99pts James Suckling
This dramatically steep site delivers a wine of real personality and distinctiveness. The nose has a very layered mix of red cherries and berries with some plums, leaves, dry stones, forest wood and a wealth of sweetly fragrant spices. The palate holds such intensity and concentrated flavor with striking focus and drive. Mouthwateringly fresh red-cherry flavors are delivered in essence-like mode and hold long, on a super vibrant, explosive finish. The star of 2018 at Cristom and indeed for Willamette Valley pinot per se. Drink or hold.
94pts Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2018 Pinot Noir Jessie Vineyard was made with 46% whole clusters and aged 17 months in 51% new French oak. Medium ruby, it has an incredible perfume of broody earth, licorice and lilac with concentrated blueberry and cranberry fruit. The medium-bodied palate is silky and expansive, offering loads of perfume and powerful fruit in a seamless, feathery frame, finishing very long. What a beauty!
Limpid ruby-red. Ripe red berries, cherry cola, exotic spices and a hint of potpourri on the deeply perfumed nose. Chewy and focused on the palate, offering spice-tinged black raspberry, cherry liqueur and rose pastille flavors complemented by subtle licorice and mocha nuances. A smoky quality builds with air and carries through a long, youthfully tannic finish that echoes the cherry note. (JR)
93pts Wine & Spirits
Named for Paul Gerrie's grandmother, Jessie is an 11-acre vineyard that's among the Willamette's steepest. In 2018, the wine leads with smoky, austere expression of those shallow soils, viewed through a lens of cluster spice. But bright, warm cherry flavor comes bursting through the austere frame, mouth filling and delicious. This is still far from peak expression; cellar it.
The Jessie Vineyard, named for winegrower-owner Tom Gerrie’s great-grandmother Jessie Summers, was established in 1994 after the Gerrie family saw great potential in planting a steep, east-facing hillside. Ranging in elevation from 320 ft to 550 ft (98 m to 168 m), this 11.53 acre (4.67 hectare) site is one of the steepest in Oregon, and the most challenging to farm on the Cristom Estate.
The 2018 growing season was one of the driest years in the agricultural history of the Willamette Valley, and the driest year in Cristom’s 27 years of farming this land. The overwhelming majority of the Cristom Estate is dry-farmed,thus creating challenges with low water availability. Fortunately, our older vines fared well, their deep roots driving down into the volcanic hillsides, seeking out the water held there. This allowed more “hang-time” for the fruit, creating brighter, blue-fruited wines. Showing surprising complexity and firm structure in their youth, these wines will age well for years to come.