The Cuvée Lunatique is a fresh and lively Chardonnay that is made in a style inspired by the finely structured, steely white wines of the Mâcon in Burgundy. To preserve its bright fruit and crisp texture, it is produced in a stainless steel tank, with no malolactic fermentation. This winemaking method creates a very refreshing wine that balances delicious fruitiness with energizing mineral tension.
Terroir-focused wines from Oregon’s Willamette Valley
Produced in Oregon’s Northern Willamette Valley, the range of J. Christopher Wines follows a patient winemaking approach that clearly expresses the unique character of their cool-climate roots. Owned by the renowned Mosel winegrower, Ernst “Erni” Loosen (of Dr. Loosen), the wines are hand-crafted in small lots and are sourced from some of the finest sustainably-managed vineyards in the area.
The goal of J. Christopher Wines is to showcase the Old World finesse and elegance that Erni has always pursued in his German wines. As he puts it, “We want to make wines that have a fine balance of fruit, acidity and texture, while expressing their individual origins.” The key to this is unhurried winemaking, which allows the wines to evolve at their own pace, with a minimum of intervention.
About Appassionata Vineyard
Named for the high-end “Appassionata” cuvée that launched Erni’s foray into Oregon Pinot Noir, the Appassionata Estate vineyard was planted with various clones of Pinot Noir over a four year period, starting in 2010. In addition to 17 acres of Pinot Noir, there is a two-acre block of Chardonnay and one acre of Sauvignon Blanc. The vineyard is being farmed according to sustainable, environmentally sensitive practices (Salmon Safe, but not certified).
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This Chardonnay was fermented in large (500-liter) oak casks, where it rested on the full lees for nearly two years. The fruit is from vineyards in three AVAs of the Willamette Valley: our own Appassionata Vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains, Yamhill-Carlton and Eola-Amity Hills. With a fine aromatic richness and an elegant, mineral-infused embrace of the palate, it celebrates the stony soils and the sunny ripeness that Chardonnay can achieve in our corner of Oregon.
Although it is not widely planted in Oregon’s Northern Willamette Valley, Sauvignon Blanc is ideal for this climate and makes fantastic wine here. Harvested from a small parcel of Sauvignon Blanc that we have in our estate vineyard, our Sauvignon Blanc is made in the clean, fresh style of France’s Loire Valley. It is cool-fermented and matured for four months in large acacia barrels and does not go through malolactic fermentation. The result is a classic, highly aromatic Sauvignon Blanc with excellent acidity.
The Basalte Pinot Noir is our bedrock bottling from the Willamette Valley. It is sourced from vineyards that have fairly thin volcanic clay topsoil over fractured basalt. This type of very rocky soil lends itself to muscular, firmly structured wines, with persistent length. The Basalte captures this expressive character of the soil, with deep red fruit and a fine tannic structure that maintains the elegant style we are seeking.
The Eola-Amity Hills AVA lies about 15 miles southwest of the winery, where a notch through the Coast Range allows cool ocean winds to flow in from the west, dropping temperatures dramatically during late summer afternoons. This helps to retain firm acidity in the fruit. The 2019 is warm and full in the aroma, with a lush fruitiness on the palate. A spicy vibrance gives it a wonderfully lively and delicate texture.
The Volcanique cuvée is a selection of outstanding barrels from vineyards we work with in the Dundee Hills. The wine showcases the savory quality, the fruit purity, and the fine-grained texture that characterizes the deep, red volcanic clay of these hills. The 2019 is an excellent example, with its delicately floral fruit aromas, silky texture and structural finesse. As with all of our wines, it has the depth and structure to age gracefully for many years.
The Bieze vineyard sits high up in the Eola Hills, where it benefits from cool ocean breezes that flow through the Van Duzer Corridor, a break in the Coast Range. This allows for longer hang time, as the grapes ripen more slowly while retaining superb acidity. The Pommard clone of Pinot is grown here in soils formed from layers of volcanic basalt. The 2019 bursts out of the glass with very energizing fruit aromas. On the palate it has an energetic structure and a vibrant finish.
This special cuvée is from our own Appassionata Vineyard, which surrounds the Appassionata Estate winery. We have a great diversity of soil types and clones, giving us many options for the blending palette. This edition is a blend of fruit from the rockiest parts of the vineyard, which has thin volcanic clay topsoil over fractured basalt bedrock. It’s amazing to see how this very rocky soil is reflected in the firm structure, dark, brambly fruit and forceful texture of the wine.
The Medici vineyard is situated on the south-facing Chehalem Mountain slope, just a few miles east of the J. Christopher winery. The oldest blocks were planted in 1976, producing lovely, distinctive Pinot Noir and Riesling fruit. We took over the farming in 2015 and immediately converted it to organic viticulture. The old vines bring complexity and layers of minerality, with less of an emphasis on overt fruitiness, making this an ideal site for our style of winemaking.
The Bella Vida vineyard is one of the most beautiful sites in the heart of the Dundee Hills. With its deep red Jory clay and its stunning view of the Willamette Valley, this vineyard consistently produces exceptional fruit that captures the essence of this beautiful place on earth. The 2019 has a rich, spicy aroma and an elevated lushness on the palate, with the finesse and fine tannin structure that are characteristic of these hills.