Next year marks the 30th anniversary of the forward-thinking Gerrie family launching Cristom Vineyards in the hills northwest of Oregon’s capital city, and their star-studded team continues to craft some of the region’s best examples of Burgundy varieties. Louise Dinkelspiel was Paul Gerrie’s maternal grandmother, and the 18-acre vineyard he named as a tribute to her ranges from 290 to 440 feet in elevation, making it one of the lowest-elevation plantings at Cristom. Steve Doerner’s decades of working with the clone 95 Chardonnay, native to Côte-d’Or, is evident with this brilliant and fascinating example. It’s remarkably fruit-focused from start to finish, opening with a range of aromatics akin to white peach, apricot, starfruit and jicama while picking up jasmine and white pepper. There’s great weight on the entry to the palate — influenced by the seven months in a barrel program of 20% new French oak — as it moves from lychee and Golden Delicious apple while adding more jasmine and lemon zest toward the vibrant finish. Those who appreciate dry Riesling will enjoy this style of Chardonnay.
Production: 125 cases