J Christopher Pinot Noir Lumiere Special Selection 2016

Magical Oregon Pinot: 2016 J. Christopher Pinot Noir Lumiere

The 2016 J. Christopher Pinot Noir Lumiere Special Selection deserves mention as one of the top wines of the highly acclaimed vintage. Rated 94 points by Wine Spectator, it is a micro-production blend of top barrels from three excellent vineyard sites.

Just 270 cases were produced and Table Wine was lucky to snag 3 of those cases. 

J. Christopher Pinot Noir Lumiere Special Selection 2016

2016 J. Christopher Pinot Noir 'Lumiere Special Selection'

94 points Wine Spectator


The J. Christopher story is a great one. Jay Christopher Somers came to wine in a roundabout way. For years, he was a brewer for McMenamins, a family-owned chain of breweries, brewpubs, music venues and hotels in Oregon and Washington. But after meeting the love of his live Ronda, who preferred wine over beer, Jay made a career change. And he embraced his new wine passion with vigor. He worked, trained and learned under Don Kautzner at Adelsheim and John Paul at Cameron Winery for several years before founding his namesake winery in 1996.

Fast forward to 2010 when famed German winemaker Ernst Loosen first tasted one of Jay’s wines. Ernie was immediately smitten with Jay’s winemaking style and the two formed a partnership around Pinot Noir. Their shared philosophy is to produce wines in an Old World style that emphasizes focus, length and balance. Together, they purchased a 40-acre property on Chehalem Mountain where they producer their estate-bottled wines. But Jay maintained his long-term contracts with other top growers scattered throughout the Willamette Valley.

And that brings us to the Lumiere Special Selection bottling which comes entirely from the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, just 15 miles southwest of the winery. The cooling influence of the Van Duzer Corridor allows cool ocean breezes to flow in from the west. And this results is temperatures dropping dramatically during late summer afternoons which in turn helps to retain zesty acidity in the grapes. Coming from three vineyards, all dry-farmed and sustainable, the grapes are hand harvested , 100% destemmed and fermented low and slow with native yeasts. After fermentation, the wine is aged for 18 months in French barrique (25% new) and is bottled with minimal fining and filtration.

I know I’m throwing a lot of info at you, but I want to help you understand how great wines are made. They are not just thrown together. Far from it, patience and attention to detail are of paramount importance and that is what’s going on here. And the result is absolutely stunning. Wine Spectator summed it up very nicely. “Harmonious, with a lithe structure, offering expressive cherry and black raspberry flavors, laced with orange peel and spiced cinnamon notes and gathering minerality toward refined tannins.”

The combination of silky fruit, earth, spice, and beautiful texture is what I would describe as “Prototype Oregon Pinot Noir.” If you’ve made it this far, I admire your tenacity and I hope you score a few bottles of this one. 

Josh Spurling
Owner, Operator, Wine Monger
Table Wine Asheville


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