Wine and Spirits Magazine
93 Points– 2010 Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
Fresh and savory at once, with scents of rye flour and lees crosshatched with red cherry, this has a classic Eola-Amity Hills profile, with red-fruited elegance and a curt mineral close. The tone reflects the vintage: pristine fruit, fresh and brisk, lifted and finely wrought. It’s a wine built to age, and delicious now.
94 Points- 2010 Marjorie Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
Whole-cluster spice mingles with generous black-cherry scents in this sensuous pinot. The flavors are dark, rich, and silky all at once; the wine feels fully extracted and thoroughly delicious, at just the right pitch of ripeness. The flavors are saturated without being overdone, giving the wine plenty of stuffing to age.
92 Points- 2010 Louise Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
This is a bit mute at first, with measured aromas of cinnamon and black cherry. The wine is firm and structured, the persistent mineral tannins keeping it on point. Its leanness suggests it has a long life ahead of it.
93 Points- 2011 Estate Viognier, Eola-Amity Hills
This viognier, with its cool vintage character, possesses remarkable refinement and grace. It’s peach blossom scents suggest pinot gris at first, but as the wine comes up in temperature its phenolic range seems to come to life, with flavors of pear, white flowers and white peach, guided by a firm, acidity-driven line. Drinking a bit lean now, this should develop beautifully. Serve with fire-roasted razor clams.
17.5 (91) points–2010 Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
Aromatic nose, red fruits and cola. Juicy and fresh with ripe tannins and refreshing acidity. Good length. Drink 2014-2022 reviewed by Stephen Brook
2009 Mt. Jefferson Cuvee Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
Deep colour, fine Pinot nose and all the depth, purity and textured fruit that one could hope for. A lovely wine. Drink 2013-2017 reviewed by Steven Spurrier
The Wine Enthusiast
June 2012 – Paul Gregutt
90 Points—2009 Marjorie Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
The most forward of Cristom’s 2009 single-vineyard Pinots, this shows flavors of strawberry preserves and candied orange suggestive of marmalade. It has a streak of root beer and pleasing spice, with a quick finish.
92 Points—2009 Eileen Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
This begins as a hard, tight wine with hints of rose petal around a core of blackberry hard candy. The balance is superb, and the wine is lively with nuanced, dark notes blending smoke, espresso and bitter chocolate. An intriguing animal scent surfaces after some hours of breathing. Cellar Selection—PG
93 Points—2009 Louise Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
This is classic Oregon Pinot Noir at its most svelte and stylish. Fresh and clean upon entry, it showcases its raspberry and cherry fruit in a delicate wrap of leaf and bark. The tannins are in perfect proportion; the finish is complex and intriguing—PG
93 Points—2009 Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
Stylish, precise, elegant and evocative, the Jessie may be the best of an excellent single-vineyard lineup from Cristom in 2009. Light toast rims deep black fruit flavors, with excellent concentration. The lengthy finish brings in streaks of espresso and clean earth. This has the balance and detail to reward significant cellaring—PG
Stephen Tanzer International Wine Cellar
– Josh Raynolds
93 points– 2009 Eileen Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
Vivid ruby-red. Sexy aromas and flavors of red berry preserves, Asian spices and rose oil, with a hint of cola in the background. Darker fruits come up with air and add depth and power to this intensely flavored pinot. Shows impressive energy and length on the finish, which features sweet cherry compote and black raspberry qualities.
94 points– 2009 Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
Bright ruby-red. Vibrant, seductive aromas of raspberry, candied rose, anise and minerals. Intense cherry and red berry preserve flavors are brightened by zesty minerals, picking up a floral pastille quality with aeration. The finish repeats the cherry note and leaves a sexy floral quality behind. Impressively elegant pinot that smoothly weds power and finesse.
93(+?) points– 2009 Louise Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
Vivid red. Sexy, floral-accented aromas of raspberry preserves and cherry-cola, with intense spice and mineral accents adding vivacity. Juicy, incisive red fruit flavors become sweeter with air and pick up notes of spicecake and anise. Vanilla and cola notes linger on a very long, sappy, subtly smoky finish. This wine benefits a lot from decanting.
93 points– 2009 Marjorie Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
Vivid ruby-red. Sexy, heady aromas of candied red fruits, Asian spices and potpourri, with notes of incense and cola building in the glass. Sweet, sappy and precise, offering intense raspberry and cherry flavors and suave vanilla and floral pastille nuances. Closes silky, sweet and long, with resonating floral character.
