Cristom Louise Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018
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.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Very attractively vivid raspberry, strawberry and red-cherry aromas on offer here. This is really bathed in ripe fruit and expressed in a very pure mode. The palate has intensity of flavor and piercing depth. The red cherries and plums run so deep and crescendo into an explosive, upbeat finish. Wow factor is high. Drink or hold.
The 2018 Pinot Noir Louise Vineyard comes from vines planted in 1993-1995. This iteration was made with 49% whole clusters and was aged 17 months in 55% new French oak. The nose offers concentrated cranberries and rhubarb, blood orange and violet with accents of tobacco and prosciutto. Medium-bodied, the palate is powerful, concentrated, firmly framed and fresh, and it finishes very long and flavorful. It's enjoyable now if you love a fully fruited Pinot, or it will age well in the cellar over the next 3-5+ years.
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.
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.”