2018 Cameron Winery, Pinot Gris “Ramato” Willamette Valley, Oregon.
One of the new world’s best “Orange” wines, the Friuli inspired Cameron Winery Ramato is a skin contact coppery, hence the name, Pinot Gris is a dry, slightly savory and textured wine that thrills the senses. John Paul, the famed Pinot Noir winemaker at Cameron Winery and Oregon legend is also a huge Italian wine fan, loving the wines of Piedmonte, but also being influenced by the wines of Radikon and Gravner, among others in the north-eastern Italy, near the border with Slovenia where these traditional wines are made. Orange wines are in fashion, but are a tiny niche, and while some dismiss them as a passing fade it should be noted they have been around hundreds if not thousands of years and are not going away anytime soon and we are blessed by their presence, especially when there as good and pleasing as this one is. Made by allowing the wine to spend time on the skins and then being fermented with malo-lactic conversion the amber hued Cameron Ramato, sourced from their estate Abbey Ridge Vineyard in the Dundee Hills AVA, has an intriguing tension between a delicacy of fruit and the soft grip of tannins that provide a structural mouth feel in a dry and brisk wine.
As eluded to, Ramato means copper colored in Italian, which Paul’s certainly shows in the glass and this 2018 version is absolutely brilliant, after many years of experience he nailed this vintage, which his calls one of his best yet and referring to it as a lovely copper-colored libation. He also makes a full on Rouge de Gris version, which is more of a red wine version with full pigment extraction, but this one is pretty and and almost luxurious on the palate, while offering a heightened degree of complexity. This one hits its marks with layers of wild peach, strawberry, red citrus fresh/fruit and rind along with orange tea notes, crushed flowers, dusty cinnamony spices, persimmon and a melon sensation. This wine gains weight as it opens, but never takes on a heavy or flabby personality, staying fresh and lively even as it leaves a serious impression, providing lots of entertaining quality. Sometimes these Orange style wines can be earthy/funky and downright unappealing, but not this almost opulent/creamy Cameron, it is clean and wonderfully lingering, if you are orange curious, this is one to look for! It goes without saying, you’ll want to grab Cameron’s awesome Pinot Noir(s) first and foremost, along with his old world Burgundy style Chardonnay, but be sure not to overlook their Italian inspired whites and especially their Nebbiolo.
($28 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive