- Secret Somm: Oregon’s Surging Wine Country
- Secret Somm: Sharing Pinot in Willamette
- Secret Somm: Regions within Willamette Valley
- Secret Somm: Eola-Amity Hills Appellation
Eola-Amity Hills Appellation
This week’s entry from the Secret Somm is an informative look at the Eola-Amity Hills appellation in Oregon. Eola-Hills is entirely contained within the greater Willamette appellation and covers a relatively large 15 mile long, 6 mile wide stretch of land west of the Willamette River.
The Eola-Amity Hills area benefits from steady winds off the Pacific Ocean that reach the Willamette Valley through the Van Duzer Corridor, a gap in the Oregon Coast Range, moderating the summer temperatures. The vineyard soils include volcanic soils and shallow nekia series over ancient basalt beds. All of that means it’s great for growing grapes!
Consistency and Continuity are the postulates of this winery and have ridden them to become a top winery in the Eola-Amity Hills appellation. Cristom is a twenty year collaboration between 3 great friends. “Great wine begins in the vineyard.” is their thesis, like most of Oregon, here is no exception. The consensus is that farming is essential for a stand out quality product, along with native yeasts, whole cluster fermentation… sorry about that, my wine geek got carried away.
Their approach is ridiculously practical. Take care of your vineyard, maintain the land, and do less in the winery. Lastly, let the fruit be and let it mature in barrels.
My top selection from Cristom is one of their single vineyard Pinot Noirs named 2008 Louise Vineyard Pinot Noir. All single vineyards are named after matriarchs of the Cristom winery families. Louise is always the last single vineyard to be released. This wine is a powerhouse! She shows the remarkable balance and elegance of a silky smooth Pinot Noir yet powerful enough to make you say, “Damn that wine rocked my palate!” Dark red fruits like black cherry and mulberry accompanied by mocha are the heartbeat. Just wait until the texture and floral notes comes in to join the party. The ensemble makes you scream for more. I was lucky enough to get some of the 2008 but lucky for you the 2011 is ready to rock your palate right now. If you make it to Cristom, you will enjoy all of their offerings but pay special attention to their single vineyard selections as well as the Mt Jefferson Cuvée. Cheers!