Author Archive

A Wee Rant About “Natural Wines”

I am a bit perplexed by the popularity of a relatively new genre of wine: “Natural Wines”. In my opinion, this is a narrow and arbitrary classification meant to suit the marketing needs of whoever is using it. When I see a cloudy wine and am told “Oh this is a natural wine”, I am compelled to retort “I can’t think of anything more natural than gravity…maybe the winemaker should have waited to rack his wine for bottling!” And when one encounters a wine which is either oxidized or smells of fingernail polish remover or has been brutalized by a lactic acid bacteria infection, sure these are “natural processes” but they also emanate from poor winemaking practices.

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Water Stress in Oregon!?

2016 was an extremely dry and warm vintage. Because of water stress, the berries were smaller and crop smaller than usual. However, a beneficient rain in early September re-hydrated the fruit and the result is a cellar of very concentrated and wonderfully balanced wines. Get ready for a brilliant 2016 vintage of small production down the road!

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Arrivederci Dear Guido

Guido, our 18 year old Tuxedoed cat, quietly passed away on August 18. For 17 vintages, Guido was our constant companion in the cellar, in the vineyard, in the yurt.

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Green is the new Noir

Green-cropping (selectively thinning excess fruit before it ripens) is the height of fashion amongst those seeking to make stellar wines. Though it takes courage to drop beautiful clusters on the ground, at Cameron virtually every year requires a bit of crop adjustment to make the best wine possible.

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What’s a Brix?

Measuring Brix isn’t just important for winemaking. The consistency and quality of premium canned tomatoes (such as San Marzano) relies on careful measurement of the Brix of tomatoes at harvest (to determine ripeness) and in the final product (to determine sweetness and thickness). Here we proudly present “What’s a Brix?”, written by my wife Teri, and featured on page 67 Ken Forkish’s fabulous new book, The Elements of Pizza.

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The Clones of Clos Electrique

The remarkable wines produced from the Clos Electrique terrior owe their unique qualities to amazing clones of Pinot noir that I collected and planted in the Dundee Hills in 1984. This writing is an homage to the pioneering efforts of early winemaking pioneers Paul Masson and Martin Ray as well as succeeding generations of Californians who kept alive the Burgundian Pinot noir clones and the stories about them.

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Why Donald Trump Hates Oregon Pinot noir

It has come to our attention than Donald Trump vociferously denounced Oregon Pinot noir at a recent campaign rally. We sent our team of crack reporters out to garner the details.

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The 2013 vintage saved… by a website

In the fall, as grape clusters are nearing their state of perfection, it is rain and the temperature associated with it that I keep a vigilant eye on. Depending on the year, “the ripe zone” for Pinot noir can range from several days to 2 weeks. In the latter part of September 2013, The University of Washington Department of Meteorology predicted a major storm rolling into Oregon. Thanks to a heads up from their website, we scheduled picking for 5 consecutive days, and brought our grapes in just before several inches of warm rain nearly destroyed the 2013 crop.

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Dry Farming in a Hot, Dry Year

The growing season for 2015 was the hottest and driest on record, yet because grape vines are actually quite hardy and adapt readily to harsh conditions, our dry farmed grapes fared just fine.

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Send in the Clones!

The next time that you are wondering why one vineyard produces lofty mind boggling wines and another right near it does not, consider the clones!
In Burgundy, the most famous vineyards are composed of an enormous number of different clones within the same small plot of land. The idea, worked out over centuries, is that a vineyard which possesses the most genetic variation will produce wines of the greatest complexity.
Fortunately many of the old clones brought to California by pioneer grape growers still persist in select vineyards across California and Oregon.

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