St. Innocent Winery

     Thursday October 15, 2015

Reservations Closed
Course Pairing / Description Wine
Hors D' Oeuvres Crispy Coconut & Duet Of Sesame Seed Crusted Chicken (Spicy Sriracha And Cilantro Aioli) Saucy Rock Shrimp (Lemon, Sliced Garlic, Basil And Feta Butter Sauce With Phyllo Cup)
Pinot blanc and pinot gris are closely related to pinot noir. Both are the result of natural mutations of pinot noir. The entire pinot family ripens beautifully in Oregon because the climate is ideally suited to their growing needs. The resulting wines are blessed with both ripe fruit and balanced acidity needed to match with food. Pinot blanc has a complexity of pomme (apple and pear) and tropical fruit aromas that carry onto your palate. St. Innocent began producing pinot blanc because they believed it would be an exceptional match for shellfish as its fruit highlights the natural "sweetness" of shellfish. The demand for this pinot blanc has grown steadily and in 2008, St. Innocent decided to expand the pinot blanc block at Freedom Hill from 1.8 to 3 acres. The first grapes were harvested from the new block in 2010 and the plants are now in full production. 2012 began with a cool spring and record precipitation in June. This caused a slightly delayed bloom that was interrupted by cool, wet weather that extended the period of flowering. The result was diminished berry fertilization and some bunch stem necrosis. This reduced both the absolute number of clusters and the number of berries per cluster, thus significantly reducing the crop. Spring was followed by a beautiful sunny, warm, and dry summer, with the longest dry period in the Willamette Valley’s history - over 104 days. The lovely weather continued into October with harvest occurring mid-month. The grapes achieved ideal ripeness and wines have lovely ripe tannins, moderate alcohols and nice acidity. This is one of Oregon’s very best vintages. The 2012 St. Innocent Freedom Hill Pinot Blanc has beautiful fruit and ripeness on the palate from the great 2012 vintage. It has a nose of stone fruit, melon, ripe apple and hints of ginger. Melon, stone, and pomme fruit flavors blend with citrus and floral notes layered over a core of minerality. It has a textural feel that carries the flavors over your tongue along with fruit nuances and a rich minerality that extends into the finish. This vintage is finished completely dry.
St. Innocent Pinot Blanc Freedom Hill 2012
Salad Course Crisp Fall Apple, Asiago & Creamy Vanilla Bean Salad (Spice Roasted Almonds, Sliced Iceberg And Organic Micro Basil) Saucy Rock Shrimp (Lemon, Sliced Garlic, Basil And Feta Butter Sauce With Phyllo Cup)
Several years ago, St. Innocent began replanting the 108 clone of chardonnay originally planted in Oregon with French 'Dijon' clones. Experimental wines had been made in Oregon from these clones in the 1980's. They believed they would produce wines with fully ripened fruit and also have the rich textures found in white Burgundies. Since 1999, all of St. Innocent's chardonnay vines are producing fruit exclusively from the Dijon clones. The Freedom Hill Dijon clone chardonnays are Meursault-like: darker fruit with a stony minerality and rich textures in the mouth. St. Innocent struggled with the specific style for Freedom Hill Chardonnay until a visit to Burgundy and Chablis in 2003. There they tasted a grand cru chablis fermented entirely in used barrels. The ripe fruit and intense minerality balanced perfectly with the lees component and textural enhancement derived from barrel fermentation. The St. Innocent Freedom Hill Chardonnay is now fermented entirely in used, French oak barrels and rests on its lees for eleven months. The lack of sweet, toasty components from the new wood means that its core of minerality is able to show clearly in the finished wine. With the success of this style and textural clarity they achieved, St. Innocent decided to expand the acreage planted with chardonnay at Freedom Hill. They agreed to add additional plantings much higher on the hillside, planted more densely and using a vertical trellis. These blocks came into full production in 2011 and as they have matured, the quality of the fruit has risen dramatically. The 2012 St. Innocent Freedom Hill Chardonnay has a detailed and focused nose of apples and pears with spice and ripe citrus notes. Fresh stone fruit flavors are balanced by bright acidity and layers of stoniness - both river stones and the "stone" of a peach. These flavors extend across the palate and the minerality broadens into the finish. The combination of layered fruit, length, and complex undercurrent of minerality makes it a good match for richer white meat dishes.
