Heirloom Cameo is our barrel fermented Chardonnay. Or as Dena would explain it: “This wine wraps you in an elegant silk scarf and instantly makes you feel really good - about being you.”
The wine was fermented in a single large format French oak barrel or “puncheon.” The goal of this fermentation is to enhance the breadth and depth of the wine through contact with oak and extended yeast or “lees” aging.
Stylistically, this wine is made to be enjoyed throughout its time in bottle. Upon release the wine is fresh with pungent aromas and a broad mouth feel, followed by a crisp and satisfying finish. We expect this wine to age gracefully for several years and will reward a laddered approach to monitoring its development.
The Chardonnay for this wine is estate grown in 1 small block. The blend is about half Dijon clone 76 and half Dijon clone 95. This block was hand harvested on October 29th and thanks to a cold cellar, completed primary fermentation the following spring.
The Vintage: From the “everything you could ask for, and more vintage,” 2013 has something for everyone. We begin with a very nice, if not warm, growing season. The humans like this and the vines have a tendency to get ahead of themselves. They go merrily along their way building up sugars and, like Congress, leave the hard work of developing a (flavor) plan for later.
Well, we can’t have that. Just before an early and stress free harvest, in rolled a little “Mamma Drama” and her new boy toy Typhoon Pabuk. When it rains it pours and we received the gift of 9 inches of rain in late September. This is good for the blogosphere as it provided a little grist for the mill. We couldn’t harvest, so might just as well talk about it.
The good news is that the month we really need to grow great wine is October. The rains blew out of town, the sun reappeared and the breezes picked up. This was all very well and good for the Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Viognier and we had a very successful harvest.
The Chardonnay, however, took some casualties. Our nemesis Botrytis gained a foothold after the September rains and began its cycle of extracting the water from the berries. Well, ho ho ho, and off we go, it turns out with the sunny dry weather what we had was a little Noble Rot. So, Ernie made a “sticky” from that once in a lifetime event with the help of his friend and conspiring winemaker Dick Erath.
You can read the full Harvest After Action Report (AAR) at: www.amalierobert.blogspot.com
Tasting Notes: Lemon Chiffon radiates essence while a choreographed profusion of star fruit, guava, passion fruit, pineapple, Meyer lemon and lime zest relentlessly tease. Articulate, deft and precise palate presence reveals a mutually exclusive yet collectively exhaustive kaleidoscopic array of flavors and textures providing an intimation of a voluptuous form as if silk veiled in afterglow. A purposefully and intentioned finish lingers longingly.
Culinary Inclinations: Salt encrusted Dorado or Branzino, with garlic sautéed brocolini, grilled prosciutto wrapped purple asparagus and a jicama and fennel slaw topped with curried vinaigrette.
Heirloom Cameo Accolades:
2013 Heirloom Cameo
Light green-tinged yellow. Musky citrus pith orchard fruits and honey on the assertively perfumed nose; hints of toasted brioche and vanilla emerge with air. Juicy and expansive on the palate offering smoke-tinged poached pear Meyer lemon and candied ginger flavors that tighten up slowly on the back half. Finishes on a zesty orange note displaying very good toasty persistence and a lingering suggestion of honeysuckle.
- Josh Raynolds, Vinous, January 2017 - 91 points
Estate grown and bottled. Dijon clones 76 and 95. Barrel fermented in a single French oak puncheon. Moderately light golden straw color in the glass. The nose is replete with aromas of lemon rind, apple and prickly pear. Both saline and earth charged, with primary flavors of lemon, pineapple, melon and subtle oak. Not a mainstream flavor profile and very individualistic, finishing with some length. Could be highly desirable or just unusual depending on your viewpoint, but in any case the wine is well composed.
- William "Rusty" Gaffney, M.D., PinotFile, September 2016 - 90 points
- The Wine Advocate, July 2016 - 91 points
2012 Heirloom Cameo
50 shades of Alabaster. Scintillating aromas of Meyer lemon zest, purple passion fruit and carambola sheathed in a suggestion of five spice and pheromone provide intrigue. The deftly balanced palate is silky chiffon with latent acidity providing a gentle lift, all the while the effortlessly evolving textures and aromas vex. The enduring finish echoes the virtue of presence without weight. 70 cases produced.
- Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes
Bright gold. Deep-pitched aromas of ripe orchard and pit fruits complicated by suggestions of honey and almond paste. Broad and fleshy but animated on the palate offering fleshy nectarine and pear nectar flavors and hints of candied ginger vanilla and buttered toast. Finishes smooth broad and long delivering a repeating ginger flourish and strong cut.
- Josh Raynolds, Vinous, January 2017 - 90 points
This barrel-fermented, estate-grown wine matches its luscious citrus and pineapple fruit to veins of butter, caramel and toast. It’s perfectly balanced, lively and fresh, even after being open for a full 24 hours. The style, now becoming particular to many Oregon Chardonnays, sits squarely on the fence between the hyper-lushness of California and the minerality of northern Burgundies.
- Wine Enthusiast, June 2015 - 92 points
The 2012 Chardonnay Heirloom Cameo is whole-cluster pressed and fermented in 500-liter puncheons and underwent partial malo before maturation in barrel without lees-stirring for 14 months. It has an attractive bouquet with citrus lemon, candied orange peel and yellow flowers that is nicely defined and neatly integrated the oak. The palate is medium-bodied with quite a rich and generous entry, waxy in texture with touches of toffee apple and shaved almond on the finish. This is a very well-crafted Chardonnay packed full of flavor. Only 70 cases produced.
- The Wine Advocate, March 2015 - 90 points
2011 Heirloom Cameo
Canary diamond yellow introduces supple aromas of seared pineapple, Meyer lemon zest and Easter lily. The mid-palate is focused and controlled as if ensconced in silk stockings, while layers of flavors and textures transcend minerality preserved by cleansing acidity. 75 cases produced.
- Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes
The 2011 Chardonnay Heirloom Cameo is the second vintage released, whole-cluster pressed and fermented in a 500-liter puncheon with batonnage. Unlike the 1012, this went through full malolactic. It has a paler color than the 2012, but perhaps greater delineation and precision on the nose with citrus peel, honeysuckle and juniper berries. The palate is well defined with crisp acidity, touches of almond and toffee apple, the leesy element coming through subtly on the persistent finish. Low key now, but I bet you this ages with a little more panache than the more outgoing 2012. We’ll see!
- The Wine Advocate, March 2015 - 91 points
2009 Heirloom Cameo
Understated pale yellow surprises with strong aromas of cherry orchard bloom, orange marmalade, cleaved pineapple, freshly cut Champagne mango, and Meyer lemon curd. The palate sensation is broad and textured with an expansive progression and delineated finish of crisp and echoing acidity. 80 cases produced.
- Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes
A flinty scent of seashells enlivens golden delicious apple aromas in this lean, bequiling white. It has a voluptuous texture, with juicy pear flavors supported by a clean mineral line. That mineral foundation focuses it through long finish. For roast cod.
- Wine & Spirits, October 2011 – 93 points, Year’s Best Chardonnay article
Lush and toasty, this barrel-fermented Chardonnay offers an explosion of semi-tropical fruits that coat the tongue without tiring the palate. Almost Rhône-like—it could pass for a Roussanne in a blind tasting—it’s exotic and complex.
- Wine Enthusiast, December 2011 - 92 points
Light straw color and clear in the glass. Enticing aromas of white peaches, lemon curd, white pears and buttery oak. Delicious and juicy array of white peach, Asian pear, baked apple and pineapple flavors, honed with just the right amount of mineral-driven acidity for brightness, and offering a silky mouth feel that excites the senses. A classic, and maybe the best Oregon Chardonnay I have ever had. Exceptional rating.
- PinotFile, November 2011, Exceptional rating
The Heirloom Cameo may be the best New World Chardonnay I have ever tasted!
- Dennis Sienko – Bend Wine Cellar, May 2011
Heirloom Cameo Chardonnay