J. Christopher

Dedicated Old-World Winemaking in Oregon's Willamette Valley

The J. Christopher winery is located in Oregon’s Northern Willamette Valley, in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. It is a small winery that specializes in Pinot Noir made using the traditional methods of Burgundy. The winery is also one of the few in Oregon to produce Sauvignon Blanc, modeled after the great wines of Sancerre. Owner Jay Somers has been making wine in Oregon for more than 15 years, and established the J. Christopher brand in 1996. Jay’s wines are hand-crafted in small lots and are sourced from some of the best vineyards in Oregon.

The Wines

ELEMENTAL CUVÉES – NEW!

With the 2015 vintage, we are introducing two new labels: Volcanique and Basalte. These wines replace the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, which has been deconstructed into two AVA-specific wines in order to deliver a more focused wine for the same value.

J. Christopher Pinot Noir, Basalte — NEW!

The new Basalte bottling is from vineyards in our home AVA: Chehalem Mountains. It is sourced from our own Appassionata estate vineyard, the Medici Vineyard, which we farm, and our neighbors at Lia’s Vineyard. The Chehalem Mountains are geologically complex and diverse, formed over millennia by lava flows, wind-blown silt (loess), and uplifted sedimentary seabeds. Our vineyards have the extremely rocky volcanic basalt soils that lend themselves to full-bodied, firmly structured wines.

J. Christopher Pinot Noir, Volcanique — NEW!

The new Volcanique bottling is sourced from our favorite volcanic soil vineyards in the Dundee Hills AVA. Home to the first Pinot Noir vines ever planted in Oregon, the Dundee Hills are iconic and established the Willamette Valley as a serious wine region. The deep, well-drained, volcanic Jory clay soil gives us beautifully savory wines with purity and a finely focused structure.

SPECIAL-SELECTION WINES

These wines are special cuvées of Jay’s favorite barrels from each the three AVAs that we work with. They are the ultimate expressions of the unique terroir within each winegrowing area.

J. Christopher Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills Cuvée (Dundee Hills barrel selection)

The Dundee Hills AVA is the acknowledged epicenter of the Willamette Valley and home to some of the very best vineyards in Oregon. It is well-known for its rich, red volcanic Jory soils, which were formed from ancient volcanic basalt and consist of silt, clay and loam. Our Terroir Series Pinot Noir from this appellation is characterized by a fruit-driven elegance, with a deep, earthy complexity.

J. Christopher Pinot Noir, Nuages (Chehalem Mountains barrel selection)

Named in tribute to Django Rheinhart’s “Nuages,” one of winemaker Jay Somers’ favorite gypsy jazz tunes, the Nuages Pinot Noir is selected from the winery’s neighboring vineyards in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. The name “Nuages,” which is French for “clouds,” also pays homage to the moderating influence of Oregon’s autumn cloud cover, which slows ripening to allow for the long hang time that creates fully developed flavors.

J. Christopher Pinot Noir, Lumière (Eola-Amity Hills barrel selection)

Two of the predominant influences on the style of the wines from the Eola Hills are the shallow soils and the cool ocean winds that come through the Coast Range via the Van Duzer Corridor. This lowers temperatures dramatically, especially during late summer afternoons, which helps to retain firm acidity in the fruit. The fruit for this cuvée is from three vineyards in the Walnut Hill area, at the northern end of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA: Dubay, Three Angels and Hirkamp.

OUR SIGNATURE CUVÉE 

J. Christopher Pinot Noir, Sandra Adele (Dundee Hills)

The J. Christopher Sandra Adele Pinot Noir is a cuvée named for Jay’s mother, Sandy. Typically it is a blend of fruit from two outstanding vineyards in the Dundee Hills AVA: Abbey Ridge and Charlie’s Vineyard. This wine shows the delicate mineral and floral aroma that is characteristic of the high-elevation Abbey Ridge vineyard, while also displaying the deeper, more earthy nature of Charlie’s vineyard.

SINGLE-VINEYARD WINES

J. Christopher Pinot Noir, Abbey Ridge Vineyard

If Oregon had a vineyard classification, Abbey Ridge would unquestionably top the list of “grand cru” sites. It lies high up in the Dundee Hills and produces some of the most distinctive wines in the state. From deep volcanic topsoil, this cool, high-elevation site typically yields delicate, finely floral wines with a touch of dried herbs and an engaging mineral depth.

Dr. Loosen & J. Christopher Pinot Noir, Appassionata

This is the original collaboration wine between Jay Somers and Ernst Loosen that started with the 2005 vintage, before the Loosen-Christopher partnership was official. It is a special selection of a few extraordinary barrels to produce a super-cuvée that is dense and powerful, yet retains the Old World style of elegance and finesse. The wine is not released until Jay and Ernst believe it is ready to drink.

WHITE WINES

J. Christopher Sauvignon Blanc, Willamette Valley

Made in the clean, fresh style of France’s Loire Valley, this wine is fermented in stainless steel and does not go through malolactic fermentation. The result is a classic, highly aromatic Sauvignon Blanc with perfect ripeness and excellent acidity.

J. Christopher Sauvignon Blanc, Über-Sauvignon, Willamette Valley

Über-Sauvignon is a single-vineyard Sauvignon Blanc from the Willamette Valley’s excellent Croft vineyard. Mineral-driven aromas, with bracing acidity and a refined texture, make this one of the most interesting wines that we produce.

J. Christopher Cuvée Lunatique, Chardonnay

The Cuvée Lunatique is a fresh and clean Chardonnay that is made in the style of Chablis. To preserve its bright fruit and crisp structure, it is fermented and matured primarily in stainless steel and there is no malolactic fermentation. The name came about because when Jay first got the idea to produce a no oak/no malo Chardonnay, some people thought he was a lunatic. But its growing popularity in the Portland market proves that he wasn’t so crazy after all.

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