From: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Taste: The 2021 Dundee Pinot Noir reveals its warm vintage origins with a deep, intense ruby appearance that promises a high skin-to-juice ratio. The nose is an intriguing mix of elements: the foremost being ripe, even slightly stewed, bing cherry complemented by a cocoa nib base note and accented by straw, sandalwood, Turkish fig, iodine, and boysenberry. Ferrous, almost reminiscent of blood, it surprises with a back note of sage and, intriguingly, nasturtium.
On the palate, the wine continues the cherry theme but also introduces a newfound levity. It leans into a ripened hood strawberry flavor, reminiscent of ripe jam fireworks on the tongue. Adding to this are complex notes of leather, candied orange rind, and lavender. Soft tannins roll across the tongue in a delightfully smooth procession.
Pairing: The versatility of Oregon Pinot Noir, especially this 2021 Dundee vintage, calls for straightforward pairings. Its higher acidity is a perfect match for meats with a degree of fat. The lingering taste of fat from game birds, like duck or even elk, mingles beautifully with the acidity of the wine. Pinot Noir's exceptional quality in drawing out the textural qualities of food makes it an outstanding partner for a wide range of dishes. For an extra touch of culinary finesse, incorporate Pinot Noir into your sauces, a strategy that will bring flavors closer together. David Tanis' recipe for Duck With Cherries and Red Wine Vinegar would be excellent.
About this wine. The roots of this exceptional 2021 Dundee Pinot Noir lie deep within the vineyards of Abbey Ridge, Cameron's oldest, and high in the Dundee Hills at an elevation range of 500-700 feet. Planted in 1976, the vines are some of Oregon's most seasoned, producing the grapes that form the basis for Cameron's finest wines. An additional hillside, planted in 1984 with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, adds to the Dundee Hills cuvées, the base for this 2021 vintage. The vineyards manifest the winery's philosophy of a self-contained order, requiring only sunlight and precipitation to thrive.
About the winery. When wine insiders are discussing the great winemakers of Oregon, John Paul Cameron comes up in hushed and reverent tones. He, along with his Cameron Winery are living legends, yet few, besides the geekiest of Pinot-philes, have heard of him outside of Oregon. This is in no doubt due to his limited production, about 4000 cases annually, most of it consumed in Portland.
Established in 1984, Cameron is committed to producing wines that express terroir that is truly Oregonian. As a founding member of the Deep Roots Coalition, an organization that believes irrigation stands in the way of terroir, their vines are not irrigated; instead they're allowed to dig deep into the soils to find water in some of the best sites in the Willamette Valley.
This commitment to biodiversity is reflected in winemaker John Paul’s vineyards: multiple clones of the same grape are planted in each plot, and throughout the vineyard you’ll find bees pollinating the cover crops that grow between the vines. That vital force is directly reflected in the wines.
Contributing further to their commitment to sustainable farming, the vineyards are also home to cats, goats, and geese, all of whom play an important role, from eating rogue berries that may compete with resources to chasing away vermin, allowing the team at Cameron to eschew the use of certain sprays.
John Paul’s fanatical commitment to organic farming and hands-off winemaking ensures that he’s among the standard bearers for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, not just in the Willamette Valley, but also for the rest of the United States.
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