2017 Amplify Carignane Camp Four Vineyard
Region: Santa Barbara County < CA
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming (practicing); gravely loam soils; foot-crushed whole-cluster on the bottom, layering uncrushed whole-cluster on top, creating a mixture of regular and carbonic fermentation, then pressed off after 12 days; completes primary/secondary fermentations in neutral barrel and ages in barrel for an additional 5 months before being bottled unfined/unfiltered with 10ppm SO2
Winemaker: Cameron and Marlen Porter
I had the pleasure of visiting Cameron Porter last summer at his production facility in Santa Maria, tasting his wines at the source – and was seriously blown away. Cam and his wife Marlen are making some of the best natural wines in Santa Barbara County under their brand, Amplify, working thoughtfully and respectfully, rather than dogmatically. Cam explains, “I don’t consider what we do non-interventionist. For me, it’s like any other piece of artwork. You start with this block of clay and shape it into something. So, we’re maybe not intervening by adding yeast, acid, etc., but we are very clear about the direction we are taking these wines. We approach each vineyard, asking, “What does this want to be?” Though they’ve been at it since 2013, they still hold down full-time day jobs in the wine biz, focusing on Amplify every day before and after work, every day off, and hand-bottling/labeling all 550 cases. The Camp 4 vineyard, located on the eastern end of Santa Ynez Valley, in the sub-AVA known as the Los Olivos, is owned by the Chumash band of Native Americans, which Cam believes contributes to the incredible energy he feels there. He was inspired to work with Carignane by his love of wines from the Roussillon, of which his 2017 Carignane reminds him. It was a cooler vintage, so they didn’t pick until September and let the fermentation go longer, hence the darker color and stemmy spiciness, with bright, lifted fruit and low tannins from the carbo treatment. Ultimately, though, says, Cam, it tastes like it came from California, more specifically Camp 4 vineyard, and that has always been the end goal. We love the bright and juicy red fruit and spice that seems to soar in your mouth. Fab with a little chill.