St. Innocent Freedom Hill Pinot Noir 2009
Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
Freedom Hill Pinot Noir 2009 has both great fruit - sweet dark cherries - and great structure. Its nose is both intense and rich with dark berries, wild flowers, roasted sweet spices and has hints of soy, orange blossoms and pain epice. It is equally broad and deep on the palate with a mixture of dark berries, dark earth, roasted fig, and caramelized fruits. These flavors continue well into its lengthy finish with forest floor notes mixing with a complex of dark fruits. This is a wine for richly flavored foods with complex, roasted flavors like ratatouille, lasagne, and for winemaker Mark Vlossak, its signature dish, Porterhouse steak with fried potatoes. It can be enjoyed after decanting 2-3 hours or aged for 12 years.
Wine & Spirits - "This savory pinot leads with beguiling scents of plum and anise, suggesting even in its bouquet that it's a high-toned wine. The fresh core of fruit is supported by a fine vinous texture and a white pepper spiciness that runs through many St. Innocent wines, a character winemaker Mark Vlossak attributes to his preference for warmer fermentations. With firm soil-inflected tannins, this is poised for a long life. Or serve it now with wild mushroom pasta."
The Wine Advocate - "A St. Innocent 2009 Pinot Noir Freedom Hill displays candied and maraschino cherry with a sizzle of cinnamon, but also – somehow without any sense of misfit – tart-edged blackberry, charred red meats, and savory pan scrapings from same, leading to a vibrant finish of uncontrolled salivation, intense spice, and sappy-sweet persistence. I'd plan to follow this for at least a decade. "
International Wine Cellar - "Deep red. Sexy black raspberry and cherry aromas are complicated by sassafras, cola and dried rose. Deeply pitched cherry-vanilla and dark berry flavors are enlivened and nicely framed by a spicy quality. Fine-grained tannins add shape and grip to the long, sappy, appealingly spicy finish. This should reward at least another five years of patience."
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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.
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