90 points– 2009 Sommers Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
Vivid red. Red fruits and flowers on the nose, complemented by star anise and musky herbs, with a subtle spicecake nuance in the background. Juicy, open-knit raspberry and cherry flavors show good depth, with tangy acidity providing lift. Closes with dusty tannins and very good length, leaving licorice and bitter cherry notes behind. This wine deserves at least a few more years of patience.
90 points– 2010 Mt. Jefferson Cuvee Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
Light, bright red. Red berry and floral scents are complemented by cinnamon and black tea. Racy and light on its feet, offering vibrant redcurrant and strawberry flavors and a touch of bitter herbs. Finishes tangy and lucid, leaving spice and floral notes behind.
Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
Issue #202, August 2012 – David Schindknecht
94 points– 2008 Signature Cuvee Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
Representing the fourth time that Cristom has made such a special selection of barrels (in this case three, all new) reflecting diverse estate parcels (and there won’t be one from 2009 or 2010), the 2008 Pinot Noir Signature Cuvee displays luscious, deep dark cherry and purple plum on a satiny, supple palate, accompanied by billowing, bittersweet floral inner-mouth perfume; powerfully saliva-inducing, soy-like salinity; charred red meat, and stone. Here is a classic incarnation of the proverbial iron fist in a velvet glove, and a wine whose alluring fruit is – in estate-typical fashion – accompanied by floral, carnal, and mineral complexity, all of which engage in dynamic colloquy in lingering waves of flavor.
93 points– 2009 Eileen Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
From an exposed 15-acre (and recently expanded) sector of the estate that reaches up to 700 feet in elevation and hence ripens relatively late, Cristom’s 2009 Pinot Noir Eileen delivers a marriage of lightly-configured but juicy, ripe cherry and red raspberry – garlanded in buddleia and lily – with rich, toasty underlying nut oils and savory, marrow-rich meat stock that is strikingly pure and uncannily saliva-inducing. Irritatingly vague though it is, the German wine expression “feinherb” springs to my mind here, because there is an alliance of fine (i.e. pleasurable) bitterness with savor – not to mention an overall refinement of texture and purity of fruit that are both memorable and irresistible. An admirable sense of buoyancy (though in collection-typical fashion, this weighs-in at a bit over 14% in alcohol) and a persistently, dynamically complex finish further certify the excellence of a bottling that will probably pay distinctively delicious dividends for at least the next dozen years.
93 points– 2009 Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
Incorporating the estate’s steepest slopes – and, according to the geologists, featuring seven distinct variations on eroded basalt, at widely differing depths – Cristom’s 2009 Pinot Noir Jessie Vineyard. is loaded with sweetly-ripe dark cherry and plum wreathed in bittersweet iris and gentian; silken in its polished texture; and compulsively mouthwatering in its evocation of meaty, fatty, subtly saline pan scrapings. Fresh ginger and white pepper as well as a cyanic hint of fruit pit add piquant, pungent invigoration to an almost unstoppably juicy finish. There is a weightier sense of richness here than in the corresponding Eileen but no less complexity and an even more impressive sheer persistence. Look for a dozen if not more years of satisfaction.
92 points– 2009 Marjorie Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
Featuring the one block of vines planted in 1982 that owner Paul Gerrie was able to salvage when he purchased the property a decade later – and a portion of which, due to phylloxera, was recently grafted to Dijon clones and thus temporarily taken out of commission – Cristom’s 2009 Pinot Noir Marjorie leads with deep if ineffable bittersweet floral perfume along with intimations of marine breeze and meat stock that presage the soy-like and mineral notes which, in mingling with lightly-configured as well as distilled cherry on this wine’s polished palate, unleash helpless salivation and at least in my case lead to a compulsion to take the next sip. While it lacks quite the lift or subtly interactive complexity of its Jessie and Eileen counterparts, this finishes with sappy intensity and capital “U” umami, promising to perform terrifically at table over the next 12-15 years
91 points– 2009 Louise Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills
From a heterogeneous though largely eastern-exposed sector – the upper reaches of which, near the woods, are shaded by late afternoon, and which represents the first planting by Paul Gerrie and hence the estate’s oldest halfway high-density vines – Cristom’s 2009 Pinot Noir Louise Vineyard evinces an enveloping blue fruit richness underlain by a complimentary suggestion of wet stone. Polished in texture, and with admirably juicy, subtly soothing persistence, for now at least, this lacks the floral perfume, carnal savor, or dynamics that are so winsome a part of this collection’s other Pinots. Perhaps it simply needs time: surely I can’t imagine it fading for at least a decade.
