St. Innocent 2010 Village Cuvée Pinot Noir
For some reason, Oregon Pinot Noir has endured a surprisingly tenuous relationship among buyers in California. To be fair, California wines aren't exactly pervasive in Oregon, but for a region that has staked its reputation on wines that are made in a European fashion--that is to say (typically) low in alcohol and with a sense of place- it is surprising that there isn't more of it around.
But we've been digging the wines from St. Innocent for some time now. Their Momtazi Vineyard Pinot Noir is among the most popular on our half bottle list. We recently added the "Village Cuvée", an equally attractive wine that has been similarly well received as a by-the-glass offering.
Pinot Noir St. Innocent "Villages Cuvée" Willamette 2010 There is a bit of history embedded in this wine. And it has to do with the root louse, phylloxera. Phylloxera is still found in some older European root stock in the Willamette Valley, and many producers are still ripping out vines and planting anew. That was the catalyst for this cuvée from St. Innocent. This wine is a blend of younger vines from three different sites that will eventually make it into vineyard designate wines. Though the fruit is pure and varietally correct for Pinot Noir, winemaker Mark Vlossak feels that the younger vines do not produce a "site specific" wine and waits until the vines are at least 5-6 years old before using them for Vineyard designates.
At the core of this blend are older vines from Vitea Springs Vineyard, one of the oldest vineyards in Oregon. The other "villages" are Freedom Hill, Zenith and Momtazi. After fermentation, the wine is aged for 12 months in oak barrels, 20% of which is brand new. Oregon wine aficionados gushed over the long, even ripening of the 2010 vintage, and this wine shows us why. It is focused and precise with fresh, bright red fruit on the nose. Just beneath the initial fruit are seductive spice and floral notes. Sweet cherry and red berry notes dominate the spicy palate. With a tart, sour cherry finish, this wine gives you everything you want from pinot noir at $12 per glass. Consider your purchase a warranted show of support to our northerly neighbors, and perhaps an important act of regional diplomacy.
Posted May 6, 2012 • Filed under Wine
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