Cristom Vineyards

Owner(s) Eileen Gerrie, Paul Gerrie
Web site www.cristomwines.com
 
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Cristom Vineyards

Cristom's founder and owner, Paul Gerrie, used his skills as a petroleum engineer and avid researcher to pursue his passion for wine. On his travels to France, he was introduced to the traditional growing practices of the Burgundy region. He learned that soil (terroir) and site were key in developing the complexity of the fruit.After a 1991 visit to the International Pinot Celebration in Oregon, Paul decided the time was right to leave the East Coast and bring his family and his passion for great Pinot Noir to Oregon's burgeoning wine country.

His dream could not be complete without a winemaker who shared Paul's vision of "letting the land make the wines." Enter Steve Doerner who, after a quarter century of experience, still believes the winemaker's job is to "optimize what nature — the vineyard — provides." In addition to his reputation as a master winemaker with "keen intuition" (possibly from his French heritage), Doerner is a biochemist by training. His passion for Pinot Noir was inspired by working at Calera Vineyards with owner Josh Jensen and studying under Jacques Seysses of Domaine Dujac in Burgundy. Doerner considers Jacques his mentor.

The engineer and biochemist set out to cultivate their vision in 1992, which today, can be seen in the eight distinct vineyards on Cristom's 65 acres in the Eola Hills of Oregon's Willamette Valley. The vineyards are planted to high density and yields are strictly reduced. The Pinot Noir vineyards (named after family members) include Marjorie (the original vineyard on the property when Gerrie purchased it in 1991 and the only vineyard on the estate planted on its own roots), Louise, Jessie, Eileen and Emile, and vineyard-designates are produced from each. There is also excellent blends including Mt Jefferson Cuvée, Sommer's Reserve (a blend of multiple blocks) and Signature Cuvée. The viticulturist is Mark Feltz.

These are outstanding Pinot Noirs with a Burgundian sensitivity. They are rather unique for Oregon by virtue of the use of whole cluster fermentation and age very well. Doerner is a minimalist, working with native yeasts, without a cold soak, filtration or settling, and minimal fining and racking. Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are also produced. Cristom releases several of their wines in half-bottles allowing for earlier consumption. There is good retail distribution. Total annual production is 10,000 cases, of which 75% is estate grown. A tasting room is open seasonally.

Reviewed Wines

2012 Cristom Eileen Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $58. Typically the most precocious of the four estate vineyard wines and often the first wine released to the market. This vineyard extends to the crest of the property exposing the vines to the last rays of sun and the first cooling breezes from the Pacific Ocean. Volcanic soils. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The seductive scents of dark berries, black cherries, rose petal and cardamon spice really get the juices flowing. It is challenging to adequately describe this nose since the aromas saturate the olfactory senses with so much whole cluster goodness. “Wow” might be the best descriptor. On entry, this wine delivers a charge of black raspberry fruit and exotic spices that really brings the palate to alert. This is a stunning wine with a silky texture, healthy young tannins, and a peacock finish that hangs on for at least a minute. There is some umami at work in this wine as well. Scary to think that this wine will be even better with more bottle age. Score: 96-97. Reviewed December 11, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 Cristom Jessie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $58. One of the steepest vineyard sites in the Willamette Valley. This wine is typically deep, dark and displays a tension between the fruit and structure. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Vibrant aromas of black cherry and Marionberry elevate over time in the glass. A wine that astonishes with a charge of cherry fruit that is pure and deeply flavored. The amazing spiced cherry essence caresses the palate and expands in the mouth, finishing with impressive length and a pleasing snap of acidity. This wine’s impeccable balance insures long term age ability. An exquisite wine that is fresh and vivid, and aims to please even at this young age. Score: 94-95. Reviewed December 11, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 Cristom Louise Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $58. This vineyard was the first established by Cristom. It is densely planted at 2300 vines per acre on the lower slopes of the property. Typically the last single vineyard to be released. More concentrated and dark fruited than other estate Pinot Noirs. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Very shy nose initially, offering more pleasure over time in the glass with aromas of cherry, rose petal, underbrush and vanilla. Gorgeous core of well-spiced black cherry fruit clothed in muscular tannins. There is amazing length on the generous finish which sports a refreshing spark of acidity. Still very young and tight, lacking Pinot delicacy, but suggesting a tremendous upside potential. Score: 92-93. Reviewed December 11, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 Cristom Marjorie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $58. The only original vineyard kept intact after the property was bought in 1992. The “prettiest” vineyard wine in the Cristom lineup that is usually elegant and spicy. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Aromas of dark cherry pie filling, marzipan, brandied raisin and baker’s yeast. Elegant flavors of black cherry, spice and floral nuance with a firm backing of tannin. Modest and seductive, very smooth on the palate, finishing with good persistence. Needs at least a year or two in bottle for full enjoyment. Score: 90-91. Reviewed December 11, 2014 ARTICLE »

2010 Cristom Mt. Jefferson Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $24.99. Unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry and red berry jam on toast with a hint of wood spice, fading over time in the glass. Light in weight with an appealing crispness, offering a core of red cherries partnering with a subtle note of dusty sage and other savory herbs. The gripping tannins are mildly astringent and overshadow the fruit. Decent. Reviewed May 11, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Cristom Marjorie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.59, 363 cases, $55. This vineyard was originally planted in 1982 and is one of the oldest vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, and home to some of the oldest vines on the Cristom estate. It is situated on a gently sloped east facing hillside between 480 and 615 feet above sea level. Named for owner Paul Gerrie’s mother, the first single vineyard estate Marjorie was released in 1994. The soil is primarily Jory in type. Phylloxera struck the vineyard in 2000, and beginning in 2007, replanting was initiated with Dijon clones 113, 115, 777, Pommard and Wädenswil grafted onto phylloxera-resistant rootstocks. The vineyard produces very small, concentrated clusters. Aged 17 months in 53% new Burgundian cooperage. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Bombastic and exotic aromas of red and black cherries, whole cluster spice and floral notes, smoky oak, incense and licorice. Delicious core of cherry fruits which are broad in the mouth and supported by integrated notes of spice, fennel, anise and mocha-laden oak. A special wine that is built for the long haul, with firm, fine-grain tannins, refreshing acidic verve and a lengthy finish of great energy. A whole cluster triumph that really impressed me. Score: 95. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2009 Cristom Eileen Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc.. A high percentage of whole cluster but not 100%. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Intoxicating aromas of dark cherries and berries with notes of exotic spices and bacon. Incredibly plush and velvety on the palate with a tasteful well-ripened dark fruit core, plenty of spice, and tame tannins. Outstanding. Reviewed July 21, 2013 ARTICLE »

2009 Cristom Mt Jefferson Cuvèe Oregon Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $27. Winemaker Steve Doerner is a master blender and this blend is always a dependable wine. Native yeasts, minimal handling, unfiltered. Always the first Cristom released each vintage, it is an early drinking wine of great value (often found discounted below the retail price). · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Plenty of whole cluster spice on the nose highlighting the strawberry and cherry fruit aromas. Discreetly concentrated flavors of darker red berries accented by hints of anise, earth, chocolate and oak. Juicy and crisp with some firm, dry tannins. Very approachable now, but will benefit from another year in bottle to soften the tannins and boost the charm. Very good. Reviewed November 2, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Cristom Mt. Jefferson Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.54, 5,936 cases, $30 (often discounted). From 12 vineyard sites in the Willamette Valley including 38% estate fruit. The first of the Cristom Pinot Noirs to be released each year. Produced at Cristom since 1994. It is named for Mt. Jefferson in the Cascade Range due east of Cristom and visible from the winery’s tasting room. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose offers aromas of attractively spiced dark red berries and cherries, broadening over time in the glass to even deeper autumnal notes of wet leaves and truffles. Moderately intense flavors of berry jam and Hoison sauce with hints of oak, anise, mushrooms and earth, nicely framed by firm, dry tannins and lifted by crisp acidity. A juicy wine that is easily drinkable now, but will benefit from a modest time in the cellar to further soften the tannins. Can work as an everyday drinker or can dress up the dinner table on a special occasion. Very good. Reviewed November 30, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Cristom Eileen Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $44. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Rich aromas of red berry jam and cherry leather which are long and persistent. Delicious array of perfectly ripe fruits including black cherries, black raspberries and plum with well-proportioned tannins. A touch of spice rounds out the appealing flavor profile. Darkest in color and the most endowed wine in this vintage lineup for Cristom, this is a beautifully composed and balanced wine. Reviewed May 11, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Cristom Jessie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $44. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with scents of black cherries and dark red raspberries with a hint of oak. A gentle, comforting style, with lighter weight flavors of cherry pie filling and a hint of charcoal and spice. Soft in the mouth with noticeable length on the finish. Very good. Reviewed May 11, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Cristom Louise Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $44. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark red fruits, forest, and wood shop rise from the glass. Tasty core of dark red cherries and berries with a hint of stem. Builds in intensity over time in the glass. Plenty of body and backbone, with a mild grip of tannin, this is a seamless wine that has a way to go before it reveals itself. Very good. Reviewed May 11, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Cristom Marjorie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $59. Planted on its own roots and the only vineyard resurrected rather than replanted when Gerrie obtained the property in 1992. 8-acres, 3 clones. Phylloxera has taken its toll so production is limited. 16th vintage. · Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. The nose is well-fruited, showing aromas of red cherries, strawberries and spice. An elegant, feminine wine that is flat-out delicious. Middleweight flavors of dark red cherries and red berries, accented by the slightest oak and spice, and robed in firm but silky tannins. Very soft like the hair of an angel. In short, a party of velvet-edged red fruits. Reviewed May 11, 2012 ARTICLE »

