We receive comments on de Négoce at a steady clip (and feel free to keep them coming). While we aren’t here to play judge and jury over our readers’ uniformly dismal experiences — our original reviews were all based on media samples — I decided to take a spin myself and purchase a few bottles from the site for the holiday season, in order to experience for myself the good or bad outcomes throughout the process.
Thankfully, my bottles arrived safely and before the originally scheduled delivery date. All were accounted for, and while my initial inquiry about an ETA went unheeded by customer service, their site provided updates as they became available. It was far from the worst experience I’ve endured when dealing with mail-order wine. So now on to the purchases: four Malbecs from de Négoce. For those needing a refresher: de Négoce (“day nuh-go-shay”) is Cameron Hughes’ private label where he sources and contracts wines. He then plays the futures market with his selections, hoping their quality grows over time. Here’s how this selection panned out.
2018 OG de Négoce Lot 118 Chalk Hill Malbec – I enjoyed this quite a bit in a previous review, and the ability to revisit this a year later is a delight, as things only improved with a bit of time and storage. More of everything I loved the first time around: bigger berry notes and mild oak surrounded by heavy tannins and a well-constructed body. Did not waiver in the slightest and was the best of the quartet by a long shot. A / $24
2018 OG de Négoce Lot 154 Walla Walla Malbec –A blend of 77% Malbec, 18% Cabernet, and 5% Syrah boasting heavy notes of violet, chocolate, and coffee on the nose. The oak plays its part on the palate, enhancing dark cherry, chocolate, and cinnamon notes, and there’s a little bit of minerality toward the back. A solid finish full of chewy tannins and spice lingers but never really overpowers any of the other elements. A very harmonious bottle, and it’s a shame I can’t determine which winery is behind this offering. I would have zero quarrels putting down the credit card for a case. A- / $16
2018 OG de Négoce Lot 142 Horse Heaven Hills Malbec – 88% Malbec, 4% Cabernet, 4% Merlot, 3% Petite Verdot, and 1% Syrah. Very peppery with black fruit at the core, but notes of clove and baking spice come around with time. Medium acidity and polished tannins complement a very lengthy finish of dark berries and wood cigar box. Would like to revisit this in a year or so to see how it develops, but also drinkable immediately. B+ / $16
2018 OG de Négoce Lot 18 Napa Valley Malbec – Oak and blackberry lead the charge throughout, plus bittersweet chocolate and clove making a brief appearance on the palate. Very grippy tannins and high acidity are present through a long finish that is solid blackberry. It needs to simmer down some and spend more time tucked away somewhere to sort itself out. B- / $25