Ridgecrest Vineyards Gamay Noir 2018
Willamette Valley, Oregon
If you're a fan of Willamette Valley wine, you have the pioneering estate of Ridgecrest and their famed Ribbon Ridge Winery to thank.
Their story begins forty-one years ago, when Harry Peterson-Nedry purchased a plot of land in Ribbon Ridge, which was then the furthest anyone had dared to venture in the cold, foggy western edge of the Willamette Valley. It took another twenty-five years before this area was officially recognized as the Ribbon Ridge AVA, a subregion of Willamette Valley and the smallest in the state. Incredible foresight!
Inspired by southern Burgundy, the spiritual home of the noble Gamay grape, these vines of Gamay are some of the oldest in Willamette Valley, planted in 1985 and ungrafted, which to the wine geek like me represents a rare, amazing feat. Special vines indeed.
With its abundance of delicate aromatics and elegant fruit, Gamay Noir has striking resemblances to Pinot Noir. Here, it takes a decidedly more "plummy" turn. In characteristic fashion it shows a bounty of purple flowers, blueberry, delicate peppery spice, violet-laced perfume, and a hint of roasted coffee bean. The palate is bright, juicy, and light, with a hint of velvety tannins and a soft finish. In Nedry's words, like " biting a fresh, ripe, dusty plum." Put a slight chill on it, throw it in your backpack and it'll make a perfect companion to outdoor adventures – screwcap and all!
The talented Wynne Peterson-Nedry, Harry's daughter and head winemaker, crafts this perfumed and all-too-drinkable Gamay. Numerous accolades precede her: From working in some of the best vineyards in both hemispheres to attaining her Master's in Oenology from U.C. Davis, the talent shows across all the wines she makes, following in her father's footsteps.
Ridgecrest takes their farming and environmental impact seriously; everything is organic, and their vineyards are salmon-safe and L.I.V.E. Certified (Low Input Viticulture & Enology). Their professional vineyard-management team specializes in such practices and it's salient to note their workers are all paid living wages. This estate is the embodiment of sustainable, and this Gamay is just a delicious red through-and-through. Doug Wilder, the respected wine writer, declaims "Wines like this represent the small joys of my work." 'Nuff said!