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St. Innocent Anden Vineyard Pinot Noir 2001

Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
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    Winemaker Notes

    Anden Vineyard (formerly part of Seven Springs Vineyard) overlooks the fertile Willamette Valley from its position in the hills west of Salem. Growing on a steep southeast slope, the vines are protected from maritime winds by a fold in the hills. The vineyard was planted in 1982 on Jory soil, a shallow clay over fractured rock, at an elevation of 400'.

    With the 2001 vintage, our Seven Springs Vineyard Pinot noir has changed. Until 2001, St. Innocent was the only winery to produce a Seven Springs Vineyard Pinot noir from both the original lower block of grapes and the upper block planted in 1998. In 2001, the vineyard was legally divided into two separate properties. The upper block will be called Seven Springs and the lower, Anden Vineyard. From what was one wine, there are now two different vineyard designate wines.

    The vines are 20 years old, quite old by Oregon standards. Anden Pinot noir is the most intense and concentrated of all the 2001 Pinot noirs. It is also the most layered, complex, and nuanced of the St. Innocent Pinot noirs. This wine will develop dramitically with long term aging - and will still be young and developing after 10 years.

    This Pinot noir is endowed with a very deep purple-red hue. Its nose is dominated by wild, black fruits, and has significant hints of pumpkin pie spice and white pepper. At this point, our Anden Vineyard Pinot noir is still very tight with great concentration. I expect it to open significantly by Christmas 2003. This is wine for game and wild mushrooms - those wild and earthy flavors in the food bring out all the layers in this wine.

    Critical Acclaim

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    St. Innocent

    St. Innocent Winery

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    St. Innocent Winery, Willamette Valley, Oregon
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    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.

    Willamette Valley

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    One of Pinot Noir’s most successful New World outposts, the Willamette Valley is the largest and most important AVA in Oregon. With a Mediterranean climate moderated by a Pacific Ocean influence, it is perfect for cool-climate viticulture—warm and dry summers allow for steady, even ripening, and frost is rarely a risk during spring and winter.

    Mountain ranges bordering three sides of the valley, particularly the Chehalem Mountains, provide the option for higher-elevation, cooler vineyard sites. The three prominent soil types here create significant differences in wine styles between vineyards and sub-AVAs. The iron-rich, basalt-based Jory volcanic soils found commonly in the Dundee Hills are rich in clay and hold water well; the chalky, sedimentary soils of Ribbon Ridge, Yamhill-Carlton and McMinnville encourage complex root systems as vines struggle to search for water and minerals. Silty, loess soils are found in the Chehalem Mountains.

    Pinot Noir

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    One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

    In the Glass

    Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

    Perfect Pairings

    Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

    Sommelier Secret

    Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

    EPCSITPNA_2001 Item# 80673