Louise Vineyard was named for founder Paul Gerrie’s maternal grandmother and was the first vineyard Cristom began planting in 1993. Louise Vineyard is distinctly different from our other estate Pinot Noir vineyards on the hillside because it can be divided into “upper” Louise and “lower” Louise across the 290 feet to 440 feet (88 m to 134 m) elevation change. Louise Vineyard is the only Pinot Noir vineyard on the Cristom estate that can claim this dramatic soil diversity and we believe it has contributed to the balance in the wines that have come from this densely planted vineyard since its initial release from the 1996 vintage.
Louise will often produce the most firmly structured Pinot Noir of all the single vineyards and can have the darkest fruit profile in the estate lineup. It typically has more acid and tannin than other single vineyard estate Pinot Noirs – a result of its lower elevation and warmer site. Full of deep and silky tannins, Louise lingers on the palate, her story will slowly unfold for years to come.
Upper Louise is planted at 2,311 vines/acre (5,710 vines/ha) in very deep Columbia River Basalt soils known as Jory that grades downslope to moderately deep Nekia. Both of these soils are known to be mineral rich and very well draining allowing the roots to drive deep in the ground. The upper corner of the 9.31 acres (3.77 hectares) vineyard lies in a sun shadow and is often the last fruit harvested off of the estate.
“Lower” Louise has a strong influence of Missoula Flood deposits in addition to the moderately well drained soils formed from sedimentary rocks. The Pinot Noir vines planted closest to the winery are planted at 1,815 vines/acre (4,485 vines/ha) entirely on Missoula Flood silts known as Helvetia, a very deep, moderately drained silt loam that formed over clay, and is often the first fruit harvested at Cristom.
Clones & Rootstocks
Louise Vineyard has 9.31 acres of Pinot Noir vines planted with Dijon clones 113, 114, 115, 777 and Pommard.
Textured, layered and creamy on the palate and often recognizable by its bouquet of sweet spices.
The maritime climate of Louise Vineyard has moderately warm days and especially cool nights, allowing the vines to retain acidity and produce intense and fragrant aromas and flavors. Thanks to a slope that separates the upper and lower parts of the vineyard, Louise is distinctive because it usually has some of the first and last fruit harvested each year. As the vineyard with the lowest elevation, Louise is the last estate vineyard to receive the cool Pacific Ocean breezes that flow through the Van Duzer Corridor. The corridor allows cool marine breezes to flow east into the Willamette Valley and moderates high summer temperatures, cools the vines, and moves air through the canopy to reduce disease pressure. This cool ocean air results in lower average temperatures at night than the northern Willamette Valley, and helps to maintain good acid structure in the wines. Due to our altitude and location on the 45th parallel, there is a high diurnal temperature variation at our estate – meaning that there is a significant difference (often 35 degrees or more) between Louise’s daytime high and nighttime lowest temperature during the growing season. This significant temperature shift preserves the natural acids in the grapes, helps encourage the grapes to ripen slowly, and often can result in later picking dates and thus more hang-time on the vine.