1993 Vintage Report
Significantly cooler than 1992, 1993 was a year characterized by bloom in late June that made picking dates some of the latest the Willamette Valley had seen. ’93 had a very cool Spring and ended the year with 2,325 growing degree days (GDD) more than 600 heat units less than the previous year. Though a cool Spring delayed harvest, we were rewarded with a long, warm and dry Fall that allowed us to pick at our convenience.
Harvest began on September 30th with the first Pinot Noir of the year from Madrona Vineyard picked at 24.8° Brix. 1993 was the second, and only other vintage, that the Cristom wines were made entirely from purchased fruit. We purchased fruit from ten different vineyard sites including Madrona Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills, Beaux Freres Vineyard, Archery Summit Vineyard, Seven Springs Vineyard, Freedom Hill Vineyard, Bethel Heights Vineyard, Knudsen Vineyard, Canary Hill Vineyard, Temperance Hill Vineyard and John Thomas Vineyard. The Pinot Noir fruit was picked between September 30thand October 22nd and had accumulated sugar levels between 23.1° Brix and 24.7° Brix from nine different vineyard sites.
1993 marked the first vintage that we picked any fruit from our estate. On October 4th, 1993 we harvested roughly 180 pounds of Marjorie Vineyard Pinot Noir at 23.5° Brix. The first Marjorie harvest was vinified separately and pressed into a quarter-barrel on October 24thyielding 15 gallons – the first Pinot Noir produced from estate grapes.
Harvest ended on November 5th with the last of the Chardonnay grapes. Six different Chardonnay vineyards were brought in at a range of 23.2° – 23.7° Brix. Chardonnay was purchased from five of the same vineyards as in 1992: Temperance Hill Vineyard, Bethel Heights Vineyard, Seven Springs Vineyard, Whistling Ridge Vineyard, Canary Hill Vineyard, and also a vineyard in the Columbia Gorge, Celilo Vineyard. Celilo Vineyard is one of the oldest vineyard plantings in Washington State dating back to the early to mid 1970’s established high above the Columbia River on a southeast facing slope on Underwood Mountain. The Celilo Vineyard fruit impressed our winemaker Steve Doerner enough to bottle the wine as a single vineyard Chardonnay bottling on October 6, 1994 totaling 275 cases. 513 cases of the Willamette Valley Chardonnay was later bottled on October 28th, 1994.
In 1993 Cristom introduced a second white varietal, Pinot Gris, purchased from two different vineyard sites in two states. Freedom Hill Vineyard is in the Willamette Valley outside of Monmouth, Oregon in the foothills of the coastal mountain range. Pinot Gris from Freedom Hill was harvested on October 18th at 22.6° Brix and immediately whole cluster pressed. Celilo Vineyard, located in the western Columbia Gorge in Washington State was harvested at 23.3° Brix on October 23rd.
1993 proved itself to be an incredibly ageworthy vintage. If they’re still in your cellar they’re still drinking exceptionally well and will likely hang on for a couple of more years (as of the fall of 2011).