St. Innocent Chardonnay Freedom Hill 2012
Fowl Course Wine Braised Chicken & Wild Mushroom Cannelloni (Roasted Tomato, Nutmeg And Basil Pomodoro Sauce, Goat Cheese Crumbles And Butter Sautéed Asparagus Spears)
Oregon vineyards were originally planted on their 'own roots'. European grape vines, unlike American vines, have no inherent resistance to damage by the root louse phylloxera. This root louse survives by feeding on the small roots of grape vines. Damage to the small root allows secondary infections to enter the vine resulting in its death. There is no way to save infected vines short of replanting with grafted vines - European (vitus vinifera) tops and American vine roots. Many of St. Innocent's vineyard sources have phylloxera. As they replant, the early crops have lovely fruit characteristics, but little sense of terroir. The wines made from young vines will not be blended with older vines from their best vineyards. Their solution is to blend these 'first crops' with a consistent pinot noir base wine from Vitae Springs Vineyard producing a Willamette Valley blend. Given the extent of their replanting efforts, the amount of Willamette Valley pinot noir will increase in the coming vintages. 2013 began quickly with a warm spring and bloom in early June, about two weeks earlier than normal. A moderate summer followed with relatively low disease pressure and a large crop. After significant thinning, St. Innocent looked forward to harvesting in late September. It rained about two inches between 9/4 and 9/5; moisture they needed to keep the plants active and help finish the ripening process. On September 21st, the grapes were very close to perfect ripeness. The clouds moved in again and it began showering intermittently for the next week. On 9/28, a major storm brought four inches of rain over the next 48 hours. On October 2nd, the sun returned with sunny and dry weather for the next three weeks. Depending on the level of ripeness at each vineyard location, they picked before, during, and well after the rain in late September. It was a wonderful vintage for white wines, most were picked well after the rains - clean and ripe. The 2013 St. Innocent Villages Cuvée Pinot Noir returns to the "red wine with white meat and fish" profile St. Innocent intended for their multi-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 Cuvée came from mature plantings at their estate, Zenith Vineyard. This is the first time Shea and Temperance Hill wines were included giving it a broader and more layered profile. This wine 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.
St. Innocent Pinot Noir Villages Cuvee 2013
Beef Course Black Pepper & Thyme Roasted New York Strip Steak (Brie Cheese Mashed Potatoes, Red Wine Reduction, Roasted Garlic Cloves, Oven Dried Tomatoes And Parsley)
In 2006, St. Innocent approached Moe Momtazi and asked if they could contract for pinot noir fruit from his bio-dynamically farmed vineyard. From their first trip to France in 1998, they observed that the greatest domaines in both Burgundy and Alsace had one thing in common, they farmed bio-dynamically. Bio-dynamics is an integrated system of farming that incorporates and encourages diversity in the entire ecosystem, from the roots and soil, through the macro-climate of the vine. A step beyond organic farming, this system was developed by Rudolph Steiner. The end result is a greater sense of the terroir of the site. Momtazi Vineyard is in the McMinnville appellation, located high above a warm valley. Within the northern Willamette Valley, this AVA is the one most strongly affected by coastal winds blowing through the Van Duzer corridor in the early evening. It is both a sunny, roasted hillside achieving full ripeness and a windblown ridge of thin soil that challenges the vines ability to survive. The wines produced reveal this dichotomy, being densely fruited and rustic at the same time. The wines produced from this AVA tend to be darker in fruit profile, richer in tannins and more intense on the palate. This wine has a distinctly different density compared to other St. Innocent offerings and reflects its unique McMinnville terroir. The best analogy is to imagine having tasted all of Burgundy except for Nuits-Saint-Georges. Then you taste Nuits-Saint-Georges and respond that this is not Burgundy. But of course it is, in fact it is the geographic center of Burgundy, yet is somehow completely different. This is how Momtazi and the McMinnville AVA fit into the profile of Oregon's Willamette Valley. The 2012 St. Innocent Momtazi Pinot Noir is a complex wine that reflects the heat of the afternoon sun, the cool, windy evenings and the rustic soils of the McMinnville hills while retaining the dark beauty of its intense, ripe fruit. It is aromatically complex with layers of blue and black fruit, dark flowers, roasted Indian spices with hints of coffee and cocoa powder. In the mouth, the dense blue/black fruit flavors and roasted eastern spice notes are layered with rich peaty, peppery flavors. Texturally broad, its flavors layer over your tongue and palate. Ample ripe tannins balance with its acidity into a finish that integrates both its dark, wild fruit and nuanced spices.
St. Innocent Pinot Noir Momtazi 2013
Dessert Course White Chocolate & Strawberry Cheesecake (Pinot And Brown Butter Caramel, Cinnamon And Clove Scented Walnut Nuggets)
Freedom Hill Vineyard produces pinot noirs with structure, depth, and richness as well as a strong sense of minerality. The site is relatively warm from daytime heat that rises up the large, flat valley below. This develops rich skin tannins. Because of its proximity to the Oregon Coast range - it is on the edge of the Coast Range of mountains - the vineyard is quite cool at night. This maintains good acidity in the wine. This combination of tannin and acidity produces pinot noir with great structure. Capturing that intensity and revealing the nuances of the terroir (clay-like earthiness, dried flowers, dark spices) without excess tannins is the key to making great Freedom Hill. The vines from St. Innocent’s original pinot noir blocks at Freedom Hill died from phylloxera after the 2003 vintage. They replanted a four acre block on the north edge of the vineyard - two acres of Wadenswil and two acres of Pommard clone pinot noir with each clone planted on two different rootstocks. Their first vineyard designated pinot from those vines was produced in 2008. The vine density was increased threefold from the original planting and a Vertical Shoot Position (VSP) type of trellis was used. An additional three acres of the 777 clone of pinot noir was planted further up the hillside to the west in 2008 and came into full production in 2012. In between these two pinot blocks are six acres of Dijon clone Chardonnay grown for exclusively for St. Innocent. Freedom Hill produces pinot noirs with lovely structure. Its abundant nose has a rich density of dark fruits, roasted sweet spices, dried citrus notes and wild flowers. Rich and generously fruited with dark, wild cherries, loads of spice and underlying dark earth.
St. Innocent Pinot Noir Freedom Hill 2012