Cristom Mt. Jefferson Cuvee Pinot Noir 2017
#73 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2019
Whole-cluster fermentations by native yeast and extended aging in French oak are the hallmarks of the Cristom winemaking style. This wine ages in barrel for twelve months, and can stylistically be the most fresh and approachable of the Cristom Pinot Noirs in its youth.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
An attractive array of rich red to dark cherries that delivers a fine layer of perfume and a wealth of bright raspberries and red cherries. The palate is subtly earthy and gently spicy with a very plush and assertive core of blueberries and red cherries. Smooth, supple and very energetic. Drink over the next six to eight years.
Tom Gerrie, second-generation owner and winegrower at Cristom, says the Mt. Jefferson Cuvée is now found in about 30 countries, "so it's a major focus for us." About 9,000 cases are made annually. It has always been a Willamette Valley wine, but that may be changing soon. "This 2017 may be the last time it's Willamette Valley," Gerrie says. "It's about 95% Eola now, mainly from Eileen vineyard, and we may begin to label it as Eola. I think it will be the right call for the future of this wine, to be more focused on Eola."
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.
Home of some of the planet’s most amazingly elegant and expressive Pinot noir, the Willamette Valley is a pastoral, mixed landscape of green, bucolic rolling hills, dramatic forestlands and small, independent, friendly wine growers. As a leader in environmental stewardship, the valley has some of the nation’s most protective land use policies, with two-thirds of its vineyards farmed sustainably and over half, organically. While the valley claims a cool, continental climate, and is heavily influenced by the cold, moist winds of the Pacific Ocean, its warm and dry summers allow for the steady, even ripening of Pinot noir.
The potential of Willamette Valley Pinot noir continues to attract the investment of serious growers and winemakers both locally and from abroad, as naturally the finished wines bring accolades from professionals and enthusiasts. With a range of styles from delicate dried cherry, raspberry and hibiscus to stronger notes of truffle, mocha, plum and spice, a fine Willamette Valley Pinot noir is a perfect expression of both character and grace.