Cristom Marjorie Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017
The famed Marjorie Vineyard boasts Cristom’s oldest estate plantings, predating the company back to 1982. Named in honor of winegrower-owner Tom Gerrie’s grandmother, Marjorie is distinctive at Cristom both for being own-rooted, and for its lower-density plantings, (605 vines/acre; 1,495 vines/hectacre), with 6 feet between vines and 12 feet between rows.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Translucent red. A wild, highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red fruits, exotic spices and candied flowers, with smoky mineral and incense notes that acquire strength as this youthful wine gains its footing. Stains the palate with vibrant raspberry, bitter cherry, star anise and rose pastille flavors that show a compelling blend of depth and litheness. Fine-grained tannins build slowly on a strikingly long, finely etched finish that features baking spice, floral and subtle earth notes
This wine starts out aromatically wild, with scents of crushed, dried violet petals and smoke. After a day it becomes elegant, with flavors of crushed plums infused with soft oak spice, lasting with a fine savor.
The 2017 Pinot Noir Marjorie Vineyard was made with 51% whole clusters and aged 18 months in 75% new French oak. Medium ruby, it has a very pretty nose: nuances of crushed stone, Campari, earth and blood orange mingle over a core of red and black cherries, rhubarb and cranberry. The medium-bodied palate has lovely, nuanced, amaro-laced flavor layers with a softly chalky frame and seamless freshness, finishing long and perfumed.
This stands above the rest of the 2017 Cristom Pinots, helped a bit by aging in 75% new French oak barrels. It’s an elegant wine, with a complex mix of orange, raspberry, grapefruit, tea and tobacco flavors. It gains intensity through the finish and should age nicely over the next half-decade.
Poised and well-knit, with violet, cherry and savory spice flavors that persist toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2024.
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.”