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St. Innocent Freedom Hill Pinot Noir 2009

Pinot Noir from Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • W&S94
  • RP92
13.5% ABV
  • WE92
  • RP91
  • WE92
  • JS91
  • W&S93
  • RP91
  • WS90
  • RP94
  • RP90
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4.0 2 Ratings
13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 94
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.
RP 92
Robert Parker's 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.
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St. Innocent

St. Innocent Winery

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St. Innocent Winery, Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
2009 Freedom Hill Pinot Noir
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.

Eola-Amity Hills

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Running north to south, adjacent to the Willamette River, the Eola-Amity Hills AVA has shallow and well-drained soils created from ancient lava flows (called Jory), and marine sediments, rocks and alluvial deposits. These soils create vines that produce small grapes with great concentration. Like in the McMinnville sub-AVA, cold Pacific air streams in via the VanDuzer corridor and assists the maintenance of higher acidities in its grapes. This great concentration, combined with marked acidity, give the Eola-Amity Hills their distinct character. While the region covers 40,000 acres, no more than 1,400 acres are covered in vine.

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.

FBR103558_2009 Item# 113037

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