Friday Feature 12-6-13: Cameron Winery, Oregon USA

Hello and Happy Friday!


We hope you are having a great holiday season!


Last night was the first of three sold-out Champagne tastings at our store.  We are tasting 40+ different Champagnes over these nights.


Needless to say, we are well-versed, and well-stocked when it comes to one of the greatest wine regions in the world – Champagne!


Keep us in mind for your Champagne needs this holiday season – not to mention any gifts for family, friends or clients.




Today’s newsletter is a long time in the making.


Many of you know that Craig lived in Oregon for 10 years, attending the University of Oregon, and living in Portland after school.


He misses some things about Oregon: his friends, the food scene, hippies, the amazing dive bars, but most importantly the wines of Cameron Winery.


You see, we are fortunate in Chicago, to get many of the top producers such as Cristom, Matello, and Belle Pente.  Yet something was missing.


What was missing was Craig’s favorite producer of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Oregon: John Paul from Cameron Wines.


For years, since his departure from the state, he has begged and pleaded with John Paul to give him a tiny allocation, just a few cases, knowing that he always has a difficult time meeting demand for his always-sold-out wines.


John Paul, said no many times, over many years, but finally Craig was rewarded with a small allocation to offer to you, our customers.


So with this newsletter we are very excited to be the only purveyor of Cameron Wines in the State of Illinois.


This collection of Pinot Noir’s being offered today are truly spectacular and we urge you to discover Oregon’s finest!


Have a great weekend,

Craig & Sheb


Cameron Winery


We want to keep this newsletter relatively short, but just a few words on our love affair with these wines.


It’s a slippery slope to say something is the best, but for Craig, the wines of Cameron are just that, the most exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay produced in Oregon, in particular if you crave a cool-climate style.


Style is an important word to talk about, because while most producers in Oregon talk about the concept of terroir, their methods can erase their original intention.


John Paul, owner and winemaker of Cameron Winery is a farmer first.  And the Cameron ecosystem is the driving force.


To quote their website “All of our vineyards are grown with utmost respect for the environment and with the thought in mind that these vines will continue to nourish our children and their children and their children for many generations to come. To that end we do not spray any nasty petrochemicals on our vines nor do we support the world vision of Monsanto. Instead we prefer a world with goats, chickens, geese, honey bees and healthy kids… and we have all of these and more at Cameron Winery.”


This is a philosophy that we can stand behind!


There is a ton of information on the Cameron website, but also a really good video of John Paul here.  Check these out so you can get a great feel for what he and his team having been doing for 30 years!


These wines are for you if:

  1. Cool-climate Pinot Noir is your thing, whether that be from Burgundy, Oregon, or other magical locations around the world.
  2. Light color doesn’t bother you.  These wines aren’t about color extraction, rather aromatics and elegance.
  3. You yearn for the days of lower alcohol, realizing that a truly balanced wine often times doesn’t come in a 15% package.  The wines featured today are 12.1%, 12.5%, and 12.2% respectively.
  4. You have patience.  Let’s just say none of thesewines taste bad today – heck, we have popped open each and enjoyed them immensely.  But given due time, those who cellar will be greatly rewarded with incredibly aromatics and great complexity of flavors.

Below we offer our allocation of three Pinot Noir’s from Cameron.  We have included a little blurb from the Cameron website about each wine, along with our own notes.


With such a limited allocation, I do expect the wines to sell out rather quickly!


Pinot Noir fans – please do yourself a favor and buy these, you won’t be disappointed!


2011 Cameron “Arley’s Leap” Pinot Noir


“This block of grapes is located right next to the 30 year-old vines that go into the Abbey Ridge designate. It was a favorite haunt of dear, old departed Arley and so rightfully bears his name. A few more gnarly low tones accent other aromas typical of Abbey Ridge.”


This is the most accessible Pinot of the three offered on today’s newsletter.  This packs a lot of aroma and flavor – notes of bright cherry and flowers on the nose, lead into a mineral, earthy, red-fruit dominated palate.  It is really high-toned and refreshing.  Shades of white wine, in a red winepackage.  Absolutely delicious juice!


Drink now through 2018.





2011 Cameron “Clos Electrique” Rouge (Pinot Noir)


“The estate vineyard consists of 10 different clones of Pinot noir on a mere 2 acres (less than 1 hectare) of land. The yields are always extremely small averaging between 0.5 and 1.5 tons per acre (that is less than 20 hl/ha). This wine is typically gnarly and intense, changing constantly in the glass and has fooled many wine-lovers into declaring it to be an old worldwine.”


This is one of the top two wines of Cameron, with Abbey Ridge being the other.  The site is a earlier ripening, warmer site compared with Abbey Ridge.


This is a really impressive vintage for Clos Electrique!  Of the three Pinot’s you can really feel a richer texture, yet without overripe notes.  This still has the trade mark high-toned red berry notes on the nose and palate, with a pepper note and herbs adding to the complexity.  This is going to be fun to taste its evolution.


Drink now, but will benefit by being aged drinking best from 2016-2022+.





2011 Cameron “Abbey Ridge” Pinot Noir


“Year after year Abbey Ridge produces some of the best Pinot noir in Oregon. It is not the richest or the ripest but it is clearly one of the most elegant sites in the state. Most vintages cast forth an initial fragrance of rose petals followed by lavender and rosemary (note that the Chardonnay from the same block has similar scents…terroir is real!). Abbey Ridge always starts subtly in the front of the mouth and builds to a crescendo on the far back of the palate.”


A stunner!  The aromatics on this are incredibly beautiful even at this early stage.  Notes of wild strawberry, lavender and spice lead into a palate that has a good mineral core, with sour cherry, mushroom and spice flavors.  This really lingers on the palate, and has such great balance.


Abbey Ridge Pinot will stand the test of time, so have a bottle now, and age this through 2022+.


This is truly exceptional Pinot Noir!



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