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|Owner(s)||Ernst Loosen, Jay Somers|
|Link to this site|
Jay Somers began as a master brewer at McMenamins pub, apprenticed with John Paul at Cameron Winery, and then launched his own label, J. Christopher Wines, specializing in Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
He has formed a partnership with Dr. Ernst Loosen of Dr. Loosen and J.L. Wolf in Germany called Appassionata. Ernst began producing Pinot Noir at his J. L. Wolf Estate in 1996, the same year Somers launched his own winery in Oregon. The collaboration is aimed at producing Pinot Noirs that combine the best ideas of the Old and New Worlds. Appassionata is a limited production Pinot Noir from Oregon's Willamette Valley, first released with the 2006 vintage (Appassionata was produced in 2005, but not released) sourced from Dundee Hills vinehyards. Eventually, the goal is to use primarily estate grown fruit for Appassionata. In early 2010, Loosen and Somers began construction on a new J. Christopher Winery on Chehalem Mountain in Newberg, Oregon. The first block of Appassionata Vineyard was planted in the spring of 2010 and the first harvest from the site was 2014 (50 cases of Pinot Noir).
Somers has long term contracts in the Dundee Hills, Chehalem Mountains and Eola-Amity Hills. He produces both single-vineyard and appellation-designated wines. Total annual production is 10,000 cases, of which 45% is estate grown.
The wines are sold through retail channels (see website).
2017 J. Christopher Medici Vineyard Old Vine Cuvée Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $60. Unfiltered. · Light garnet color in the glass. Expressive aromas of red cherry, cranberry, and oak vanillin. Light to mid-weight in style, with a dramatic blast of cherry fruit on entry. Long in the mouth and finish that is alive with cherry flavor. Very giving, with suave tannins, impeccable balance and a hint of complimentary oak. Score: 94. Reviewed May 30, 2022 ARTICLE »
2011 J. Christopher Croft Vineyard Willamette Valley Sauvignon Blanc
13.0% alc., 100 cases, $25. Coolfermented in stainless steel, no MLF. · Aromas of citrus, grass and resin. A bit steely on the palate with citrus and passion fruit flavors, finishing with a lemony flourish. Decent. Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »
2011 J. Christopher Croft Vineyard Uber Sauvignon Willamette Valley Sauvignon Blanc
13.0% alc., $35. Aged in Acacia wood for 8 months. · An interesting offering that is less grassy than the regular Croft Vineyard bottling, offering a pleasing fullness and interesting tannin interplay, finishing with a bracing cut of lemon-driven acidity. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine and bought a bottle to play with at home. Very good. Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »
2010 J. Christopher Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
2,100 cases, $26. Sourced from four Willamette Valley AVAs. Native yeast fermentations and up to 18 months in barrel. · Fresh, light, and easy to drink, featuring red fruits with an herbal undertone. Supple tannins and lively acidity. Decent. Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »
2010 J. Christopher “Lumiere” Eola-Amity Hills Terroir Series Pinot Noir
170 cases, $35. Sourced from two small vineyards, Dubay and Three Angels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Black raspberries and blackberries are featured clothed in firm, muscular tannins. Good. Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »
2010 J. Christopher “Nuages” Chehalem Mountains Terroir Series Pinot Noir
335 cases, $35. A tribute to Django Rheinhart’s “Nuages,” one of Jay’s favorite gypsy jazz tunes. Sourced from Adams, Lia’s and Olenik vineyards located nearby in the Chehalem Mountains. · Light reddish-purple color in the glass. Impressive thrust of mountain raspberry flavor caressed by mild, grippy tannins. A delicious wine with vibrant fruitiness that finishes on a refreshing, acid-driven note. Very good. Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »
2010 J. Christopher Dundee Hills Cuvée Terroir Series Pinot Noir
275 cases, $35. A blend of selected barrels from several vineyards (Bella Vida, Baptista Maresh, Charlie’s, Abbey Ridge and Le Pavillon). · Moderately rich dark red cherry and plum aromas and flavors, framed by juicy acidity and supple tannins. Good (+). Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »
2010 J. Christopher Nuages Chehalem Mountains Williamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., 375 cases, $35. Unfiltered. Named in tribute to one of winemaker and guitarist Jay Christopher’s favorite gypsy jazz tunes. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of red berries, dark cherries, hard red candy and the slightest smoky oak. Easy to like with a discrete concentration of dark red fruits wrapped in mild fine-grain tannins and well-integrated acidity. A touch of earthiness, herbs and oak adds interest. Good. Reviewed November 24, 2012 ARTICLE »
2009 J. Christopher Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 1,500 cases, $28. The flagship wine. A blend from vineyards in the Dundee Hills, Chehalem Mountains and Eola Hills. Made with native fermentations and up to 18 months of French oak aging. Unfiltered. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry mash, mushrooms, brier patch and grassy field. A savory wine of interest with earthbound flavors of darker red stone and berry fruits with a hint of herbs and grass. Nicely composed with silky tannins and some persistence on the aromatic finish. Even better two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Very good. Reviewed January 12, 2012 ARTICLE »
2009 J. Christopher Dundee Hills Cuvée Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 450 cases, $35. A barrel selection from several vineyards including Bella Vida, Baptista, Maresh, Charlie’s, Abbey Ridge and Le Pavillon. Unfiltered. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Very shy initially, but opens beautifully over time in the glass revealing aromas of dark red and purple fruits with wood spice and subtle oak vanillin. Earthy and charming, with a medium weight core of darker Bing cherry and raspberry flavors perfectly accented by oak notes of spice and anise, and displaying a fancy thrust of pure fruit on the finish. Light on its feet and very accommodating. A step up over the Willamette Valley bottling. Reviewed January 12, 2012 ARTICLE »
2008 J Christopher Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $29. · Aromas of spiced cherries, coffee and oak. Well-oaked red and purple fruits with undertones of tea and mocha. Crisp acidity with notable firm tannins. Drinks better over time in the glass and should improve with time in the cellar. Decent. Reviewed November 7, 2010 ARTICLE »