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Cristom Louise Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • RP94
  • D94
14% ABV
  • JS96
  • WS93
  • RP92
  • WE92
  • W&S92
  • JS93
  • RP92
  • W&S91
  • W&S91
  • WS92
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Louise will often produce the most firmly structured Pinot Noir of all the single vineyards and can have the darkest fruit profile in the estate lineup. It typically has more acid and tannin than other single vineyard estate Pinot Noirs – a result of its lower elevation and warmer site. Full of deep and silky tannins, Louise lingers on the palate, her story will slowly unfold for years to come.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Pale to medium ruby-purple, the 2015 Pinot Noir Louise Vineyard has a savory, almost meaty nose over a core of Black Forest cake, red currants, mulberries, cardamom and fenugreek with a touch of potpourri. Medium-bodied, the palate has exquisitely fine tannins and a lively line of acidity supporting generous, multi-layered red berry preserves and spice, finishing with impressive persistence and depth.
D 94
Decanter
According to Christom’s Randy Ford, the 3.7ha Louise vineyard is first and last to have its grapes picked, depending on the vines’ altitude and position on the lower or upper bench. The difference in picking date could be as much as five weeks. Biodynamically farmed and aged in 50% new oak, the Louise Pinot has Cristom’s hallmark floral, potpourri character on the nose and palate. Gorgeously refined red and black fruits combine with a dash of Asian spice notes to give a linear, medium-bodied red with some tannic heft and spine-tingling acidity. Stunningly good.
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Cristom

Cristom

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Cristom, Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, 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.

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 VanDuzer corridor and assists the maintenance of higher acidities 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.

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. 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 Villages or Cru level wines.

CHMCRS3601115_2015 Item# 354311