Monday, June 18, 2012

St. Innocent Winery: Willamette Valley, Oregon, Winery Visit

Winery Report by home winemaker and Tasting Team Member “Dr. J.”
My wife and I recently spent our honeymoon in the Pacific Northwest. Our goal was to tour some of the major wine regions of Oregon and Washington. We did just that and we were very impressed. I will try to highlight some of our best experiences in a series of posts.
One of the first of our many stops was St. Innocent. We had tasted their Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir at a wine tasting in the past and really loved it, so it was exciting to visit in person. First up was the Oeil de Perdrix or more simply “ODP”. We were told this translates to “eye of the partridge”, which is an old name for a pale rosé made from Pinot Noir. This is an excellent white wine that resembles a German Riesling and would be great for sipping on the patio. A bottle of this went with us.
Next were the Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay. The Pinot Blanc had a wonderful refreshing nose; with flavors and aromas of peach and apricot. It was made specifically to pair with shellfish. The Chardonnay had great minerality and a soft, smooth texture from lees contact in the barrels it was fermented in. We really liked this, but knowing the Shea Pinot Noir was coming up and the fact that it was early in our trip, we refrained from purchasing this one.
We finished with a menagerie of Pinot Noirs from the Shea and Zenith vineyards and a Villages Cuvèe (blend) of other vineyards. All were of course, wonderful. The blend was to show off the winemaker’s style and vintage character, while the Zenith is a much warmer site that produces smoky nuances and the Shea produces the most complex and ageable wines. The Shea vineyard is one of the most famous in Oregon. The fruitiness, spiciness, berry flavor, and tannin structure were remarkable. We were told this particular wine could age as much as 15 years! I most definitely had to get a bottle of this.
Great wine, a beautiful tasting room, and a very picturesque setting made for a very enjoyable experience.
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