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St. Innocent Vitae Springs Pinot Gris 2003

Pinot Gris/Grigio from Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • RP87
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Most of my Pinot gris eggs are in this basket. Six years ago I asked Earl Van Volkinburg, the grower, to quadruple the acreage, and those vines are now in into production. The Vitae Springs Pinot gris used to be the smallest production lot at St. Innocent (one year we only produced 83 cases), but no longer.

Pinot gris intrigues me because of its unique spiciness. We make two gris - Shea and Vitae Springs Vineyards. Vitae Springs is done in a fruit forward style with no barrel aging. It emphasizes purity of fruit. The wine captivates your nose and mouth with its intriguing balance of fruit and spice. The wine ages beautifully and attains an even greater richness of fruit and viscosity after 4-7 years.

The Vitae Springs fruit was picked at 24 degrees Brix and was fermented dry. The fruit and spice aromas are very intense with great concentration on the palate and a clean, lingering finish. The fruit is a mixture of ripe stone fruit and orange rind. Ripe Pinot gris gets a intriguing spice quality that sometimes has an almost chili-like heat. The 2003 Vitae Springs gris is more Alsacian in charactor with especially lovely fruit.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 87
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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St. Innocent

St. Innocent Winery

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St. Innocent Winery, , Oregon
St. Innocent
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.

With a distinctly Mediterranean climate featuring warm days and cool nights, the Lodi AVA in California’s Central Valley provides growers with ideal conditions for grape-growing. As most of the rain falls in winter months while vines are dormant, the risk of disease and pest problems is low and irrigation can make up for the dry conditions during harvest.

By a wide margin, Zinfandel is the most successful and widely planted variety in Lodi. Often made from old vines, these wines are robust and fleshy with ripe, plummy fruit and represent excellent value at the lower end of the price spectrum. Over 100 other varieties are grown here, ranging from the classic (Merlot, Chardonnay) to the obscure and experimental (Portugal’s Touriga Nacional, France's Picqpoul).

Petite Sirah

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With its deep color, rich texture, firm tannin, and bold flavors, there is nothing petite about Petite Sirah. The variety was originally known as Durif, but took on its more popular moniker when it was imported to California from France in 1884. Despite its origins, it has since become known as a quintessentially Californian grape. It has been commonly utilized as a blending partner for softer Zinfandel and other varieties, but has also found success as a single varietal wine. It is most commonly grown in Lodi and the Central Valley, and to an extent in Sonoma and Napa counties.

In the Glass

Petite Sirah wines are typically deep, dark, rich, and inky, with concentrated flavors of blueberry, plum, backberry, black pepper, sweet baking spice, leather, and cigar box, and chewy, chocolatey tannins. Notes of vanilla and coconut can be found in examples with significant amounts of new oak.

Perfect Pairings

Petite Sirah’s full body and bold fruit make it an ideal match for barbecue, especially brisket with a slightly sweet sauce, and other rich meat dishes. The variety’s heavy tannins call for fatty protein and strong flavors that won’t get drowned out by the wine.

Sommelier Secret

Don’t get Petite Sirah confused with Syrah—it is not, as the name might seem to imply, a smaller version of Syrah. It is, however, the offspring of Syrah (crossed with an obscure French variety called Peloursin), so the two grapes do share some characteristics despite being completely distinct varieties.

EPCSITPGV_2003 Item# 79190

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