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St. Innocent Anden Chardonnay 2006

Chardonnay from Willamette Valley, Oregon
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    Winemaker Notes

    More than a decade ago, it was clear that the future potential for Chardonnay in Oregon would lie in newly available clones from Burgundy-the 'Dijon' clones. As soon as these were available in commercial quantities, I contracted with the growers of Seven Springs (now called Anden) Vineyard to replace all of our California clones with the newer plantings. Production began 1998 and as the vines get older, the resulting wines improve.

    The Seven Springs Dijon clone Chardonnays have a Puligny-like character: sweet fruit and spice with great length. The Freedom Hill Dijon clone Chardonnays are more Mersault-like, darker fruit with a stony minerality and rich textures in the mouth.

    Anden Chardonnay is both fruit and texture driven. For me, great Chardonnay must have lovely fruit, acidity, viscosity, and complexity of flavor. The wood must be in balance and act to compliment the wine, not be "catnip for humans". When Chardonnay is truly layered and in balance, it is very versatile to eat with, and fun to drink. I fully agree that most Chardonnays are mono-chromatic and out of balance. This wine is very layered and has an very long finish.

    2006 was a vintage that produced wines with an added dimension of concentration. The end of September was warmer and sunnier than normal for Oregon. This coincided with the final ripening phase resulting in an extra level ripeness and intensity in the fruit.

    Carmelized pear and ripe citrus aromas are followed by ripe pear and with hints of ginger. This Chardonnay has bright acidity, rich textures throughout the palate and loads of sweet fruit into the finish. The oak component is completely integrated, adding fullness to the texture and length to the finish.

    Try Anden Chardonnay with grilled chicken, tuna, swordfish, lobster (a classic), or even foods as flavorful as duck breast. For reasons that I can not explain, the Chardonnays from this site are fantastic with Asparagus. Usually the bane of wine, the combination enhances the fruit and spice notes in the Anden Chardonnay. Try it and let me know what you think. Mark Vlossak, winemaker

    Critical Acclaim

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    St. Innocent

    St. Innocent Winery

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    St. Innocent Winery, , Oregon
    St. Innocent
    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.

    Clarksburg

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    An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

    In the Glass

    Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

    Perfect Pairings

    Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

    Sommelier Secret

    Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

    EPC12728_2006 Item# 97524

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