2015 Cameron Winery, Pinot Noir “Massale” Clos Electrique, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
The reduction and barnyard nose is strong here, much like the classic Domaine Maume Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru and Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru bottlings of the 1990s, but the palate opens up beautifully with beautiful textural layering and deep flavors in a wine that will cause a mild controversy! This limited release Cuvee Massale from Cameron Winery will thrill old school Burg fans and, of course, winemaker John Paul’s loyal followers, this 2015 has loads of personality and character, though those that prefer modern ultra clean and fruit forward Pinots will be taken aback by the stinky bouquet, that said, the palate and overall depth is exceptional and with rewarding patience this is certainly going to be something amazing in 5 to 10 years. There’s a dark color in the glass and a black fruit profile in this 2015 Massale with blackberry, blueberry, black cherry and plum fruits along with hints of smoke, mineral, cedar, graphite, earth and dusty red spices. This vintage shows a dense concentration and vinous beauty, the mouth feel is nearly perfect and silken, while there is also a serious structure (grip) here that again reminds of me of Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges Vaucrains. This wine really is much improved with air and especially with robust cuisine that will take your mind of the barnyard funk. The contrast between the gorgeous fruit and complexity and the nose at this stage is striking, so I highly recommend resisting temptation and hide this bottle away for another few years if not a decade. Sadly I didn’t follow that and I can only hope to re-visit a bottle someday and see what comes.
The most rare and exclusive bottling in Cameron’s amazing lineup of Pinot Noir(s) is John Paul’s special “Massale” selection from his famed Clos Electrique Estate Vineyard in the Red Hills of Dundee. This bottling is from the mosaic of clones that were brought to California by Paul Masson, in the later part of the 19th century, a Burgundian, who sourced special cuttings and planted them on the hillside above Saratoga where he had his vineyard and winery until he sold it to Martin Ray in 1940. Ray himself had to sell the mountain winery to Seagrams in 1943 after running into financial trouble, but before Seagram’s took over him managed to take a collection of the treasured old clone and plant them higher up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, in a spot that is now Mount Eden, which saved these historic Pinot Noir clones, maybe some of the most important in the new world from extinction! About 30 something years ago, John Paul, realizing what this cuttings meant planted a plot of his Clos Electrique to them, from which, we are blessed, he makes this incredible and limited wine. In a great vintage like 2015, Cameron’s Massale is one of the rarest gets in the Oregon wine world and I am grateful beyond words to have been able to try this one, as I was only able to source just this one bottle, numbered 0066, and review it. Grown on red Jory soils from non-irrigated vines and treated like traditional Burgundy with a long elevation in French oak this Massale Pinot is Cameron’s secret reserve offering and has unique label and packaging with a wax capsule. Cameron’s latest set of wines, especially the 2017 vintage Pinots are incredible with the regional (Village) wines from Ribbon Ridge and Dundee Hills are fantastic values, so in case you can’t find this cuvee these are worthy of your attention.
($100 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive