St. Innocent Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009
Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
The Shea has aromas of deep red fruits with sweet floral highlights and hints of sweet caramel. Big ripe fruits dominate the entry onto the palate followed by sweet spices, summer flowers and hints of dried red flowers into the finish. This is a wine that begins with immense sweet fruit and then adds layers of dense complexity that carry into the finish with a solid backbone of tannins. Its concentration and solid structure will allow it to evolve slowly over many years.
All the wines produced from Shea are structured for long term aging. It evolves slowly over the 6-12 months after release and will peak in 12-18 years. This is a wine for those who seek Pinot noirs with multiple layers of flavor and aroma while revealing the details of this great terroir.
Tasting Panel - "Beautifully aromatic with dense, lush notes of exotic wood, spice and meaty black cherry; rich and yet neatly balanced by a good acid structure; long and opulent."
International Wine Cellar - "Ruby-red. Complex, perfumed bouquet of raspberry and cherry compote, potpourri, allspice and anise. Sappy, gently sweet red fruit flavors gain flesh and heft with aeration, with an energetic undercurrent of minerals adding vivacity. The spicy, focused finish clings with impressive tenacity."
Burghound.com - "A very deeply pitched nose of ripe dark berries, briar and earth aromas gives way to textured and quite delicious medium weight flavors that possess plenty of mouth coating dry extract but here the tannins are much more robust on the commendably long finish. This is not particularly elegant but it is well-balanced and harmonious and fashioned in a bigger, richer and more powerful style."
Wine Spectator - "Smooth and velvety, this ripe red shows cherry and spice flavors, with a floral note adding interest to the lively finish. Drink now through 2016. 920 cases made. "
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St. Innocent Winery
St. Innocent Winery was founded in May 1988 by Mark Vlossak, the current winemaker and president, and eight investors. Ten tons of grapes were crushed the first fall, producing 396 cases of still and 176 cases of sparkling wine. Production increased to our full capacity of 6800 cases in 2004. The winery is located in Salem, Oregon, at the southeast corner of the Eola Hills, in the mid-Willamette valley.
St. Innocent produces small lot, handmade wines: seven single vineyard Pinot noirs and a blended Pinot noir called the Villages Cuvée, two Chardonnay from Dijon clone plantings, two Pinot gris, and a Pinot blanc.
The philosophy behind the winemaking at St Innocent is that the function of wine is to complement and extend the pleasure of a meal. The characteristics of a wine should enhance different food and flavor combinations - this interaction amplifies the pleasure of a meal. To this end, St. Innocent wines tend toward higher acid levels, and more diverse and balanced flavors. View all St. Innocent Winery Wines
About Willamette ValleyView a map of Willamette Valley wineries (will-AAM-it)
Named for the river that runs through the valley from Portland to Eugene, Willamette Valley is home to some of the best Pinot Noir vineyards in the Northwest. While along the same north/south line as Seattle, the Willamette Valley is protected from Pacific rains by the Coast Range on the western border and the Cascade Ranges to the east. Though sunshine is typically plentiful, rainfall can occasionally be tricky, and the wines here vary vintage to vintage. Within the Willamette Valley are are number of sub-regions, including McMinnville, Dundee and Yamhill.
Notable FactsThe valley is known for its Pinots – Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. With a climate similar to Burgundy – in rainfall, sunlight hours and other climate factors – Pinot Noir has flourished here. Pinot Noir in Oregon produces wines that are fruit forward, yet complex, some with good agebility.
Other than Pinot Noir, many wineries grow Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Pinot Gris from Oregon is delightful in its texture and food friendliness. Chardonnay in the valley adapts well to the cool climate and produces lean, elegant wines.
About OregonOregon has long been an agricultural state, producing everything from hazelnuts to cattle. The Willamette Valley in particular is a fertile basin for all sorts of produce. Not quite pegged as a wine state, in 1965, a UC Davis graduate named David Lett decided that the Willamette's climate mirrored that of Burgundy in France. With that in mind, he decided to plant some Pinot Noir clones to see how they did. And a good gamble it was. The Willamette is now one of the only regions in the world to focus solely on Pinot Noir as its red variety. Also known for Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. The southern part of Oregon has been slower in delving into the world wine market, but has been making excellent strides with their Rhone style varietals, like Syrah and Grenache. There are also coastal regions producing promising wines.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.