2013 Cristom "Marjorie Vineyard" Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

SKU #1221006 93 points Vinous

 Brilliant ruby-red. Exotic, highly expressive aromas of raspberry liqueur, Asian spices, cola and smoky minerals, with a suave floral overtone building in the glass. Sweet and penetrating on the palate, offering intense red and dark berry and spicecake flavors given spine by juicy acidity. A distinctly elegant, seamless Pinot Noir with superb finishing energy; the gentle tannins are quickly absorbed by the wine's vibrant fruit. A standout of its vintage. As more and more Pinot Noir producers, including those in California, adjust their winemaking style to a market that's asking for low-octane, graceful wines, Cristom's Steve Doerner, who was a pioneer of the style, has become a sort of wizened visionary for a new generation of winemakers. Doerner, who worked at Burgundy's Domaine Dujac in the late 1970s, began to hone his style, which emphasizes whole-cluster fermentations, at Josh Jensen's Calera Winery in the early 1980s and has further refined it since moving to Oregon to help establish this winery in 1992. While Doerner's style of spicy, highly floral Pinot is now commonplace, that was not the case when he first began to make his mark, a fact that he acknowledges with a shrug and slight embarrassment. While he has made small tweaks here and there to his winemaking style over the decades, he told me he still has the same philosophy, "which is to get elegant, complex wines that show their place--so pretty simple." (JR)  (10/2015)

93 points Wine Enthusiast

 This complex wine shows a whiff of stem, from 37% whole-cluster fermentation, and quickly moves into a soft center, loaded with strawberry preserves. It coats the mouth, smooth and textural, with graphite highlights. The tannins are substantial and suggest it's worth tucking into the cellar for a few more years. Drink through 2020. (PG)  (4/2016)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2013 Pinot Noir Marjorie Vineyard comes from a low-density planted vineyard affected by phylloxera (in 2012 one barrel of younger vines was added, and in 2013 it is around 10% of the production.) It has an elegant and floral bouquet, chalky in style, reserved but with plenty of finesse. I like this reserved style of Pinot Noir. The palate is medium-bodied with a slightly leafy opening, the sappy red berry fruit borrowed from the Jessie Vineyard, with a dash of spice towards the finish that lingers nicely in the mouth. This is very fine, again, very Burgundian and persistent, a 2013 that has the foundations to give a decade or more drinking pleasure. (NM)  (6/2016)

92 points Wine & Spirits

 Soft spicy accents—cardamom, anise, hints of five-spice—give this pinot noir some complexity and savor. The flavors, lent textural heft from whole-cluster fermentation, are at once burly and tense, with a firm acid structure framing the wine’s plushness. It feels like sinking into a suede armchair, with much of the pleasure coming from how the plushness is structured, suede in a sturdy frame. Cellar.  (4/2016)

90 points Wine Spectator

 Light in color and light-footed, framing the red berry and cinnamon flavors with delicacy and letting the flavors persist on the open-weave finish. Drink now through 2021. 311 cases made. (HS)  (2/2016)

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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- Highly touted for its Pinot Noirs, Oregon is part of the up-and-coming winemaking industry in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Most of Oregon is directly affected by the climate coming off of the Pacific Ocean, giving it mild winters and wet summers. This makes it a difficult place to ripen grapes, but some say that the harder grapes have to struggle, the more complex they will turn out to be. Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are two important and successful grapes grown in Oregon.
Alcohol Content (%): 14