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Cristom Louise Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • JS96
  • WS93
  • WE92
  • RP92
  • W&S92
13.5% ABV
Other Vintages
  • RP94
  • D94
  • V94
  • JS93
  • RP92
  • W&S91
  • W&S91
  • WS92
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13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Planted in 1993, Louise Vineyard was named for Cristom winegrower & owner Tom Gerrie’s great-grandmother, Louise Dinkelspiel. The lowest elevation Pinot Noir planting on the Cristom estate, Louise Vineyard can be distinctly separated into an “upper” and “lower” section, divided by a 150 ft. (45.7 m) slope. Because of this unique topography, Louise typically has both some of the earliest and latest fruit harvested each year; in the 2015 vintage, we recorded our earliest-ever pick date, bringing in the first estate fruit of the harvest from the Louise Vineyard on September 1st.

Critical Acclaim

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JS 96
James Suckling
This delivers an ethereal and fragrant impression on the nose with a bright, red-fruit theme that is framed in sweet spices and flowers. The palate has a strong array of ripe red cherries with sappy complexity and crisply defined tannins. Impressive tension here. Needs time. Try from 2021.
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Deeply structured, yet elegant and precise, with rose petal and dark cherry aromas, layered with wet stone and spiced tea flavors that build toward broad-shouldered tannins. Drink now through 2025.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
This is the original block at the estate vineyard, and the wine remains tight and a bit astringent at the moment. Wild berries, orange peel and a touch of meat stock all combine, with stiff, chewy tannins. It has all the hallmarks of a wine that needs another couple of years to pull itself together. It should drink well through the 2020s.
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Pale to medium ruby, the 2016 Pinot Noir Louise Vineyard opens with classic aromas of black and red cherries, cola, dried earth and autumn leaves over a peppery, spicy background. It's medium-bodied and silky in the mouth with lovely red and black fruit layers accented by licorice, earth and black tea. It's framed with firm tannins and mouthwatering acidity, finishing long and lively.
Rating: 92+
W&S 92
Wine & Spirits
The 2016 Louise is at once earthier and more fruit-driven than the 2016 Jessie Vineyard (also recommended in this issue). Leading with floral notes, it’s deeply flavored yet precise, the tannins holding the wine in a demonstrative grip, lasting with a sous bois scent.
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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.

STC527319_2016 Item# 514924