As a generalization, the west coast of the US has more sunshine compared to most of the old world wine regions. More sun = riper grapes – meaning more intense fruit flavors and higher alcohol levels.
Cristom’s Pinot Gris vineyard is planted not only as a welcome to visitors as they drive up, but sit in an unusual weather pattern that can bring swings of 35 degree changes between day and night. What this does to the grapes is stop their ripening as the sun sets thereby preserving the acid in the grapes and allowing ripeness to stay slow and steady – in essence this vineyard is getting the best of all possible worlds. Another unusual aspect is that the vineyard has two very distinct and different soil types that impart flavors that complement each other and add depth to the wine.
In 2015 Cristom decided to change things up and experiment with their Pinot Gris by dividing their harvest in two, taking half of the grapes and using whole cluster *(need a hyperlink to explain whole cluster)*at pressing. The whole cluster wine was light and delicate, and when blended into their other half, created an even more complex and satisfying final wine.
“Light bright straw. Zesty, mineral-tinged citrus fruits and white flowers offering tightly focused lemon and green apple flavors that slowly flesh out with air. Shows very good energy and stony cut on the finish, which hangs on with strong, spicy tenacity.” – Josh Raynolds, Vinous 91pts
I would say this is a wonderful blending of a rich Alsatian style, a high acid style of Italy, with wonderful New World fruit.