The raw material from Shea Vineyard's Pinot gris vines is exceptional. The 2001 vintage was picked at a potential alcohol of 14% and fermented dry. The flavors and the concentration are unusually intense from this great Pinot gris site. My winemaking style focuses on building texture and complexity into the wine. By fermenting 20% of the juice in new wood, another layer of texture is added. The wine is aged for 14 months (most Pinot gris are bottled 4-8 months after harvest) and this additional time lets the wine evolve more completely before bottling.
Shea Vineyard produced St. Innocent's richest and most textural Pinot gris. Aromas of white fruits - peaches, kiwi, melon, and pineapple are layered with intense spice. The flavors of fruit and spice are enhanced by the wine's depth of flavor and complexity on your palate.
My Alsatian winemaking hero, Andre Ostertag, speaks of how great Pinot gris moves on your palate. The Shea moves laterally over your palate and the place you taste it is constantly changing. Try it in comparison to the Vitae Springs Pinot gris, which is a much more linear wine, and you can experience the textural differences.
The finish is long, with spice and lingering hints of dried fruit. I expect this Pinot gris to continue to develop over several years. There are no old Pinot gris from this site, however the 1998 Shea Pinot gris has remarkable complexity and purity of fruit at five years of age. It is still young and, with the dry fruit characters still increasing, I expect it to improve for at least four more years
Because of Shea Vineyard's richness, the best matches are with more richly flavored shellfish and white meat dishes prepared with complex or slightly spicy sauces. Prawns, scallops, and game birds, as well as pork tenderlion, that are sauced with salsas, fruit reductions, or sauces with hints of hot peppers would be great matches.