St. Innocent Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir 2000
The aroma of dark flowers and black raspberries is the first thing that strikes you as you smell our Shea. Next comes sweet red and black fruit flavors with hints of citrus, mint, red roses and violets. Fresh, bright fruit with great clarity, nice acidity, balanced smoky oak, and a long layered finish complete the package. It was described as 'sexy' by one writer.
Shea Pinot noir is my preferred wine with sweet meat entrees. Duck breast, lamb chops, or any course that emphasizes fresh, sweet flavors will bring out its purity and hedonistic qualities. Lovely while young, it will develop even more sweetness and layers over eight years.
"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.
Yamhill-Carlton, characterized by pastoral, rolling hills composed of shallow, quick-draining, ancient marine soil, is ideal for Pinot noir and other cool-climate-loving varieties. It is in the rain shadow of the Coast Range to its west, whose highest point climbs to an altitude of 3,500 feet. Yamhill-Carlton is actually surrounded by mountains on three sides: Chehalem Mountains to the north, the Dundee Hills to the east and the western Coast Range to its west, which, when it lets Pacific air through, serves to cool the region.
Vineyards grow on the ridges surrounding the two small communities of Yamhill and Carlton and cover about 1,200 acres of this 60,000 acre region, which roughly makes a horse-shoe shape on a map.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”