2018 Cameron Winery, Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge AVA, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
The incredibly dark 2018 Ribbon Ridge Pinot is a thrilling wine with gorgeous fruit and complexity with a silky mouth feel, but firmly layered with great balance and structure showing loads of black cherry, vine picked wild berries and crushed violets along with delicate smoky notes. This 2018 is exceptional from start to finish adding mineral elements and a stony/savory contrast to the beautifully pure Pinot fruit. This wine really makes an impact on the medium bodied palate and is an outrageous value, it drinks fabulous now and is very likely only going to get better with a few more years in bottle. The Ribbon Ridge, is very different from his Dundee Hills version, showing its terroir and darker fruit profile, which is provided by the appellation’s Marine Sedimentary soils. The grapes for this wine are sourced from two sites, the Foster Farms Vineyard and the Armstrong Vineyard, grown without irrigation as Paul believes it is crucial for concentration and full flavor development, with both vineyards farmed with sustainable methods and highlight the Ribbon Ridge AVA’s characteristics. John Paul explains, that fruit from Ribbon Ridge is always intense, deeply hued, perfumed with loads of sexy black fruit, making the wines, like this one, bold and with a gripping personality. I absolutely love this vintage, its power and elegance reminds me of some of my favorite Cote de Nuits, Burgundy fans will love this stuff, especially those that go for Vosne-Romanee.

The winemaking at Cameron is traditional Burgundy in style with John Paul crafting his wines with native yeasts used for primary fermentation(s) and long elevage(s), usually between 18 and 20 months (or more) in barrique, that are seasoned with a couple of fills. Paul is very particular about his oak and his choice of barrels, saying it is crucial to the quality of the final product to have the right selection of wood. Paul also notes, that for both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, he usually selects his favorite artisan barrels that from a cooper he discovered while in Burgundy, who lives in the village of Saint Romain in Burgundy. His barrel maker Claude Gillet, together with his children and several master coopers turn out some of the most distinct barriques Paul has ever seen and Claude and his son, Laurent, often visit Joh Paul to taste the wines in barrel and make their recommendations for choice of forest, toast level and all of the other minutia that go into making an oak barrel flatters Cameron’s style. As mentioned in prior reviews, Paul believes that barrels reach their perfection only after a couple vintages, so prefers to use used wood that has at least two or three fills which allows his wine to show their true depth and detail without overt oak influence. As this 2018 opens it sheds a slightly reductive (truffle) earthiness allowing the floral dimension to be a lovely focal point and the density of fruit to shine, it is a wine that benefits from matching cuisine and patience, a slow meal will bring out the best in this seductive Pinot. What a bargain, there are very few Pinots that reach this level of quality for the price, I highly recommend stocking up on these Cameron 2018s.
($30 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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