2012 Cristom "Signature Cuveé" Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

SKU #1261956 94 points Vinous

 Vivid red. Deeply pitched cherry-cola, sandalwood and spicecake scents, along with suggestions of blood orange and smoky minerals. Stains the palate with energetic red and dark berry liqueur flavors complemented by deeper anise and bitter chocolate nuances. Shows alluring sweetness and spiciness on the silky, focused, gently tannic finish, with the red berry and spice notes repeating. This is only the fifth time this special limited barrel selection from multiple vineyards has been offered since Cristom was established in 1992. 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. (JR)  (7/2015)

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Price: $149.99
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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.