2008 Cristom Mt Jefferson Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $26. Always the first of Cristom’s Pinot Noir releases each vintage. · Moderately deep reddish-purple robe. Intoxicating aromas of dark berry tart and exotic baking spices. Delicious, crisp and juicy berry fruit set off by an intense spiciness that is something I love in Pinot Noir. Harmoniously crafted offering brisk acidity that lifts the refreshing finish. A beautiful wine that is fairly forward for an 08 and can be enjoyed now. Very good (+). Reviewed August 7, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Cristom Sommers Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.77, TA 0.55, 2,058 cases, $41. Fruit from four estate Pinot Noir vineyards (73%) combined with purchased fruit for a total of 14 vineyard sites and 7 Pinot Noir clones. First produced in 2004, ‘Sommers’ is Jessie’s (of Jessie Vineyard) maiden name. 47% whole clusters. Aged 17 months in 59% new oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Muted nose initially, opening slowly to reveal appealing aromas of red cherries and berries, fruitcake and spice. Light in weight and wanting a little in the attack and finish, the wine still has charm and reasonably good approachability. There are still prominent dry tannins that need time to recede. The wine gets better in the glass over time, picking up some flavor intensity, suggesting further cellaring is necessary. Good (+). Reviewed November 30, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 Cristom Eileen Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.82, TA 0.54, 659 cases, $50. Highest elevation and youngest of the estate Pinot Noir vineyards. Vines are planted at high density in primarily Jory soil. First of the estate vineyards to be farmed entirely by organic methods. 43% whole clusters. Native yeast exclusively. Aged 17 months in 59% new Burgundian oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Subdued and mysterious perfume of black fruits, spice and stem. Fresh and juicy on the palate with very impressive extraction and a prodigious tannic backbone. The flavors of fresh blackberries, Hoison sauce and Asian 5-spice are reserved and take a back seat to the tannins. Still, there is amazing grand cru quality persistence on the huge finish. Tremendous potential here but will take years to fulfill. Reviewed November 30, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 Cristom Jessie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.88, TA 0.54, 656 cases, $50. Steeply sloped vineyard planted to high density. Primarily Nekia soil of volcanic origin. Dijon 113, 114, 115, 667, 777 and Pommard clones. 44% whole clusters, native yeast used exclusively. Aged 17 months in 63% new Burgundian oak cooperage. · Medium reddish-purple robe in the glass. Aromas of jam on toast, woodshed and black cherry cola. Moderately extracted dark red and blue fruits with a touch of stem on the dry finish. The wine has a burly tannic backbone that is buffered by good acidity. Showing significant tannin and oak influence and reserved fruit now like so many young Pinot Noirs from Oregon’s 2008 vintage, several years will be needed for the wine to fully reveal its charms. Very good. Reviewed November 30, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 Cristom Louise Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.86, TA 0.56, 575 cases, $50. Lowest elevation hillside vineyard planted to high density of 2300 vines per acre. Pommard, 2A, 114, 115 and 777 clones. 42% whole cluster and 100% native yeast fermentations. Aged 18 months in 58% new Burgundian oak barrels. · Medium garnet color in the glass. Very alluring aromatics offering scents of fresh red berries, particularly strawberries, with hints of fruit and oak spice. Moderately robust on the palate with sweet flavors of dark red berries and cherries, well-mannered ripe tannins, and a very long finish imbued with dark red berries. The most upfront charm of all the 2008 single vineyard Pinot Noirs. My only nit is that a little alcohol shows up on the nose and finish. Very good. Reviewed November 30, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 Cristom Marjorie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.56, 440 cases, $65. Soils have highest percentage of Jory type compared to other estate vineyards. Pommard, Wädenswil, Dijon 114, 115 and 777 clones. 43% whole clusters. Native yeast fermentation in 1 to 5 ton open top fermenters. Aged 18 months in 67% new Burgundian oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. A well-composed wine with complex perfume of dark red raspberry jam and cherry compote with hints of oak, damp earth and baking spice. Very smooth on the palate with moderately intense flavors of dark red fruits and plum sauce. The high-quality fruit is wrapped in firm, dry tannins, the mouth feel is all silk and satin and there is a good cut of acidity on the finish. The wine is a bit drab at present and only time will tell what the ultimate outcome will be, but I suspect the result will be very gratifying. Very good. Reviewed November 30, 2011 ARTICLE »

