Posted by Alaya
I reviewed this one a couple of months ago, for www.grapelive.com, but thought it would be appropriate to post it along with my other 2006 Oregon Pinot favorites!
St. Innocent Willamette Valley Villages Cuvee Pinot Noir 2006
I always look forward to seeing Ken Pahlow walk through the door; he's all smiles, poised to tell great fly fishing stories, and shows some of the best local wines at their staggered release. Sales rep for St. Innocent Winery, Ken most recently showed us the 2006 Willamette Valley Villages Cuvee Pinot Noir. St. Innocent decided to release the Villages Cuvee early this year, in January. We normally have to wait until March for its release, when we buy up at least 10 cases at a time for display. A hot item for us, this is one of the best pinots for the price in Oregon, no question. We are thrilled to have it early, and completely understand why it has released; it is gorgeous right now!
This wine has a heavenly nose; raspberry puree made with just-off-the vine, sun-ripened in early September raspberries. This, tangoing with a bouquet of wild flowers; orchid, iris, geranium and field lavender; all the while grounded with a solid offering of mineral; wet slate, basalt, andesidic river rock, which has been sun-dried on the bank of an estuary. This wine really set's the mood. On the palate, it's layers of silky black cherry and black currant, with vanilla bean, toasted orange zest, cardamon, dried lavender candy, and green peppercorn. The finish has an alluring sweet quality; cherry liqueur-soaked cake, smokey almond and sea-salted caramel...that gets richer as the night progresses. Pair this treasure with herb-crusted Spring Chinook, potato-parsnip soup, and an array of grilled root vegetables. As an alternative, sip along side a chocolate-raspberry souffle.
With grapes coming from the young, fresh vineyards of Freedom and Temperance Hill, and also the older Vitae Springs site in the South Salem hills, this cuvee balances drink-now smoothness with the intrigue of depth and structure. Better yet, those involved in viticulture and enology work closely with each other, while bringing the best the land has to offer forth; balance in the vineyard brings balance to St. Innocent wines. The winery is committed to sustainability, working with vineyards that are LIVE certified. One site they harvest from is organically farmed, and another is biodynamic. Start with this cuvee, then watch yourself wait with anticipation for St. Innocent's single vineyard releases.