91 points– 2009 Sommers Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
Kept for 18 months rather than the Jefferson Cuvee’s 12 months in barrels, a higher percentage of which are new, Cristom’s 2009 Pinot Noir Summers Reserve was fermented with half stems and whole clusters and represents a barrel-selection performed after the first year; lesser – or simply especially approachable – barrels being diverted at that point into the corresponding Jefferson Cuvee. “Often the barrels that stand out are the usual suspects” as far as site origin, notes Doerner, “but not always.” The 20% of non-estate wine employed in this year’s rendition reflects ten different sources, including the small bit of Archery Summit Arcus Estate’s crop that is traded for fruit from Cristom, each winemaker for fun and insight rendering in his or her style a special bottling from the other’s vines. (Before Evening Land – for more about which see my account of them in this report – took control of Seven Springs Vineyard, its fruit figured prominently in Cristom’s Summers Reserve.) Ripe elderberry, blackberry and purple plum mingle with savory salted pork stock, high-toned evocations of basil and gentian wafting from the nose; across a silken palate; and all the way through a lingering, saliva-inducing finish. The clarity of fruit, poise, refinement, and mouthwatering length here set it well apart from the corresponding Jefferson, and I would anticipate a decade of satisfaction.
89 points– 2009 Mt Jefferson Cuvee Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
Comprising a blend of estate and contract fruit; typically vinified with a smaller share of whole clusters and stems than their other Pinots; and bottled after around 13 months, Cristom’s 2009 Pinot Noir Mount Jefferson Cuvee is brightly saturated with fresh red berries and is mouthwateringly savory in its salinity and animal fat undertones. Piquant hints of fruit pit add to the invigoration of a sappily-persistent finish. This ought to make for delightful and versatile company at table over the next half dozen or so years.
90 points– 2010 Cristom Estate Viognier, Eola-Amity Hills
From one of owner Paul Gerrie’s earliest plantings – which Doerner (a veteran of Calera where this cepage had by then been in the ground for a decade) says “I advised against because in this cool climate I didn’t think it would work too well” – the Cristom 2010 Viognier is simply the latest in a long line – but especially given its far cooler-than-usual growing season – to defy its winemaker’s early prediction. A classic, effusive nose of acacia, honeysuckle, and white peach is lusciously instantiated on the palate, accompanied by the merest hint of this grape’s typical oiliness that can easily become tiring. Soothing yet downright refreshing – and thanks to a nip of pepper cress and piquancy of peach kernel invigorating – this finishes with admirable persistence. “The real challenge with this grape variety is waiting for that right moment when you can pick with good flavors but not go overboard,” notes Doerner, adding that “this is only the second time I’ve made a Viognier that was under 14% in alcohol.” Vinification and maturation were in a mixture of barriques aged five years or more and a few stainless steel drums of equal volume.
88 points– 2010 Estate Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley
Comprised in this vintage of not quite 100% estate fruit and rendered in tank, the Cristom 2010 Pinot Gris as usual underwent full malo-lactic conversion. Some of the peachy fruit; rich underlying nuttiness; and smoky, spicy notes (which, as Doerner points out, could readily be mistaken for oak influence) that I have always considered part of this cepage’s typicity (though they seem to be absent in most Oregonian renditions) are allied to subtle creaminess (but without any overtly lactic character) and retain plenty of juicy refreshment all the way through a lip-smackingly lingering finish. This ought to prove delightfully versatile over the next couple of years (though few if any bottles, I suppose, are likely to survive year one unconsumed).
88 points– 2009 Estate Syrah, Eola-Amity Hills
From four clones planted a decade ago very near the winery, Cristom’s 2009 Syrah smells and tastes of ripe, lightly-cooked cherry; is firm but finely tannic; and evokes black pepper and salt that surprisingly, for now at least, don’t translate into a lot of finishing invigoration or savor. Perhaps time in bottle will bring focus and further appeal. Certainly I don’t see a wine like this tiring for at least 6-8 years. Like most of its Pinot stable mates, this was fermented with around half whole clusters and stems, but unlike them underwent several rackings.