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Oregon tasting notes

text and photographs © 2009 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Oregon wine.


Cristom Pinot Gris 2006
All estate fruit. Subtle, little touch of orange zest. Very nice palate weight, with richness and just a hint of sweetness, but really a very dry, yellow plum quality. 88/100

Cristom Viognier 2006
Fermented in barrel, but all old barrels or steel barrels. There's a leesy richness, and a sense of dried apricot and a touch of orange zest. The palate has lovely grapefruit pith acidity, with a raciness that cuts through. Very powerful, but finishes balanced and clean.89/100

Cristom Mt Jefferson Cuvée Pinot Noir 2006
Quite light, racy, a touch of schisty quality. The palate has a touch of tight, quite grippy tannic grip, and the fruit is submerged behind that earthy, sinewy quality. The Pinot quality does come through very nicely. Bottled after one year in oak, only around 15 - 20% new. 88/100

Cristom Sommers Reserve Cuvée Pinot Noir 2006
A blend of purchased and estate fruit like the Mt Jefferson, but made with all the attention to detail of the estate. 60% new oak on this, with a minty, charry quality of very high quality oak. Lovely sweet ripeness of fruit with a touch of juicy cherry, with a nervosity perhaps through the stems adding a tannic freshness. 90/100

Cristom Eileen Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Barrel selection from a single vineyard, in 60% new oak. Very nice cherry and tobacco fruit nose. Nice little vanillin slick, with very ripe, sweet fruit, that melds nicely with the slick of vanilla, before ripe but grippy and full tannins add some grip. Acidity is fairly low, but it is balanced. 91/100

Cristom Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Black fruit character, with a slightly higher toned violetty edge. Has a lovely mouthfilling presence again, and a really savoury edge, with a touch of gaminess and a juicy, savoury grip and life about. 92/100

Cristom Marjorie Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
From the oldest vineyard, very widely spaced in 12 foot rows. On own rootstocks and has some Phylloxera. A more schisty and mineral nose, with quite lean, bright, cherryish fruit. The palate has an orangy tang of acidity and a nice touch of herbal lift. 91/100

Cristom Louise Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
15-year old vines - the oldest established by current owners. Very tight, focused, dark red fruit. A touch of game in quite a muscular profile. The palate has a very tight, dense and edgy black fruit, with a density and succulence. Very fine. 92/100.

Cristom Estate Syrah 2005
A tiny percentage of Viognier co-fermented, but Steve doesn't want too much Viognier character so will monitor this. Nice bright, solid, refined fruit quality, quite cool with a touch of greenness, but sits very nicely, just adding a herbal edge. The palate has a touch of that green character too, a touch of olive, but savoury and stylish on the finish. 90/100

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