Beginning in 2001, our Seven Springs Vineyard Pinot noir changed. Before 2001, St. Innocent was the only winery to produce a Seven Springs Vineyard Pinot noir from both the original lower block of grapes (now called Anden)and the upper block which was planted in 1988. In 2001, the vineyard was legally divided into two separate properties. The upper block is still called Seven Springs. From what was one wine, there are now two different vineyard designate wines.
For the last two years, I have maintained that 2002 was not significantly different in quality from 2001. Our yields were very similar, between 2.0 and 2.3 tons per acre. At harvest the fruit seemed similarly mature and brix levels were almost identical. I was wrong. As I have released the Pinot noirs from 2002, each one has blown me away with the purity and complexity of their fruit. They all have wonderful balance, intensity, and length. This is clearly a spectacular vintage and Shea, Seven Springs, and Freedom Hill Pinot noirs are not to be missed.
Seven Springs is the benchmark wine for St. Innocent. Its nose is dominated by sweet, wild, almost brambly fruits, and has significant hints of pumpkin pie spice, white pepper, and wild mushrooms. Initially the layered dark red flavors dominate, then spices and complex focused flavors follow into its long finish. This is wine for game and wild mushrooms - those wild and earthy flavors in the food bring out all the layers in this wine.
I suggest that you either drink Seven Springs when it is young (up to four years from vintage) or wait until it is at least eight years old. In the early years, you will enjoy the freshness of the fruit balanced with its rustic qualities. By waiting longer, aged flavors develop and Seven Springs will increase in both intensity and purity of its components. It will be worth the wait. Seven Springs Pinot noirs will continue developing for at least 12 years.