a store trying to build a comparable collection.
$199 for the 12-pack / denegoce.com