Good news for Loosen’s Willamette Pinot Noir

Our good friends at J. Christopher in Oregon’s Willamette Valley have been cheered by some good news of late.

First, they’re just bloody relieved to escape the hellish fires that have wreaked such destruction upon the U.S. west coast, including vineyards in both Oregon and California. Our hearts go out to all those affected, and we’re thankful that these guys are safe.

On an another note, they’re thrilled to announce that their former assistant winemaker, Timothy Malone, has returned to take the helm. Tim began his new chapter at J. Christopher on 1st September and immediately dived into 2020 harvest preparations with the rest of the team.

“It’s such a pleasure to work with Tim,” says Erni Loosen, Riesling legend and owner of the estate. “He’s always so upbeat and fun to be around. And he knows exactly what we’re trying to achieve with the wines, because he played a major part in developing the J. Christopher approach to winemaking.”

Native New Yorker Tim served as assistant winemaker from 2008 to 2015, and helped drive every aspect of J. Christopher’s winemaking. He also trained current cellar master, Mick Trask.

“J. Christopher has been everything to me in terms of my wine education – it’s been my whole upbringing,” says Tim. “I love this facility. I love the people. And I’m really looking forward to getting back in there and focusing on making exceptional wines.”

Tim left J. Christopher in 2015 to focus on his own label, Timothy Malone Wines. Today, we’re reporting a best-of-both-worlds story as he returns to direct J. Christopher while keeping up his own brand on the side.

2016 J. Christopher Willamette Pinot Noir $82

The 2016 Willamette Valley bottling is sourced from several of Jay Somers’s favourite 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 savoury wines with purity and a finely focused structure. 100% Pinot Noir (Pommard, Wadenswil, Coury and Dijon 777 clones) grown on the Baptista Maresh, La Colina, Charlie’s and Bella Vida vineyards. All are sustainably dry farmed, giving average yields of 2.3–2.7 tonnes per acre. 100% destemmed; fermented with native yeasts; natural malolactic conversion; 19 months in barriques (25% new); no fining or filtration.

2015 J. Christopher Pinot Noir Nuages $102

Deep vivid red. Ripe red berries, cherry pit, violet and woodsmoke on the pungent nose; mineral and white pepper flourishes add lift and urgency. Silky, sweet and nicely concentrated, offering black raspberry and cherry cola flavours and a touch of succulent herbs. Delivers a solid punch but comes off energetic, even lithe, displaying smooth tannins and a resonating floral note on the persistent finish.

91 points. Josh Raynolds, Vinous Media

2016 J. Christopher Pinot Noir Sandra Adele $148

Shimmering red. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red/blue fruits, exotic spices, and suave floral and vanilla nuances that gain strength with aeration. Sweet, seamless and energetic on the palate, displaying a refined blend of richness and energy to its vibrant, mineral-laced boysenberry, cherry-cola and rose pastille flavours. Shows impressive power on the gently tannic finish, which lingers with excellent, floral-driven tenacity.

94 points. Josh Raynolds, Vinous Media

2015 J. Christopher Pinot Noir Sandra Adele $148

Dark bright-rimmed red. A complex, highly perfumed bouquet displays spice-tinged raspberry liqueur, cherry cola, underbrush and floral pastille scents, along with a deeper cola nuance and a touch of smoky minerality. Concentrated and seamless in texture, showing superb delineation and energy to the red berry preserve, cherry pie and spicecake flavours. Finishes extremely long and broad, featuring smooth, slow-building tannins and lingering rose pastille and Chambord notes.

93 points. Josh Raynolds, Vinous Media

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