(2021) From several vineyards in the Willamette Valley, this organic wine is aged mostly in steel with a small proportion in oak. Deep in colour and deeply fruited in aroma, there's a juicy plushness of red plum and blackberry, a pleasing floral lift too. In the mouth it floods across the palate with supple fruit and spiciness, a bit of tannic grip and roughening edge of plum skin acidity. An honest, fairly rustic, but very enjoyable Pinot.
(2021) An organic blend of mostly Riesling made in a variety of vessels from concrete eggs to Austrian oak to amphora, blended with a little Gewurztraminer. There is certainly some aromatic perfume here, hints of lychee and summer blossom, lime and a touch of mango exotics. But the amphora/egg ageing and, I presume, wild yeast ferment does add that dimension of yeasty, light earthy character too. In the mouth there's surely a little residual sugar, but such a phalanx of iodine, mineral salts and zesty lemon flavours that the wine is savoury and multi-layered, fresh and juicy with lovely hints of orange and chamomile into a long finish. Unusual and delicious.
(2021) There's a touch of bronze to the colour of this blanc de noirs still wine, which is 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, aged six months in neutral (untoasted) French oak. Aromas are firm, lemon and apples, with a gently oxidative nuttiness. Lovely fruit on the palate: again apple and pear, but juicy and ripe, a salty lick to the acids too, and the barrel ageing just broadening the texture and depth of flavour. Finishes very tangy fresh, on citrus and salts.
(2021) Eileen is Cristom's largest Pinot vineyard, and also one of the highest rising from 165- to 220-metres, planted on a range of basalt soils. Clones are dominated by Wädenswil and Dijon 777, then a fairly even split between Dijon 115, 114 and Pommard. Maybe slightly darker in colour than the Jessie, and though that lovely floral nuance is there again, it's a little tighter, cooler and darker in fruit profile too. Wonderfully sweet and ripe black and red berries flood the palate; a real welterweight of creamy and dense fruit here, sumptuous, but again the polish of the fine tannins and juiciness of the cherry and plum-skin acidity give terrific balance.
(2021) A wine from the steep, east-facing hillside of the Jessie vineyard which rises from 98- to 168-metres elevation, and is planted with six different clones of Pinot Noir. Attractive pale- to medium-ruby/crimson colour, the nose is suffused with soft, pulpy red fruits and a mellow oak. Fragrance here, a wisp of smoke and flowers. Fabulously sweet, ripe and plush fruit on the palate, spices coming through strongly too, the combination of mellow oak and fleshy fruit buttressed by smart acidity and silky, but powerful tannins.
(2021) The first vineyard Cristom planted in 1993, Louise is divided into 'upper' Louise and 'lower' Louise across its 88- to 134-metre elevation. Upper is composed of deep Jory and Nekia basalt soils, known to be mineral rich, while Lower is stongly influenced by the Missoula Flood silts known as Helvetia, a deep loam over clay. Clones are Dijon 113, 114, 115, 777 and Pommard. Similar colour to the Eileen, and the aromas lightly touched by garrigue herbs and flowers, a touch of coal or graphite, and deep red and black fruits. Again marvellous depth of sweet, ripe, juicy and supple fruit, but there's a layering of vanilla and toast here, a chicory bite of bittersweetness, and tannins that clamp the finish tightly. This one finishes on spice and taut fruit, grippy tannin, and certainly seems built for the long haul.
(2021) The 2017 vintage from the Louise Vineyard is more transluscent than the 2018, the aromas developing into more of the forest floor and woodland mushroom, but spices and fruit are still solidly there, a hint of floral perfume. In the mouth there's a blast of a bitter orange and endive to this, a powerful acid and tannin pincer movement on the core of supple fruit. Some coffee and nibbed cocoa bean adds a layer beneath and its a fine Pinot, but that slightly too bitter finish notches this one down just a point or two for me.
(2021) Translucent, a little more mellow in colour than the Louise 2017, there's a coolness, pure fruitiness, light graphite character to this, a hint of forest floor then it smooths into light, creamy vanilla and the red berry fruit. In the mouth it is still quite sharply delineated by the tannins and punchy acidity, but it doesn't display the same bitter edge as the Louise, finishing with a little more elegance, supple and spicy fruit compote and good balance.
(2021) From the Willamette Valley, the blend includes 4% Viognier, 3% Gewurztraminer and 2% Chardonnay, whole-bunch pressed and made in stainless steel. There's ripe pear and citrus on the nose, a fine chalk dust character, the aromatic varieties in the blend adding maybe just a smidgeon of extra perfume. A touch of residual sugar softens and fills out the palate, but there's a gentle and quite elegant character here, though it perhaps lacks a touch of intensity.
(2020) From a hot vintage and the Dundee Hills AVA of the Willamette Valley, this is a wine from the historic vineyard planted in 1965 by David Lett, the first Pinot vineyard to be planted in the Willamette. Farmed organically since inception, the vines are ungrafted, so not on rootstocks. It is fermented with wild yeasts and sees only around 10% oak. A little earthier, spicier than the Te Whare Ra, some game and truffle joins the red fruit. A blast of beautifully sweet, supple cherry and red plum on the palate, underpinned by some leather, game and earthy character, but the tannins and acid structure is truly lovely and gives perfect balance. Price and stockist at time of review is for the previous vintage. Pommard and Wädenswil clones. Imported by: Savage Selection.