J. Christopher

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Country of Origin: USA
Location: Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley
People: Ernst Loosen, Owner | Timothy Malone, Winemaker

Items

J. Christopher 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Willamette Valley Login WS 90 In Stock
J. Christopher 2016 'Basalte' Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains Login AG 91 WS 91 In Stock
J. Christopher 2017 'J.J' Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley Login In Stock
J. Christopher 2017 'Lumiere' Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills Login In Stock
J. Christopher 2016 'Volcanique' Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills Login WS 91 AG 90 <1 Case

The J. Christopher story begins with two winemakers: one from the Old World and one from the New World.

Ernst "Erni" Loosen, the famed Riesling producer behind Germany’s Dr. Loosen and Villa Wolf wineries, has a lifelong passion for Pinot Noir. With many friends and a wine import business in Oregon, Erni recognized early on that there was something very special going on here in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and he wanted to be a part of it.

Oregon winemaker Jay Somers was making small production Willamette Valley Pinot under the name J. Christopher when Erni met him. Erni was immediately impressed; here, he thought, was a New World wine made in the Old World style, with great structure and expression of terroir. The two soon began collaborating on a high end Pinot that they named Appassionata. A few vintages later, Erni cemented his investment in Oregon by purchasing 40 acres on Chehalem Mountain in Newberg, planting the Appassionata Vineyard, and building the winery where Appassionata and the J. Christopher wines are produced today.

Today, Jay Somers has moved on to produce wine under his JC Somers label. Timothy Malone, who was Jay's right hand man for several years, is now the head winemaker. He employs a patient, unhurried approach in the cellar to produce wines in an Old World style that emphasizes focus, length, and balance.

Top 100 American Wineries of the Year by Wine & Spirits
2019, 2017, 2013


Wine Advocate 2012
"Following international internships and five years with John Paul at Cameron, reflective and experimental-minded Jay Somers founded J. Christopher wines in 1996 with conviction in the principles of biodynamic farming and what he calls “Old World” stylistic sensibility. Meeting a deep-pocketed, multi-talented soul mate and commercial partner in Ernst Loosen of the eponymous Mosel estate, Somers now finds himself in the enviable position of presiding over a newly-constructed and superbly-equipped winery surrounded by a newly-planted former pasture dubbed Appassionata Vineyard (mixed volcanic and sedimentary) whose aspect and proximity to some of Newberg’s best sites (including David Adelsheim’s founding vineyard, not to mention the cluster a mile west on Calkins Lane) can’t help but fire even a jaded wine lover’s imagination; and the wines – given their vibrant style and on the whole extremely reasonable prices – can’t help but stimulate an appetite of more than one sort. Among many unique aspects of J. Christopher is a passion and ambition for Sauvignon Blanc, which Somers and Loosen have backed-up by planting three acres of their home vineyard’s 20 acres with that cepage, the rest being Pinot Noir including – unsurprisingly, given Loosen’s international experience and Somers’ at Cameron – highly, dare I say “colorfully,” diverse vine material including heirloom selections of both Californian and Oregonian origin. Pinot is destemmed – though future deviations from that norm are envisioned – and ferments spontaneously 'which at our ambient temperatures,' notes Somers, 'can take anywhere from 5-10 days.' Extraction is solely via punch-downs and the wine is pressed within a couple of days of reaching dryness; then minimally settled before going to barrel, 25% new. In the newly-dug and exceedingly cold caves, malo is taking place on a Burgundian schedule; in fact, had only recently started when I visited in early June."

Reviews

  • J. Christopher 2016 'Volcanique' Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills
    The Wine Spectator
    Rating: 91 (3/31/2020)

    Graceful and supple, with nuanced raspberry and orange peel flavors, accented by stony minerality on the lingering finish. Drink now through 2026.
  • J. Christopher 2016 'Volcanique' Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills
    Vinous
    Rating: 90 (6/1/2019)

    Displays pungent red berry, cherry and floral qualities on the spice-accented nose, with a zesty mineral nuance adding lift. Offers sappy red and dark berry flavors that show gentle sweetness, good depth and energy. Supple and gently tannic on the nicely persistent finish, which features a lingering cherry quality.
  • J. Christopher 2016 'Basalte' Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains
    Vinous
    Rating: 91 (6/10/2019)

    Bright red. Seductive aromas of fresh cherry and boysenberry, with rose pastille and baking spice nuances adding complexity. Smooth, sweet and lively in the mouth, displaying very good intensity and depth but no excess weight to its nicely concentrated red and dark berry flavors. Clings impressively on a long, spice-laced finish that features a touch of vanilla and silky, harmonious tannins.
  • J. Christopher 2016 'Basalte' Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains
    The Wine Spectator
    Rating: 91 (3/31/2020)

    Opens with sleek and gentle raspberry and rose petal notes, slowly gathering tension, structure and stony minerality toward fine-grained tannins. Drink now through 2026.
  • J. Christopher 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Willamette Valley
    The Wine Spectator
    Rating: 90 (3/31/2020)

    Vibrant and expressive, with floral apricot and peach flavors that finish with a snappy note. Drink now.