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St. Innocent Villages Cuvee Pinot Noir 2013

Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • W&S91
13% ABV
  • WE91
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13% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2013 Villages Cuve Pinot noir returns to the "red wine with white meat and fish" profile I intended for our milti-site Pinot noir. The lovely summer and early harvest in 2013 provided fruit on the edge of ripeness. The cooler temperatures and rain that that began in late September created more balanced and finesse-driven wines. The percentage of fruit from Vitae Springs Vineyard decreased in 2013 because of crop failures due to frost and rain during bloom. Almost half of the Villages Cuve came from mature plantings at our estate, Zenith Vineyard. This is the first time Shea and Temperance Hill wines were included giving it a broader and more layered profile.

It has a nose with nuanced red cherry, berry and cola with, ground spices, menthol, anise, and fresh cut flower notes. It is layered in the mouth with tart cherry, cranberry, wild berry flavors with dark spices, earth, and hints of coffee, cedar, and sassafras. The Villages Cuve will benefit from being opened and decanted for 1-2 hours. Its balanced and layered flavor profile makes it a great match for a wide variety of fish, wild bird, pork and other medium-bodied preparations. Bottled in September '14, it is approachable now and can be aged up to 5 years to gain complexity.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 91
Wine & Spirits
There’s a sumptuous oak character to this pinot, a blend drawn largely from Eola–Amity Hills sources including Zenith, Mark Vlossak’s estate vineyard. It takes a day for that nutty graham-cracker sweetness to recede, and when it does, some beautiful fruit is revealed, dark, concentrated and grippy. This needs a year in the cellar to knit.
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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 finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

In the Glass

Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Villages or Cru level wines.

MSW30127577_2013 Item# 142237