2015 Cameron Winery, Riserva Nebbiolo, White Oak Vineyard, Ribbon Ridge AVA, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Eerily similar to its cousins in Barolo, this 2015 Riserva Nebbiolo shows off a powerful core of tarry red fruits, mineral tones, leather, licorice and cedary wood notes, blossoming in the glass with rustic charms and a garnet hue that has brickish red/orange edges and delicate florals on the nose, lingering on with reduced cherry, damson plum and lavender herbal notes. This wine makes a serious impression and its savory elements and drying tannins definitely make it impossible not to think of the old world and it is best to enjoy it with food. Cameron’s rare Willamette Valley Riserva Nebbiolo comes from this tiny White Oak Vineyard (less than 2 acres) in the Ribbon Ridge AVA that is lovingly farmed by famed cider apple grower Alan Foster, who does a small section of Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir that Cameron covets. Because the soil at this property is so reminiscent of Montforte in the Barolo, according to Carmeron, area of Piedmont, Italy, Alan planted Nebbiolo the here in 2006 and its has shown great promise and potential, so much so I would pay nearly a $100 for this incredibly rare and limited wine, when I can find it. Going on, winemaker and Oregon legend, John Paul, says that the fruit from Ribbon Ridge, in particular here at Foster’s White Oak Vineyard, is always intense with loads of structure, which I can confirm, having tasted many a wine from Cameron over the years and especially here in his Nebbiolo. The winemaking for the Nebbiolo is traditional with a gentle handling of the grapes, which are 100% de-stemmed and cold macerated with fermentations most often done in small bins and then aged in carefully selected and mainly used barriques with close to two years in wood and then two years rested in bottle before release, all to soften the blow of tannin and allow mature flavors to start developing, to capture the varietal’s gripping personality.

Famous for Burgundian Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Carmeron is one of the top names to look for in Oregon wine, will their Dundee Hills bottlings being some of the most iconic wines of the last quarter of a century here in the state. John Paul, the Piedmonte and Italian wine lover and winemaker here at Cameron, says his Riserva Nebbiolo is a wine he produces only during the best years for Nebbiolo here in the Willamette Valley. The Csameron Riserva Nebbiolo, Paul conitues, emanates from the perfect site for growing Nebbiolo in Oregon, the marine sedimentary soil of the White Oak Vineyard, which unlike his Clos Electrique Vineyard is in Ribbon Ridge instead of the red hills of Dundee that has the Jory volcanic soils. John Paul explains, that in most years his Nebbiolos are reminiscent of Ghemme or Gattinara, in the Alto Piedmonte, but the 2015 is denser and more Barolo inspired, hence becoming a Riserva. Like the real deal, this Carmeron version, receives a minimum of four years total aging. The label represents the native to the Willamette Valley, Oregon White Oak, with an artist take of the leaves of this tree and captures the sense of this vineyard after which it is named. Cameron always strives to produce red and white wines of moderate alcohol content, with maybe the exception of the Nebbiolo, though this one came in at just 13%, even in a warmer vintage. The Cameroni (Italian inspired) white wines typically finish between 12.0 and 12.8% alcohol and the Pinot and Chards usually end up well under 14%, most years see just about 13%, as Cameron tries hard to find the perfect balance between ripe fruit and graceful acidity. You’ll notice the young wines show a touch of reductive funk, this does blow up, but decanting and time provides greater and greater rewards here, especially with the Dundee Pinots. Besides Nebbiolo, John Paul (Cameron) does an intriguing set of Italian inspired whites and two very different skin contact Pinot Gris (Grigio) offerings, all of which I highly recommend looking for and or get on the winery mailing list.
($100 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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