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Cristom Pinot Noir Mt. Jefferson Cuvee 2012

Cristom Pinot Noir Mt. Jefferson Cuvee 2012

Sku: 022783

Wine Advocate, 90 Points:
From as many as ten different non-estate vineyard sources – principally in the estate’s Eola-Amity Hills neighborhood – Cristom’s 2011 Pinot Noir Mount Jefferson Cuvee is brightly red-fruited and tinged with similarly vintage-typical smokiness; root flavors of iris, ginger and sassafras; and a musky, sharp note of radish. Polished in feel and penetrating in length, with a touch of salinity serving for saliva-inducement, and its piquant and incisive notes for invigoration, this energetic archetype of 2011 vintage virtue should perform admirably through at least 2017.

Steve Doerner – for much more about whom, and about this estate, see my Issue 202 introduction – reported from 2011” the lowest brix in our estate’s (20 year) history, lower even the cool vintages from the ‘90s” and he chaptalized to the greatest extent, typically bringing the wines up by nearly a point in alcohol, to around 13%. Some wines were acid-adjusted (adding tartaric to compensate for the high malic that was going to turn lactic) and – unlike most other strong protagonists of this approach that in the Willamette is above all associated with him – Doerner backed off a bit on the share of whole clusters and stems that went into the fermenters. As a measure of the Cristom team’s confidence in the 2011 vintage, they not only rendered from this vintage a four-barrel “Signature Cuvee,” but also an “estate blend” utilizing a barrel from each of their vineyard sites. As usual, though, with one exception it is the Cristom Pinot Noirs of three calendar years prior that were presented to me to taste there this summer. It’s no wonder that the team here is keen on a 2010 vintage in which they managed to achieve power and structure, as well as in which flavors clearly developed superbly before must weights climbed significantly. Doerner refers to a certain “delicacy” in the wines; maybe, but tasting the 2010 vintage Pinot collection here left me not just exhilarated but pretty nearly wrung out!

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