Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate: 95 pts

1996 Marjorie Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills

Roasted red meats; alkaline, brackish notes; high-toned sealing wax and Islay malt smokiness all accent red berry aromas and flavors in a Cristom 1996 Pinot Noir Marjorie that – every step of the way to its long finish – carries both brightly juicy and intriguingly oxidative messages. What’s more, there is an alluring textural patina yet simultaneously a sense of invigorating tactile impingement. I can’t help but think that this performance is above all a tribute to the old, ungrafted vines that dominate this vineyard, alone among those on the Cristom estate. In tasting the 2009, I referred to “capital-’U’ umami,” and that certainly fits in the present instance as well. This is the sort of “old wine” that shows you the investment of time and treasure in Willamette Pinot is spot-on.