Consistently one of the great producers of Pinot Noir in Oregon, St. Innocent was founded by superstar winemaker Mark Vlossak, the former winemaker for Panther Creek. Mark has a longstanding history in the Oregon wine industry as the first single vineyard Pinot Noir made by Mark dates back to 1989 from the O’Connor vineyard. In 2006 Mark set up his winery at that same site of his first single vineyard wine, which is now named the Zenith Vineyard. Mark’s Pinots typically have a wonderful combination of elegance and richness. I’ve been sampling these wines for more than ten years and have found them to be one of the most consistent producers of Pinot Noir in Oregon. His last years releases were exceptional and this set of wines were even better.
Mark also makes some of the best Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc in Oregon. One of the best Pinot Gris wines that I have sampled in the past year, the 2015 St. Innocent ‘Vitae Springs Vineyard’ Pinot Gris (WWB, 93) is jam-packed full of fruit and has lovely weight and minerality. Similarly excellent is the 2015 St. Innocent ‘Freedom Hill Vineyard’ Pinot Blanc (WWB, 92) shows a wonderful poise and texture. These wines are knockout deals at $22.00 each and are wines to buy by the case for summer. His outstanding lineup of Pinots impressed, none more than the 2014 St. Innocent ‘Zenith Vineyard’ Pinot Noir (WWB, 94) which showed a dazzling array of structure, dark fruits and earthy tones. Learn more about these awesome wines at https://stinnocentwine.com Here are the great new releases by St. Innocent.
2015 St. Innocent ‘Freedom Hill Vineyard' Pinot Blanc- This impressive mineral-driven Pinot Blanc wine begins with aromatics of ripe pears, cantaloupe, with suggestions or orange blossom. The palate shows wonderful texture. There are plush flavors of New York apple, honeydew melon and green papaya. The creamy finish lingers, as does the sparkling minerality. Drink 2017-2023- 92
2015 St. Innocent 'Vitae Springs Vineyard' Pinot Gris- This lively wine opens with aromas of lemongrass, cantaloupe, ripe pear and hints of nutmeg. There are rich flavors of white peach, Pazzaz apple, vanilla cream and green papaya that sit alongside bright minerality. The exceedingly long, 45 second plus finish, accentuates this gorgeous bottling. Kudos to superstar winemaker Mark Vlossak on crafting this exceptional white wine. Drink 2017-2025- 93
2015 St. Innocent 'Freedom Hill Vineyard' Chardonnay- Located roughly ten miles southwest of Salem, the Freedom Hill Vineyard has gained a national reputation for producing excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This wine completed natural malolactic fermentation and was bottled in September 2016. The wine begins with aromatics reminiscent of banana, ripe pear, vanilla cream and Meyer lemon creme brulee. The palate is lithe and dense showing flavors of peach pit, macadamia nut, brioche, heavy whipping cream, butterscotch and kumquat. The range of flavors is pretty hard to resist, as the minerality leads to the long, creamy finish. Drink 2017-2027- 93
2015 St. Innocent ‘Villages Cuvee’ Pinot Noir- This wine has a wonderful bouquet of red cherry, raspberry, rose petals and hints of teaberry. Fruit driven and also lithe on the palate, there are flavors of pomegranate seed, cranberry, blood orange rind, red cherry and red raspberry. This is lovely and feminine, reflecting considerable structure considering the heat of the vintage. Another great effort from this estate. Drink 2017-2025- 91
2014 St. Innocent 'Zenith Vineyard' Pinot Noir- The Zenith Vineyard is the winery’s estate vineyard which is located 9 miles Northwest of Salem, Oregon. Four different clones of Pinot noir are planted: Pommard, Wadenswil, 115, and 777. This wine is another stunner by the highly talented winemaker Mark Vlossak. Showing a deep hue, this Pinot Noir wine opens with aromatics reminiscent of black truffle oil, forest floor, black cherry, black raspberry liquor and suggestions of baking spices. There are rich flavors of black cherry, black truffle crude, wild blackberry pie, forest floor, sage and black tea. This shows wonderful terroir and depth. The range of flavors and dazzling mid-palate weight makes this wine nearly impossible to set down at this juncture. I can see this aging well past the next decade. Try to give this a two plus hour decant if enjoying in its youth. Drink 2017-2030- 94
2014 St. Innocent 'Momtazi Vineyard' Pinot Noir- This esteemed single vineyard wine begins with aromas of cranberry, Asian spices, white truffle, forest floor, wet granite and suggestions of wild blackberry preserves. The nearly intoxicating aromatics bring you back to the glass for more. There is a silky elegance to the mid-palate, currently displaying flavors of black raspberry, black cherry, pomegranate seed, wild mushroom and a hint of cola. Earthy and elegant, this will have an exceedingly long life. Like superstar winemaker Mark Vlossak’s other Pinot Noir releases, this really needs at least a one hour decant to fully express itself. Drink 2017-2030- 93
2014 St. Innocent 'Freedom Hill Vineyard' Pinot Noir- This wine is currently showing exceedingly earthy aromatics burst through with forest floor, black truffle crudo, pine needles, with black cherry expressions. On the mid-palate there is wonderful texture and weight, as the wine has rich flavors reminiscent of Mandarin orange rind, red cherry, black raspberry, black truffle oil, cranberry and mulberry. There is a seamless quality to this wonderfully elegant wine, as the wine glides through to a long, mineral and black fruit driven finish. This is both elegant and intense. If enjoying young, at least an hour decant will help the flavors better amalgamate. Drink 2017-2030- 94
2014 St. Innocent 'Shea Vineyard' Pinot Noir- Managed by the iconic winemaker Dick Shea, this wine begins with aromatics of black cherry, anise, spruce tree, forest floor, wild blackberry and hints of baking spices. There is tremendous minerality on the palate, showing flavors of red cherry, red raspberry, teaberry, cram-pomegranate and blood orange rind. The compelling combination of feminine and masculine characteristics make this simply impossible to put down. Be sure to give this beauty at least a one hour decant before enjoying. Drink 2017-2030- 94
2014 St. Innocent 'Temperance Hill Vineyard' Pinot Noir- This gorgeous Pinot Noir wine begins with aromatics of black truffle oil, black raspberry, wild blackberry preserves and hints of baking spices. There are fruity flavors of red cherry, red raspberry, and teaberry accents. Drink 2017-2027- 92
2014 St. Innocent 'Justice Vineyard' Pinot Noir- Having a translucent core, this wine begins with aromatics of white truffle, black cherry, creosote, forest floor and black raspberry with pomegranate seed. There are rich flavors of teaberry, mulberry, pomegranate seed, red cherry, red raspberry and sage. This long and lingering finish lingers. Another solid release from this famed estate. Drink 2017-2029- 93