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Cristom Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • RP95
  • JS94
  • W&S93
  • WS92
  • WE91
13.7% ABV
Other Vintages
  • RP94
  • V94
  • D93
  • RP92
  • WW92
  • JS92
  • RP91
  • WS93
  • W&S94
  • WS92
  • RP90
  • RP92
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13.7% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The Jessie Vineyard, named for winegrower-owner Tom Gerrie’s greatgrandmother Jessie Summers, was established in 1994 after the Gerrie family saw great potential in planting a steep, east-facing hillside to a variety of Pinot Noir clones. Ranging in elevation from 320 ft to 550 ft (98 m to 168 m), this 11.53 acre (4.67 hectare) site is one of the steepest in Oregon, and the most challenging to farm on the Cristom Estate. Jessie is strategically planted at a high density of 2,311 vines per acre (5,710 vines/hectare), based on the philosophy that dense planting creates competition amongst neighboring vines, forcing roots deeper into the topsoil to yield smaller clusters with more concentrated flavors.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Medium ruby colored, the 2016 Pinot Noir Jessie Vineyard is a touch reticent on the nose, opening to broody scents of black cherries and licorice with notes of herbs, Bergamot and grated baking spice with earthy touches of soil and wet leaves. Medium to full-bodied and wonderfully silky in the mouth, it's packed with layers of ripe fruit, spice and earth. It gives fine, firm tannins and mouthwatering acidity, finishing very long and very layered. This is wonderfully complex with loads of layers—give it some time in bottle to show its best.
Rating: 95+
JS 94
James Suckling
There’s a sense of resolve from the get-go here with very pure red and darker cherries making a youthful impression. The palate has a succulent and finely detailed array of well-judged tannins that frame the finish very neatly. Good depth and detail here. Drink or hold.
W&S 93
Wine & Spirits
The 2016 Jessie comes from Cristom’s steepest vineyard, an east-facing slope planted in 1994. It’s so attractive that, at first, you may miss its complexity. Sure, it has the Earl Grey tea character that’s typical of Steve Doerner’s whole-cluster style, but it’s surrounded by a bright dark-berry flavor, gentle and clean, lightly propelled by savory spice.
WS 92
Wine Spectator
Deeply structured, yet elegant, with dark berry, stony mineral and black tea flavors that build richness and torque toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2025.
WE 91
Wine Enthusiast
This is an excellent year for this east-facing block, with bright blackberry and cherry fruit anchored in firm tannins. There's a scent and flavor of chicken stock. Half was whole cluster fermented, and the wine spent 18 months in three-fifths new French oak.
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Cristom

Cristom

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Cristom, Oregon
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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 our tenured viticulture team in tending our Estate vineyards, and producing elegant, dynamic wines, recognizable by our hallmark style of whole-cluster fermentation by native yeasts. 

Our winemaking philosophy begins with respect for our land and estate vines. We're proud to be Certified Sustainable by Low Input Viticulture & Enology (LIVE), both in our winery which we run responsibly, and in our 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 we’re fortunate enough to work with. Recognized globally as a leading producer in our beloved Willamette Valley, our wines continue to be a unique blend of tradition, modernity and finesse.

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Eola-Amity Hills

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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.

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Pinot Noir

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One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

In the Glass

Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.

STC302409_2016 Item# 514923