Cristom Vineyards 'Sommers' Reserve Pinot Noir 2008
Cristom's founder and owner, Paul Gerrie, used his skills as an engineer and avid researcher to pursue his passion for wine. On his travels to France, he was introduced to the traditional growing practices of the Burgundy region. He learned that soil ( terroir ) and site were key in developing the complexity of the fruit. After a 1991 visit to the International Pinot Celebration in Oregon, Paul decided the time was right to leave the East Coast and bring his family and his passion for great Pinot Noir to Oregon's burgeoning wine country.
But their journey wasn't complete without a winemaker who shared Paul's vision of "letting the land make the wines." Enter Steve Doerner who, after a quarter century of experience, still believes the winemaker's job is to "optimize what nature — the vineyard — provides." In addition to his reputation as a master winemaker with "keen intuition" (possibly from his French heritage), Steve is a biochemist who had been making wine in California.
And so with a passion that only wine enthusiasts embrace and a precision that can only come from a chemist and an engineer, the two set out to cultivate their vision, which today, can be seen in the seven distinct vineyards on Cristom's 65 acres.
As are most trained scientists, Paul and Steve are keen observers. While they are still advocates of tradition, they continually experiment both in the vineyards and in the cellar. A recent example is the introduction of Viognier to the Willamette Valley. Cristom was one of the first to plant it, even though conventional wisdom assumed the climate was too wet. "We planted it on our sunniest acre and got nice vintages right away," explained Steve.