Cristom Vineyards is responsible for some of the purest, prettiest and most acutely site-specific Pinot Noirs the USA has to offer. The 2022 single-vineyard Pinots, released today, are archetypal of the estate’s style.

In the words of the Cristom team, the wines are characterised by ‘supple tannins, excellent fruit character with a bright red fruit spectrum,’ while 2022 is a vintage ‘very approachable in its youth and well-structured for aging.’

With its diverse soils and climate moderated by the Pacific (just 36 miles away), Oregon’s Willamette Valley looks a natural fit for Pinot and Chardonnay; as it’s consistently proved in the 32 years since the Gerrie family established Cristom. Covering 240 acres, including pasture and woodland as well as 90 acres of vines, the property is farmed biodynamically, with a keen eye on biodiversity and regeneration.

In terms of winemaking, the Gerries point to Domaine Dujac as their greatest influence. Visiting Jacques Seysses in Morey Saint Denis convinced Cristom’s first winemaker Steve Doerner that, ‘whole clusters bring another level of complexity to the aromatics and an additional dimension of tannin to the palate and help the wines to better express the identity of their terroirs.’

The use of natural yeast and whole clusters (approximately 50% for the single vineyard Pinots) remain tenets under Cristom’s present-day winemakers, headed by Tom Gerrie, the son of founders Eileen and Paul.

In 2022, early budbreak followed by a cold snap threatened a frost which, thankfully, failed to materialise. Thereafter a warm, sunny growing season culminated in a placid harvest and pristine crop. The wines, in the view of the Gerrie family – and the Stannary team too – are of equal quality to the acclaimed 2021s.

Today’s release features four superb single-vineyard wines with the differences in terroir clearly expressed. All are highly recommended, but available in limited quantities, so please register your interest as soon as possible. If your first choice is sold out, fear not – there are absolutely no “bad buys” to be had.

 

Place your order

2022 Eileen Vineyard Pinot Noir

£375 IB  –  6x75cl

The estate’s coolest, most rugged vineyard, perched at the crest of the Eola Hills. Strong winds here mean tiny grapes with thick skins, contributing structure and complexity to the wine. 2022 Eileen – like Jessie and Louise – was raised in 30% new oak for 17 months.

Alluring aromas of sweet plum, cola, lavender, sage, and jasmine, as well as notes of liquorice and savory leather. The palate is dense and textural, with flavours of black currant, dried blueberry, and dried oak bark and supple tannins that elongate the finish.   

2022 Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir

£375 IB  –  6x75cl

This steep east-facing vineyard is named after Paul’s maternal grandmother. The vines are densely planted, with deep roots, accounting for the wine’s resounding mineral character.

Floral, umami, and savory characters of rose petals, shiitake mushrooms, and charcuterie intermingle with crunchy cherry and strawberry rhubarb. Firm, textural tannins and fresh acidity lead to a persistent finish.  

2022 Louise Vineyard Pinot Noir

£375 IB  –  6x75cl

This is a lower-altitude site sheltered by forests to the west and south. It has notably complex soils, with sedimentary as well as the volcanic soils that predominate the Willamette Valley. As a result, Louise (named after Paul’s great-grandmother) tends to be the fullest and richest of the Cristom Pinots.

Sultry aromas of dense Asian spice, Rainier cherries, hoisin sauce, and nutmeg. Unctuous and expansive on the palate with supple tannins and flavours of crunchy plum, baking spice, dark chocolate, and herbal nuances. 

2022 Paul Gerrie Vineyard Pinot Noir

£375 IB  –  6x75cl

Cristom founder Paul dreamt of acquiring this site – which he prized for its deep volcanic soils, bracing winds and high elevation (up to 800 feet). Paul finally got his hands on it in 2012, shortly before retiring. Today it produces wines that are powerful yet fresh, with mineral and spicey accents. The 2022 was raised in 1/6 new oak for 17 months.

Earthy aromas with notes of cola and red currant. This energetic Pinot Noir has bright acidity, lively tannins, and flavours of cherry, raspberry, sweet citrus, and spiced notes of tobacco and liquorice, culminating in a persistent finish.