J. Christopher and Dr. Loosen Announce New Venture to Make Oregon Pinot Noir

ernie-jay-in-bella-vida-400Invoke the Hoo!!! Old World is joining New World with the formation of a new partnership between our own Ernie Loosen of Dr. Loosen and Oregon-based Jay Somers of J. Christopher Wines.

The new venture, Loosen Christopher Wines LLC, will produce wines under the already-established “J. Christopher” brand.

The venture has purchased a 40-acre property for a new vineyard and J. Christopher Winery on Hillside Drive in Newberg, Oregon. Planting of the first block of Pinot Noir will begin this spring. Barrel cellar construction is planned to occur before the 2010 harvest.

As winemaker, Jay Somers will be in charge of all winery operations. Ernie sees his role as more of an investor providing Somers with a dedicated facility and an estate vineyard, enabling Somers to grow the J. Christopher brand to meet demand in both domestic and international markets.

A Shared Passion for Pinot

Ernie and Jay met some years ago and quickly realized that they share a similar taste and passion for Pinot. Their friendship was cemented in 2004 when Jay traveled to Germany to help the short-handed harvest crew at Dr. Loosen. Since then, they have found it only natural to work together to produce interesting Pinot Noirs that combine Old World and New World ideas.

Ernie says: “I’m very excited about this collaboration because Jay’s wines are the most Burgundian, Old World style I’ve seen anyone make in the United States. Jay doesn’t try to replicate Germany or Burgundy in the New World, but rather to bring an Old World sensibility to the creation of the wine, contributing to great structure and expression of terroir. This collaboration will allow the growth that is needed to enable these elegant wines to be enjoyed around the world.”

Jay says: “This is a great opportunity for us at J. Christopher to move forward to the next level and there’s no one better in the world to take on as a partner than Ernie Loosen. Not only is Ernie one of my favorite people in the world, he has a keen palate, is an excellent winemaker and is immensely talented at presenting wines to the market. This partnership will be much bigger than if each of us tried to make Pinot Noir on our own. We’re super excited about the new vineyard and winery, which will give us a world class space and access to fruit we wouldn’t otherwise have, enabling us to do even better wines in the future.”


Wines produced under the J. Christopher brand will include the following, as well as limited bottlings of single vineyard wines:

J. Christopher Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
The Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is the flagship J. Christopher wine. Blended from excellent vineyards in the Willamette Valley’s different AVAs, including the Dundee Hills, Chehalem Mountain and the Eola Amity Hills. Made in the traditional style with native fermentations and up to 18 months of barrel time, this wine is classic Oregon Pinot Noir.

J. Christopher Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
Blended from Charlie’s, Bella Vida Vineyard, Abbey Ridge, Le Pavillon and La Colina Vineyards. A classic Dundee Hills Pinot Noir that Ernie Loosen refers to as “Super Pinot”. Greets you warmly with aromas of lavender, violets, dusty cherry and minerals. Dark cherries come through on the plate, nestled in soft tannins, supported by a silky texture, and framed by perfectly balanced acidity. A seamless wine with a long and lingering finish.

J. Christopher Willamette Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is the second largest J. Christopher production variety. Although not widely planted in Oregon’s Northern Willamette Valley, Sauvignon Blanc is ideal for our climate and makes fantastic wine here. Made in a clean, fresh style, the wine is fermented in stainless steel and does not go through malolactic fermentation. The result is a classic, highly aromatic Sauvignon Blanc with perfect ripeness and excellent acidity.

Appassionata is a finely selected, limited-production Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. To assemble the wine, Ernst and Jay taste through all of the barrels in the J. Christopher cellars and select a distinctive combination of clones, terroirs and cooperages to produce an elegant Pinot Noir with powerful Oregon fruit and fine Old World structure. Under the new Loosen Christopher Wines venture, Appassionata will continue to be a top of the line special bottling, even- tually coming primarily from estate-grown grapes after the vines on the new vineyard are established. Retail price is $75. The 2006 vintage will be released for the first time this March.

Two Worlds
Two Worlds is a value-priced Pinot Noir. Originally a blend of German and Oregon grapes, this label will be 100 percent Oregon going forward. Two Worlds has a deliciously pure, bright cherry fruit melding with the darker, sturdier structure that often characterizes Oregon Pinot Noir. Two Worlds retails for $16.

Check out the jchristopher website at: www.jchristopherwines.com.

Note: J. Christopher wines are part of our “Friends of Ernie” portfolio. If you’re in the trade, you can meet Jay Somers and the other “Friends of Ernie” winemakers at our special tour of trade tastings March 1-4 in Boston, NYC, Chicago or SFO. See our trade tastings blog post for more info.