2007 Cristom ¡Salud! Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., very limited production auction item. · Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. This wine is well-endowed with spice both in the aromatics and on the palate. The nose offers an interesting mix of red fruits, game and exotic woods. On the palate, lighter weighted flavors of red cherries have a slight green note in the background. The tannins are dusty and supple and there is a bright cut of acidity on the short finish. A delicate wine that is typical of the 2007 vintage in Oregon, showing subtle signs of unripeness. Still, a good quaff. Good (+). Reviewed November 30, 2011 ARTICLE »

2007 Cristom Salud Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 4 cases. This is a special bottling for the 2009 Salud Oregon Wine Auction. I bid and won a case of this wine. You can’t buy it! · Great scents of exotic Middle Eastern spice, cardamon and dark red fruits. Elegantly styled array of redder fruits that are nicely spiced. Bright and juicy with a big jolt of spiced cherry on the dry finish. Tantalizing like see-through lingerie. Crazy love. Reviewed January 22, 2010 ARTICLE »

2006 Cristom Eileen Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $24 (1/2 bottle). · A spicy, cherry driven wine that is alive with scent and flat out delicious. Very harmonious with faint oak influence, supple ripe tannins and a gentle texture. The best wine of many great wines in this lineup today. Reviewed December 17, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Cristom Mt. Jefferson Cuvee Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $24. Composed of fruit from the five estate vineyards and purchased grapes. · Demure scent of Bing cherry and oak spice. Delicious bright red fruits, especially red raspberry with a respectful hint of oak and stylish baking spices. Velvety in the mouth, clean, harmonious and perfectly balanced. Immensely satisfying and ready to drink now. You won’t find a better Oregon (or California, for that matter) Pinot Noir for $24. Reviewed September 15, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Cristom Sommers Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $38. · Shy and simple cherry aromas with a hint of newly mown grass. Sturdy cherry and strawberry fruit with sinew, nicely weighted and elegant, showing some dry but refined tannins and a touch of heat on the finish. Immature and a bit disjointed, give this wine a few years to fully integrate. Reviewed September 15, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Cristom Eileen Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $42. · Stunning scents of red Pinot fruits, particularly strawberry with a sidecar of oak. Beautifully composed demure cherry core which has unbelievable persistence. A creamy and seamless wine that is about as perfect as it gets. Reviewed September 15, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Cristom Jessie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $24 (375 ml). · Wonderfully scented with spiced cherries. Black cherries and black raspberries offer great purity of flavor. Graceful and supple, with a velvety texture and a pleasing and long dry finish. An impressive effort. Reviewed September 15, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Cristom Marjorie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $24 (375 ml). · The nose starts off with cherries and a hint of sage, cardamon, and char. With air, the aromas pick up intensity and fruitiness showing an intense cherry scent. A subtle and discreet wine strutting tasty black cherries, savory herbs, some earth and a hint of chocolate. A sensual creamy texture urges you to take another sip. Reviewed September 15, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Cristom Louise Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $48. Composed of five estate vineyards from the 65-acre estate in the Eola Hills. · Entry is different and interesting featuring baked cookies, pumpkin spice and black cherries. This Pinot is cherry fruit-driven with a subtle oak thread running throughout. Very appealing for its finesse and earthiness. Dare I say Burgundian? Reviewed January 30, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Cristom Eileen Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $65, sold out. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Terrific aromatics offering plenty of whole cluster spice, dark red fruits and a hint of brioche. Delicious array of dark red and black stone fruits impress the mid palate with verve and intensity. Nicely proportioned fine grain tannins and acidity with a silky texture and a finish redolent of cherry skins. Still coming around and has plenty of life ahead. Reviewed November 30, 2011 ARTICLE »

2004 Cristom Louise Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc. (14.5% on winery tech sheet), pH 3.77, TA 0.68, 583 cases, $65. 30% whole clusters, 100% native yeast fermentations. Aged 18 months in 63% French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Faint aromas of black cherries, spice, humus and herbal tea. Relatively light in weight with appealing flavors of cherries and raspberries with subtle notes of spice and earth. Soft, but evident tannins provide substance and the finish ends on a high note with well-honed aromatic red fruits. Should last another 5 to 10 years. Very good. Reviewed November 30, 2011 ARTICLE »

2000 Cristom Eileen Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $60, sold out. · Dark, inky in color in the glass. Brooding nose offering aromas of bramble, grass and earth. Rustic, loamy and brutish offering moderately intense dark berry fruits on the palate with very prominent oak tannins. Simply put, this wine offers little charm. Drink up. Decent. Reviewed November 30, 2011 ARTICLE »