Cristom Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017
The Jessie Vineyard, named for winegrower-owner Tom Gerrie’s great-grandmother Jessie Summers, was established in 1994 after the Gerrie family saw great potential in planting a steep, east-facing hillside. 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.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
A very distinctive nose with a wild array of red berries and cherries and a thread of blue fruit, too. There’s a dried wild-rose perfume and a violet-like thread with subtle, herbal-based notes. It’s a moving target in the glass with incredible complexity. This has a gift of revelation. The palate has a very assertive edge with a powerful core of intense tannins that carry a spicy thread of rich dark cherries and dark plums in a defined, savory and athletic stance. A star of the vintage. Drink over the next decade or more.
Bright red. Intense black raspberry, cherry, exotic spice and floral pastille scents are given depth by building cola and licorice notes. Offers palate-staining red and dark berry flavors that show excellent clarity and energy thanks to a spine of smoky minerality. Expands steadily with air and picks up a smoky quality that carries through an impressively long, dark berry -driven finish.
Like a Highland single malt, this leads with scents of peat and pepper. The flavors fall deftly between plum, black cherry and savor, with a suave texture that belies a granular intensity, succulent and energetic for veal marsala.
The 2017 Pinot Noir Jessie Vineyard was made with 51% whole clusters and aged 18 months in 53% new French oak. It has a medium ruby color with scents of tar, crushed black cherries, black currants, cured meats, peppercorn, licorice, earth and potpourri. The palate is medium-bodied, silky, intense and layered with a long, nuanced finish. This is a more serious style and will benefit from another couple of years in bottle. Rating: 92+
A tangle of raspberry, cherry and orange fruit flavors, this young wine may benefit from another year or two of bottle age. Roughly half was whole-cluster fermented, and the wine spent 18 months in half new French oak. A sharply astringent finish wraps it up.
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.
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.”