Cristom Eileen Vineyard Pinot Noir (375ML half-bottle) 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
This pinot, from the top elevations of Cristom’s property, topping out at 720 feet, dramatizes a tension between savory whole-cluster scents and luminous lean-fruit expression. It’s aromatically seductive, with its scents of clove and thyme, lavender and autumn leaves leading into dark cherry flavors. What’s most impressive, though, is the texture, firm but lively, with an acid-tannin matrix that drives the wine with firm, silky intensity.
Graceful and expressive, featuring multilayered cherry and blueberry flavors, laced with green tea accents and building structure toward polished tannins. Drink now through 2024.
Cristom Vineyards began a quarter of a century ago as a collaboration between an engineer and a biochemist who each possessed a deep-rooted respect for the land, the natural winemaking process, and Pinot Noir. 25 years later, second-generation winegrower and owner Tom Gerrie leads winemaker Steve Doerner and their tenured viticulture team in tending the Estate vineyards, and producing elegant, dynamic wines, recognizable by their hallmark style of whole-cluster fermentation by native yeasts.
Their winemaking philosophy begins with respect for the land and estate vines. Cristom Vineyards is proud to be Certified Sustainable by Low Input Viticulture & Enology (LIVE), both in their winery which id run responsibly, and in thr fields, that are thoughtfully and meticulously farmed with a focus on quality.
The four estate Pinot Noir vineyards - Eileen, Jessie, Louise and Marjorie, named for Gerrie family matriarchs - each possess natural variances in soil, elevation and exposition. With minimal intervention during the winemaking process, Tom, Steve and team strive to craft wines that are an honest recording of both the vineyard and the vintage, producing the ultimate expressions of the stellar fruit they feel fortunate enough to work with. Recognized globally as a leading producer in the beloved Willamette Valley, their wines continue to be a unique blend of tradition, modernity and finesse.
Running north to south, adjacent to the Willamette River, the Eola-Amity Hills AVA has shallow and well-drained soils created from ancient lava flows (called Jory), marine sediments, rocks and alluvial deposits. These soils force vine roots to dig deep, producing small grapes with great concentration.
Like in the McMinnville sub-AVA, cold Pacific air streams in via the Van Duzer Corridor and assists the maintenance of higher acidity in its grapes. This great concentration, combined with marked acidity, give the Eola-Amity Hills wines—namely Pinot noir—their distinct character. While the region covers 40,000 acres, no more than 1,400 acres are covered in vine.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”