Cristom Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay 2019
Though Cristom is no stranger to Chardonnay, having produced the varietal since our founding in 1992, our Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay marks the joyful expansion of this wine program, both through collaboration with extraordinary winegrowers we're fortunate to call neighbors, as well as the increase of Chardonnay plantings on the Cristom Estate. Exhibiting an exquisite texture created by full malolactic fermentation in barrel, the 2019 Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay offers racy acidity with notes of white peach and Meyer lemon zest before delivering a lengthy, refreshing finish.
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The 2019 Chardonnay Eola-Amity Hills is characterized by broad, intense flavors foiled by tangy acidity. It offers aromas of apple pie, honeycomb, toast and white blossoms and is intensely flavored, ripe and textural, finishing with energetic freshness.
Pretty aromas of honeysuckle, white peach, lemon tart and flint. It’s full-bodied, yet bright, with tangy acidity. Textured and fleshy. Some spice and hay notes to close. Drink or hold.
Toasty with a lean oak frame, this smoky chardonnay’s aromas are mildly oaked at first. But the flavors are refreshing, lean and balanced, with an oyster-shell duskiness that suggests a pairing with shellfish, particularly seared scallops.
Wonderfully floral on the nose, sappy and rich on the palate, this expressive wine is packed with flavorful fruits perfectly set against tangy acidity. White peach, Asian pear and a touch of lime combine on a full-bodied midpalate. The juicy fruit flavors energize the wine and set the taster up for sip after sip.
Cristom Vineyards is a family-owned and operated winery that has established itself as a top producer of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Eola-Amity Hills district of Oregon's Willamette Valley. Second-generation proprietor Tom Gerrie leads the production team, which includes long time winemaker Steve Doerner and recently arrived vineyard manager & winemaker Daniel Estrin. Each bring experience from working at top Pinot/Chardonnay producers in California: Doerner from Calera and Estrin from Littorai. Tom’s parents, Paul and Eileen Gerrie, founded the winery in 1992.
The estate is divided into five single vineyards: Jessie, Eileen, Marjorie, and Louise (all named for Matriarchs in the Gerrie family); and the newly added Paul Gerrie vineyard, acquired in 2012. There are 95 acres on vine throughout the 240-acre property. The majority vineyards are planted at a high density of around 2,300 vines per acre and heavily cropped to produce about 2 tons of fruit per acre.
Cristom farms its estate vineyards according to the biodynamic practices originated by Rudolph Steiner. In 2017 Tom began to implement biodynamic principles to bring the true expression of the vineyard into its wines. Cristom has been a leader in natural winemaking practices, including native yeast and an early pioneer of whole-cluster fermentation in the US. The vineyards and winery are Certified Sustainable by the Oregon LIVE program (Low Input Viticulture and Enology).
Vintage after vintage, Cristom produces top-quality wines, no matter how easy or challenging the elements make it. This consistency is a testament to the deep knowledge of the vineyard, the respect for the land, and a light touch in the cellar. 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.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.