I feel a particular enthusiasm in furnishing these few opening comments to this extraordinary library offering. Having tasted wines from every vintage produced at Cristom, I can relay that these wines offer an appeal beyond their well-known singularity and remarkable ageworthiness. For me these are true American benchmarks and absolutely thrilling drinking experiences. These have always been made in a particularly ageworthy style, and are consistently eloquent ambassadors for vineyard and vintage. If you’ve had mature Cristom, you’re likely nodding along. If you haven’t, consider snagging a few bottles and bring to them high expectations. They will be surpassed regardless.
Sited in the Willamette Valley’s Eola-Amity Hills, Cristom is one of this country’s great heritage properties. Winemaking has been under the watch of Steve Doerner, a Jacques Seysses (Domaine Dujac) disciple, who has produced every Cristom vintage since the project’s inception in 1993. Steve’s winemaking style has always been marked by a high proportion of whole-cluster, which contributes an exotic and wide-ranging aromatic profile to his wines, qualities that deepen with time in bottle. Maturity is the most urgently actionable aspect of this offer, as Steve’s Pinots age with remarkable consistency and grace. These are direct from the winery, many the last of their kind. - Jason
This is an offer both monumental and massive; we have over 60 wines direct from the estate. Take a look at the entire offering HERE as well as the packs above. In order to help you orientate yourself, we've created a selection of fun themed packs as well as comments on the cuvées and vintages, following. It's worth a glance at the map below as well.
The Cuvées, the first a blend and the remainder all single vineyards (most named after a matriarch in the Cristom founder's family):
MT JEFFERSON - This cuvée features grapes from each of the estate vineyards as well as fruit from neighbouring vineyards. It is typically the most approachable of the cuvées.
JESSIE - Jessie faces due East, with a steeper incline than most of the other vineyards. This wine typically offers more structure while remaining graceful.
LOUISE - Louise Vineyard was the first vineyard to be established by Cristom. With both the earliest and latest ripening parcels in the vineyard it typically shows an intriguing blend of ripe fruit and bright acidity.
EILEEN - The highest elevation vineyard, looking over the whole estate with a Southeastern exposure. A bouquet of sweet spices, with quite forward redder fruit and gentle tannins.
MARJORIE - A special vineyard, with own-rooted vines planted in 1982. The vines are planted at a lower density than the other vineyards (all planted in '92). The wine displays great suavity of fruit and a complex floral and spice bouquet.
SYRAH - Produced from only 1.24 acres in extremely limited quantities. Aged ~20 months in French oak. It is a challenge to ripen syrah in this climate and it is not produced every vintage. They have a racy quality along with spice and beautiful perfume.
A word about vintages: Steve is a winemaker both thoughtful and experienced, adjusting the picking time, the amount of new oak and the percentage of whole cluster to ensure the most successful wine possible each vintage. This isn’t to say that the wines do not reflect vintage, but rather that you can be confident that even in years where other Willamette pinot noirs are feeble or overripe, Cristom has in my experience been almost shockingly uniform in their capacity to produce delight. The '05, '08, '10 and '12 vintages are superb, balancing ripeness with vivacity. The '03, '06 and '09 vintages I would class as hedonistic and full. Lastly the '07, '11 and '13 vintages yielded quite delicate wines.
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