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St. Innocent Pinot Noir Momtazi Vineyard 2011

St. Innocent Pinot Noir Momtazi Vineyard 2011

Sku: 035301

St. Innocent Winery was founded in 1988 by owner and winemaker Mark Vlossak. Mark’s interest and education in wine began early his father was a wine importer and Mark produced sparkling wine in 1985-87. He then apprenticed with Fred Arterberry, Jr. at Arterberry, Ltd from 1987-1988. In 1994, he was appointed winemaker at Panther Creek Cellars where he worked for five years before founding St. Innocent. St. Innocent produces small-lot, handmade wines in the Old World tradition in other words, wines intended to go with food. The estate vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills is planted to 16 acres planted to Pinot Nor. The winery also works closely with eight different growers, leasing specific blocks of vineyards to produce terroir-specific wines. A new winery at the Zenith Vineyard was completed in time for the 2007 harvest. This 17,500 sq. ft., four story, gravity facility features underground barrel rooms, a temperature controlled crush floor and a 900 sq. ft. tasting room.

 Wine Advocate 92 points (Oct 2013)
Vlossak remarked that it was showing better when we tasted it than it had previously. In my review of an Oeil de Perdrix bottling from this vintage and site, I inadvertently conveyed the impression that there would be no St. Innocent 2011 Pinot Noir Momtazi Vineyard. In fact, the high-elevation extremities of this vineyard to which Vlossak has rights – he calls them “brutally wind-blown (with) shit for soil” –struggled to ripen in such a cool vintage, but it was only two of five blocks on which he gave up hope of harvesting red wine. That still left fruit enough for 729 cases. A highly vintage-typical display of tart red currant and sour cherry tinged with fresh ginger, turmeric and sassafras, its aromatic evocation of sea breeze leading to mouthwatering salinity and myriad mineral nuances on an infectiously juicy, pungently spicy, and almost glaringly bright palate, renders the experience here unforgettably bracing. Suggestions of bloody roasted red meats add to the striking savor of a finely-tannic, grippingly and resonantly persistent Pinot, almost sure to engender excitement through at least 2020. Given the strikingly consistent success of the three vintages I’ve tasted of this wine, I can’t fathom why Vlossak prices it as he does, but that certainly qualifies it as an amazing value. This will not, however – as I trust my tasting note will have made clear – be everybody’s cup of Pinot.

Wine maker notes
Deep ruby in color, the 2007 Pinot noir, Momtazi Vineyard has aromas of Asian spices, black raspberries, dried cherries, green peppercorns, and baking chocolate. The mouth is layered with blackberries, cocoa, wild strawberries, roasted spices and hints of wild mushrooms, cedar, and sweet tar. The wild components fill your mouth and slowly evolve to overtones of green tea and sweeter spices. Dark berries become more dominant into it's lengthy finish leaving a linger impression of sweet berry extract. The tannins are rich, very ripe, and integrated with the wine's acidity. This 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.

Technical notes
The biodynamic farmed fruit was harvested from three southwest facing blocks in the Momtazi Vineyard that were planted in 1999 and 2004 on a steep hillside. The grapes were fermented in stainless and French oak fermentors and were briefly cold macerated for 1-2 days.

Food pairing
Serve with grilled meats, sausages, or hearty stews. It can be enjoyed in its youth after decanting for two hours or more and will develop over nine years

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