Neighbours come with mixed reviews. We have always been very lucky, in the few instances in our lives where we have had to live cheek by jowl in university accommodation or suburban streets our neighbours have become life long friends.
For the past 38 years we have lived in relative isolation in the centre of the Piccadilly Valley at the Tiers, surrounded by our vineyards, and those of friends and family.
In Oregon’s Eola Hills our good fortune with neighbours continues. Tunkalilla Vineyard is geographically defined on the back label of the elegant Cristom Vineyards label (www.cristomwines.com) as the square of words bounded on the right (north) by their Eileen vineyard and on the bottom (east) by their Jessie vineyard. Tunkalilla Vineyard is surrounded on three sides by Cristom vineyards.
In 1992 Cristom’s owners, Paul and Eileen Gerrie gave up the high pressure life of Pennsylvania and the oil extraction business to move to McMinnville Oregon with their two children, Christine and Tom (hence Cristom). They took over a run-down pioneer vineyard of the Oregon wine industry planted in the 1970’s.
They employed a young chemist Pinot winemaker from California, Steve Doerner. They are still a team after 19 years and together have crafted from the basalt red soil slopes of their vineyards some of the most compelling Pinot Noirs of the new world and indeed of the whole Pinot universe. (in my opinion the best in the new world).
Their son Tom worked with us at Piccadilly in the 2010 vintage and took particular care of the daily Foggy Hill Pinot hand plunging and became part of the family.
It’s in a corner of the Cristom winery that Tunkalilla Vineyard’s 2 small tanks of Riesling now slowly ferment.
Steve and Tom could not have been more helpful even in the stressful 2010 Oregon vintage and we are blessed to have the Cristom family as neighbours.
Cristom only produce a few thousand cases and tiny quantities of their signature single vineyard wines. I am sure they are able to ship overseas or point you in the direction of the importer of their wonderful wines (www.cristomwines.com).