My wife and I went on our first adventure to Oregon wine country a few weeks ago and had an amazing time. The scenery, food, wine and hospitality were just top notch all the way around. We arrived late Thursday night on Southwest Airlines from San Jose, Ca with 2 wine checks in hand. My goal was carry everything I bought home, but failed miserably and shipped more than few cases home. Wine checks are a great invention and so far I have done 4 trips with ours since Berserker day with 0 issues. Picked up the rental car and spent the night at a motel near the Portland Airport. Got up in the morning and hit the local New Seasons market for breakfast and snacks for weekend. Of course, while I was there had to check out the local wine selection and they certainly had that well covered. They had a full selection of Cameron and many other local favorites. Luckily, their wine buyer was there and I picked up a few bottles he recommended after our chat.
We haven’t had a chance to try either of these but he claimed these much like the Cameron WV Pinot’s don’t last long and sell out soon. Only time will tell. After getting some Tamales in the parking lot we were off to Cristom Vineyards for our first tasting of the day.
The Winery and Tasting Room
My wife Kitty and the tasting menu of the Day
I had called Cristom ahead of time and they had a few tasting options including a normal tasting, a private seated tasting and winery tour and picnic lunch. Since we had to private tasting booked later in the day we choose the most basic $15 tasting option and were not disapointed. We sat around a table and chatted with some ladies from San Diego who were also visiting. The two folks at the tasting room were super friendly and helpful. Clearly wine geeks themselves and they knew their wines and all the technical details of the wine making process. We felt at home and since it was early and not crowded we were not rushed and they really were comfortable getting into some of the finer details.
2016 Estate Pinot Gris - Good acidity and balance. I’m just not a big fan of Pinot Gris. Hard to pick on the wine but I can’t ever remember being excited about Pinot Gris.
2017 Estate Pinot Noir Rose - Nose of Pomm and sea shells. Hits the palate with good tart pomm and strawberry followed by great acidity and minerality. Fully dry, The kind of rose I really enjoy.
2015 Mt. Jefferson Cuvée Pinot Noir - Something like a cuvee from 13 vineyards. 3/4 Estate Fruit. 50% stems as is the normal for all the Cristom Pinots. Fruit, pepper, earth. This one is spicy and a bold on the bolder side without being over extracted. Long spicy finish. This wine will benefit from 5-10 years of bottle age, IMO. Fantastic QPR if you can find any, good luck on that. This is the wine that first introduced me to Cristom and it didn’t dissapoint.
2014 Estate Pinot Noir - This is a blend of the 4 estate vineyards. Bright ripe cherry on the nose and palate. Softer and Rounder than the Mt. Jeff. A more elegant and delicate style and drinking well now. Stems and tannins are less pronounced
2015 Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir - Yum!, More acidic and tannic than the estate pinot noir. Not as much tannin as the Mt Jeff but more acidic for sure. In between the two in Style. My favorite. For a ripe year the acid and the stems really came though to balance the fruit.
Chilling and chatting with some new frends
I think we tasted one other of the estate vineyard pinots and it was similar and different as expected. Overall, I enjoyed the tasting and the experience. Although each of the pinots receives the same oak program and stem content (50% they claim), the vintage and the terroir shined through. All had unique characteristics that spoke to us. They were offering a great horizontal of 2013’s splits. 1 375ml of each of the 4 estate vineyards for $99. Sold! Snacked on some lunch while we were there, picked up more than few bottles and then headed off to our next appointment at Walter Scott. I will chronicle each of our visits in a seperate post and it may take me a few weeks to get them all posted but in true Berseker style will give them all the love they deserve. Great first stop!