St. Innocent Freedom Hill Pinot Noir 2008
Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
Freedom Hill Vineyard produces Pinot noirs with structure, depth, and richness as well as a strong sense of minerality. The site is relatively warm from daytime heat that rises up the large, flat valley below. This develops rich skin tannins. Because of its proximity to Oregon Coast range -it is on the edge of the Coast Range of mountains- the vineyard is quite cool at night. This maintains good acidity in the wine. This combination of tannin and acidity produces Pinot noir with great structure. Capturing that intensity and revealing the nuances of the terroir (clay-like earthiness, dried flowers, dark spices) without excess tannins is the key to making great Freedom Hill.
The 2008 has red and black cherry aromas with dark floral, ground spices, pepper and a strong undercurrent of minerality. Dark red fruits on the palate and its signature clay-like earthiness, it finishes with a backbone of ripe tannins and balanced acidity. Perfect for that Porterhouse or T-bone as well as roasts and big pasta dishes. It is best if opened and decanted at least an hour before drinking. Given the ideal ripening conditions in 2008 and the inherent structure of this site, it will benefit from aging up to a decade.
Wine & Spirits - "With hints of mint and thyme adorning forward plum and black cherry scents, this stylish wine, from one of the Valley's oldest vineyards, has a savory core of flavor and a texture that suggests a low center of gravity. It has a fine balance of fruit and savory elements, the sort of balance that would pair with herb-roasted chicken."
The Wine Advocate - "The 2008 Pinot Noir Freedom Hill Vineyard is the first Vlossak has made since 2003 due to the replanting caused by phylloxera. It gives up aromas of pain grille, spice box, incense, black cherry, and black raspberry. Structured and a bit straightforward compared to its peers, even so it is a strong effort that will benefit from several years of additional bottle age.
Wine Spectator - "This tight red shows edgy tannins around a pulsing core of cassis and blackberry fruit, persisting into the long, savory finish. Best from 2012 through 2018"
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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.