Oregon Wine Club – February 2023

2020 Cristom Vineyards, Eola-Amity Hills, Chardonnay, $39.75

This month we catch up with Cristom Vineyards, featuring two wines from this family-owned winery in the Eola-Amity Hills.

Winery Info: Cristom was established in 1992 by Paul and Eileen Gerrie.          

They shared a deep respect for the land, the natural winemaking process, and Pinot Noir. Their winery is located 43 miles from the Pacific Ocean, with vines planted on volcanic soils in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. Their winegrowing philosophy is based on the belief that the greatest expression of terroir produces the finest wines. With that principle in mind, they farm their estate vineyards biodynamically and sustainably, with the next 100 years in mind. Today the Gerries’ son Tom is the winegrower and second-generation owner of Cristom.

Winemaker: Daniel Estrin is now winemaker and vineyard manager, with Steve Doerner, Cristom’s head winemaker since its first vintage, winemaker emeritus.

Grapes: 100% Chardonnay, aged 11 months in barrel, 22% new oak. It was fermented with native yeasts and went through malolactic fermentation in barrel.

Vineyards: Their estate Louise and Paul Gerrie vineyards, along with Eola-Springs, Seven Springs, Stand Sure, Le Royer, Von Oehsen, and X-Omni vineyards, all in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA with a diverse range of volcanic soils.

Flavor Profile: The 2020 growing season was a low-yielding vintage that produced extremely concentrated wines with excellent acidity. This Chard is aromatic and textured, with fresh citrus and floral notes. The diversity of vineyard sources adds complexity, with fruit from Eola Springs and Paul Gerrie providing structure, acidity, and phenolics, and Von Oehsen and Seven Springs fruit adding body, weight, and length. Daniel Estrin says Cristom’s intended Chardonnay style is like “riding the knife’s edge between tension and generosity.”

Availability: 80 barrels produced. This wine is currently in good supply.

Drinking Window: Enjoy anytime over the next year or two.

Food Pairing: Try it with white fish or white meats, poultry, or risotto.

2021 Cristom Vineyards, Mount Jefferson Cuvée, Pinot Noir, $39.75

Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, a mix of Dijon, Pommard, Wädenswil, Coury, and Mt. Eden clones, Aged 11 months in French oak, 20% new.

Vineyards: 52% from their estate vineyards (Eileen, Jessie, Louise, Marjorie, and Paul Gerrie), with the remainder from partner vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills.

Flavor Profile: Mt. Jefferson Cuvée is their flagship wine, sourced from a diverse array of soil types, elevations, and aspects. With each site adding to the character, fruit, and structure, this cuvée conveys a sense of the Willamette Valley appellation as a whole and defines the Cristom house style. This one is very aromatic and fresh, with notes of red fruit and spice, elegant texture, and balancing acidity.

Availability: 11,260 cases produced. This wine is also in good supply.

Drinking Window: You could let this one develop for a year or two, then enjoy up to around 2026.

Food Pairing: Pair it with roast duck, lamb, grilled salmon, or mushroom risotto.