You may already be familiar with St Innocent, wine maker Mark Vlossak's wonderful winery in Salem, Oregon - the Willamette Valley. If you haven't tried his wines, and if you like wine, I suggest you do try them. Mark makes several Pinots each year, beginning with a young drinking, under $20, grapes-from-several-vineyards wine called Villages Cuvee, to single vineyard wines from some of the finest sites in Oregon. His Seven Springs and Shea wines are extra special in my book, although White Rose is certainly amazing too. They are all good, in fact, there is nothing I like better coming out of Oregon. And most of the single vineyard wines clock in at around $35, which is a good value for the quality of the wine.
It's not easy to find St Innocent wines sitting on the shelves of your local wine shoppe. I have ordered direct from the winery and that's probably easiest, but doesn't make sense unless you order at least 6 bottles because of shipping costs. There are a few area stores that sometimes have bottles, like Burgundy Wine Company on west 26th street in Manhattan. I saw both the 04 Shea and the 04 Seven Springs there this year. Prices are a bit excessive at that store, but whaddaya gonna do...and Prospect Wine Shop in Brooklyn usually gets a smallish allocation of Shea and White Rose, and the markup is not as bad. Why don't they get the Seven Springs too, sniff?
Anyway, why would I open one of the only bottles I have of the highly touted 2004 St Innocent Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard, at this early date in its life? Why cut short such a glorious flavor and aroma career, gulping it down before it can even reach adolescence, never mind maturity?
Because sometimes you just have to check out your wine.
2004 St Innocent Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard, $35.
Dark but completely transparent purple. Really intense nose of dark blue fruit, earth, and flowers. Such a lovely nose, I sat and smelled for a while and was happy. Then I realized I hadn't even tasted yet...sweet sappy dark fruit followed by a bit of pine and earth. With a bit of time, some floral notes too, even some cocoa? This wine is elegant and perfumed, balanced and bright, but so well structured and potent. Seems like it will do really well with some time to mature. It will be a serious challenge to leave my remaining bottles alone for a few years, never mind the 8 or so that it will take for everything to integrate seamlessly, and for the secondary aromas and flavors to come out and play. I need to remind myself to just buy more of this stuff when it's released.
Here are the wine maker's notes, if you're interested to read what Mark has to say about the wine.
Monday, February 26, 2007