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2003 St. Innocent "Freedom Hill Vineyard" Pinot Blanc, Willamette Valley, Oregon

st.innocent.bottle.jpgThis wine review is my contribution to today's online wine tasting event known as Wine Blogging Wednesday. This incarnation is being hosted by Alice over at My Adventures In The Breadbox and she has decided the theme would be White Pinot. White Pinot refers to the two common mutations of the Pinot Noir grape that are cultivated with regularity: Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, which for many years people thought was Chardonnay (and vice versa).

As a result, here I am sipping the fruits of St. Innocent, a small winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Founded by Mark Vlossak in 1988, after a lifetime of training as an amateur winemaker with his father, plus some formal training at the The Wine Lab in Napa, California. Vlossack, who worked as the winemaker for Panther Creek Cellars for five years, embarked on the project that became St. Innocent with a goal of producing small lots of high quality wines sourced from the best vineyards in the region. While the winery does have a physical location and winemaking facility, they own no vineyards.

Named after Mark's father (his middle name, actually) the winery produces Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, and two different sparkling wines made by methode champenoise. Overall case production for the winery is currently around 6800 cases.

This particular wine comes from a vineyard called the Freedom Hill Vineyard, which is in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range about 10 miles southwest of Salem, Oregon. The grapes were destemmed and then crushed and fermented in a combination of steel tanks (75%) and nuetral oak barrels (25%). The wine is aged on its lees (sediment from fermentation) for 8 months and then bottled.

Tasting Notes:
Light gold in color with a hint of green, this wine has a bright nose of unripe pears, fresh lime, and crushed stones. In the mouth it is just as crisp, with a slight spritz on the tongue and primary flavors of kumquat peel, unripe pears, and minerals. The wine is slightly wooden on the back palate, and I mean that both in terms of texture as well as flavor, it's a little...blocky and less elegant than it could be.

Food Pairing:
Because of the crisp minerality of this wine I think it would be lovely with seafood, especially with rich flavors like this pasta with curried seafood sauce.

Overall Score: 8/8.5

How Much?: $15

This wine is available for purchase online.

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud