Paul Gerrie’s maternal grandmother was the namesake of Louise Vineyard, the first Cristom estate vineyard planted. 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. Louise Vineyard Pinot Noir was first released in 1996. It typically has more acid and tannin than other single vineyard estate Pinot Noirs – a result of its lower elevation and warmer site.
On its lowest elevations (300 ft) Louise’s vines are planted on a Missoula flood soil known as Helvetia, a very deep, moderately drained silt loam that formed over clay. As the vineyard elevation rises towards its 445 foot peak, the soil changes to volcanic. Nekia and Ritner soils are both moderately deep and well drained, but Nekia is a silty clay loam while Ritner is more gravely. Both volcanic soils are derived from Columbia River basalts and are found elsewhere on the Cristom estate.
Farmed sustainably since the first vines went into the ground, Louise is densely planted with 2,311 vines per acre throughout most of the vineyard. The vines are entirely vertically shoot positioned (VSP), cane pruned, and single-guyot trained along the fruiting wire. The Pommard block closest to our parking lot is the only block of Louise planted to 1,815 vines per acre – still a dense planting by Oregon standards. The fruit from this low elevation Pommard block gets a lot of sun and is often the first fruit of the season to be harvested. Though densely planted, yields are always restricted to 2 tons per acre.
Textured, layered and creamy on the palate and often recognizable by its bouquet of sweet spices.
Clones & Rootstocks
When Cristom purchased the property in 1992, the land where Louise is now planted was a vineyard in need of significant attention. Today, Louise Vineyard has 9.3 acres of Pinot Noir vines planted with Dijon clones 113, 114, 115, 777 and Pommard.