Grapelive: Wine of the Day April 8, 2019

2016 Cameron Winery, Pinot Noir, Clos Electrique, Estate, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon -photo grapelive

2016 Cameron Winery, Pinot Noir, Clos Electrique, Estate, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
The monopole “Clos Electrique” Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir has to be one of Oregon’s most iconic wines and John Paul, Cameron’s winemaker, has made an epic version in 2016, I mean god help the French if this wine ever got into a blind tasting versus some of the top Grand Cru Burgundies, because this stuff will blown their minds! The original Pinot Noir clones at this special Dundee Hills site were planted on their own roots in 1984 and over the years, Cameron has added new vines that were grafted onto American root stock. This vintage is heavenly deep in color with dark garnet red hues and core of opaqueness this stuff looks the part and tastes even better with stunning range of fruit, earth, spice and mineral tones on the concentrated medium full palate. As warm, ripe and dense as the year was, Cameron’s Clos Electrique, named after the vineyard’s ring of electric fencing to keep marauding deer out of the grapes, has a sublime sense of balance, and refined low natural alcohol at a surprising 13.2%, but with a powerful mouth feel and unbelievable length, this is ultra serious stuff that rivals Dujac, Men-Camuzet and Rousseau!

This wine bursts from the glass with a slight touch of reductive funk before revealing intense sensational fruit led by blackberry, racy plum, black cherry and tart currants along with hints of truffle, anise, red spices, which I feel is the underlying Jory soils expressing themselves, as well as a touch of smoky wood, earthy fig, orange zest, leather and violets. The addition of tart garden grown strawberries and bitter coco only add to the gorgeous complexity while the textural side of things gains in a dance between regal opulence and vigorous grip in a play of sensual heightened tension and release, something all great wines seem to deliver.


The Dundee Hills AVA grown Clos Electrique Rouge, as this Pinot is known as by the winery, consists of at least 15 different clones of Pinot Noir selections that were planted by Paul on a mere 2 acres (less than 1 hectare) of land. The yields at Clos Electrique are always very small averaging between 1 and 2 tons of fruit per acre (that is less than 25 hl/hectar) of which makes it rare and concentrated in style, with Paul adding that his Clos Electrique is typically gnarly and intense, (it is) changing constantly in the glass and has fooled many wine-lovers into declaring it to be an old world wine, which I can attest to myself.

The winemaking at Cameron is old school and traditional Burgundian with all of the wines are fermented with the indigenous yeasts in open top tanks, John Paul jokingly adds, in which beautiful women immerse their nude bodies in the warm must to keep things exciting in the cellar. (maybe not true?) Then resulting wines are raised for nearly 2 years in French oak barrels, which vary from new to completely neutral, never heavy handed in their use and then bottled without filtration. To ensure real terroir, Clos Electrique is farmed organically and without irrigation, Cameron use only elemental sulfur during the growing season to prevent growth of powdery mildew and use copper hydroxide and leaf removal in the vicinity of grape clusters to inhibit botrytis. While Insect pests are kept at bay by cultivation of predatory insects with an integrated cover crop. This site is thought of as one of the warm zones, but John Paul’s wines are full of energy and remarkably fresh and age worthy, and this cuvee is one of the Willamette Valley greatest wines, it is a bucket list Pinot, no question.
($59-79 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive