Great Wines Are Grown Before They Are Made
We cultivate long-standing relationships with growers who believe, as we do, that high quality is vastly more important than high yields. Our top two fruit sources are our own Appassionata Vineyard and the nearby Medici Vineyard, both of which we farm according to Salmon Safe guidelines for sustainable viticulture. For the balance of our fruit, we work directly with some of the best growers and vineyards in Oregon’s Northern Willamette Valley.
In the cellar, as in the vineyards, our approach is a patient, Old-World style that allows wines the time they need to develop naturally. We let our wines evolve at their own pace, with a minimum of intervention, to give them a chance to develop balance, texture and length rather than merely massive fruit. Wines made in this unhurried style develop the structure for great ageability. But most importantly, they really let you taste the differences in their terroir – and that’s what makes different wines so fun and interesting to drink.
With our Appassionata wines, we take our commitment to unhurried winemaking even further. Appassionata – the label we reserve for our very top-of-the-line wines – was Erni Loosen’s first foray into making Oregon Pinot Noir, and he remains directly involved in making these special wines. We don’t release the Appassionata Pinot Noirs until Erni feels that they’re properly matured, which is generally 8 to 10 years or more. The Appassionata Riesling GG matures in the barrel on full lees for a year before it’s bottled, and matures in our cellar for another year before it’s released.
J. Christopher wines are available at your local retailer — or (in most U.S. states) you can buy them right from our online store.
Place matters. Our Pinot Noir is made to reflect where it comes from. We offer a range of Pinots that showcase the diversity of the valley’s soils, microclimates and distinct terroirs:
- At the top of the range, the limited-production Appassionata Pinot Noir is our very best cuvée, finely selected from the vintage’s top barrels and matured for a decade before release.
- Other top barrels go into our single-vineyard Pinots, bottled to reflect the singular qualities of some of the finest vineyards in the Willamette Valley.
- Our Special Selection wines are small-production, single-AVA blends focusing on just a couple of vineyards selected for their unique character.
- Rounding out the collection is our bedrock cuvée, Basalte, from rocky vineyards near us in the Chehalem Mountains.
Wines we normally produce in every vintage:
- Appassionata Pinot Noir
- J. Christopher Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir (Chehalem Mountains)
- J. Christopher Medici Vineyard Pinot Noir (Chehalem Mountains)
- J. Christopher Bella Vida Vineyard Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills)
- J. Christopher Bieze Vineyard Pinot Noir (Eola-Amity Hills)
- J.Christopher Lumière Special Selection Pinot Noir (Eola-Amity Hills)
- J. Christopher Volcanique Special-Selection Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills)
- J. Christopher Basalte Pinot Noir (Chehalem Mountains)
Chardonnay is the natural companion to Pinot Noir. Like Pinot, it beautifully reveals the soil and climate of the place in which it is grown. Our pure, unadorned Cuvee Lunatique Chardonnay is produced in a combination of stainless steel and neutral oak barrels with no malolactic fermentation, which results in a classic cool-climate expression of the variety.
Wines we produce:
- J. Christopher Cuvée Lunatique Chardonnay (Willamette Valley)
We make dry rosés for easy-drinking and pure enjoyment. Our pink wine is a blend of Grenache and Syrah sourced from vineyards on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge. We also offer an estate Pinot Noir Rosé that’s a little less dry, with very nice fruit.
Wines we produce:
- J. Christopher Cristo Irresisto Oregon Pink Wine
- J. Christopher Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir Rosé
We produced our first vintage of the Appassionata Riesling GG in 2017. GG, or Grosses Gewächs, means “great growth” in German; it’s a term reserved for top-of-the-line dry Rieslings. The Appassionata GG is a dry, single-vineyard Riesling from the Medici Vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains, just a few miles from the winery. We farm this vineyard ourselves, using organic methods, to coax the very best from the special 40-year-old, ungrafted vines. Then we use the same gentle winemaking approach that Erni uses with his Dr. Loosen GGs, fermenting the wine in a 3,000-liter oak cask that we shipped from Germany and letting it sit on the full lees for at least a year before bottling. The wine continues to mature for another year in bottle before we release it. This extended maturation allows the wine to clarify naturally and find its own perfect balance.
Wines we produce:
- Appassionata Riesling GG
- Appassionata Late Harvest Riesling (not produced every year)
Sauvignon Blanc, although not widely planted in the Willamette Valley, is ideally suited to the same climate as Pinot Noir. We offer a few different takes on this noble white grape. Our Willamette Valley Sauvignon Blanc is more delicate and focused, with a bright, refreshing finish, while our Über Sauvignon, produced in acacia barrels, showcases the intensity and richness that are possible with this unique variety.
Wines we produce:
- J. Christopher Willamette Valley Sauvignon Blanc
- J. Christopher Über Sauvignon (produced in acacia barrels)