A few months back I was impressed with a trio of Pinot Noirs I tasted from Cristom Vineyards in Willamette Valley. So I’ve been eager to see what else they’re doing. The most prevalent white varietal in that part of Oregon tends to be Pinot Gris. Today I’ll look at the current release Pinot Gris from Cristom Vineyards. The Cristom Vineyards 2007 Estate Pinot Gris is produced using fruit entirely sourced at their own 5 acre Emilia vineyard which was planted in 1993. This offering was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. 1,420 cases of this selection were produced and the suggested retail price is $16.
Lychee fruit and pineapple aromas lead the expressive and lively nose of this Pinot Gris. Apricot, mango, orange blossom and temperate wisps of vanilla make up the full flavored and gentle palate of this wine. Ginger, nutmeg, cloves and hazelnut notes emerge on the lingering, honeyed finish. Mineral notes provide a final crisp characteristic.
When I travelled to Willamette Valley a couple of years ago I was on a mission to taste lots of tremendous Pinot Noir. That was the expected and achieved. What I didn’t consciously consider before my trip was the amount of world class Pinot Gris I would encounter. Since Pinot Noir gets all the press, the Gris is sort of the hidden treasure of Willamette Valley. After a few days I realized that there were a lot of excellent examples of Pinot Gris too. It became an altered mission. This 2007 selection from Cristom Vineyards is quite indicative of the lovely white wines I found there. It’s refreshing and beckons you back to the glass for more. For $16 if you don’t want to think about it much further you don’t have to. But if you do, this wine has good complexity and rewards sipping and contemplation.