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St. Innocent Seven Springs Pinot Noir 2000
Its nose is dominated by wild, almost brambly fruits, and has significant hints of pumpkin pie spice, white pepper, and wild mushrooms. Initially the layered dark fruit 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. My rational is to either enjoy the freshness of the fruit or wait long enough for the aged flavors to develop. It will be worth the wait.This is the benchmark wine for St. Innocent. Multiple layers of wild black and red fruit, complex pie spice, white and black pepper and, with some age, truffles and farm aromas. Always at its best after 10-12 years. As with the other wines of 2000, the terroir is very transparent.
"Consumers should pay particular attention to Saint-Innocent's offerings. Not only are they some of the finest wines made in Oregon but they are among the most reasonably priced."
-The Wine Advocate
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.