The wine aged for 16 months in French oak (38% new)and presents blue and black fruit aromas complemented by notes of coffee and pepper. Flavors of black plum support a core of acidity and broad tannins on the finish.
Wine Advocate 92 points - I tasted St. Innocent’s 2010 Pinot Noir Momtazi Vineyard for the first time in July alongside the 2011, because Vlossak said he didn’t feel it had been ready to show back in June of last year, when I tasted most of his 2010s for my issue 202 report. Tart-edged red currant and cherry dominate as they did in the corresponding 2011, but there is a bit more sweetness of fruit here and that characteristic is admirably set-off by a seductively polished and enveloping textural impression. “The way this wine’s come ‘round is about the most remarkable transformation I have ever experienced in a nine month period,” notes Vlossak, comparing his impression of this wine from autumn, 2012 to this July. An undertone of wet stone and smoky suffusion of black tea further set-off – now by contrast – the bright ripeness and vibrancy of red fruits. (Incidentally, there were nearly 1,100 cases of this, but only around 700 of the 2011.) Black pepper and cumin add invigoration and allure to the mouthwateringly long, saliva-inducingly salt-tinged finish of a Pinot likely to intrigue and invigorate through at least 2018. I’m amazed at how consistently Vlossak’s wine from this site has distinguished itself in each of the three vintages I’ve tasted. Given the extreme challenge of wind and high elevation you’d expect this to be a site that retains energy and brightness when subjected to heat as in 2009. But to succeed – albeit in an utterly different key – in late-ripening 2010 and 2011, seems to speak to something else special about this site. (Granted, not every block contracted to St. Innocent was even vinified red in 2011.) Vlossak – echoing views expressed by a host of vintners the world ‘round in similar circumstances – is convinced that the wide diurnal temperature swings here are critical to building character in the resultant wines. Incidentally, it was his having been impressed with the successes of biodynamic Cote d’Or vintners that led Vlossak to approach Momtazi in 2006 about obtaining a share of the eponymous vineyard’s fruit. (Oct 2013)
St. Innocent Winery was founded in 1988 by Mark Vlossak, the current winemaker and president. Mark’s interest and education in wine began early – his father was a wine importer and he was fortunate to taste wine on a daily basis. As an amateur, he produced sparkling wine in 1985-87 and apprenticed with Fred Arterberry, Jr. at Arterberry, Ltd from 1987-1988 and was the winemaker for Panther Creek Cellars from 1994-1999. St. Innocent produces small-lot, handmade wines that are meant for food. St. Innocent has an interest in the Zenith Vineyard (formerly O’Connor Vineyard) in the Eola-Amity Hills where they now have 16 acres of Pinot Noir planted. The winery also works closely with 8 different growers, leasing specific blocks of vineyards to produce terroir-specific wines. A new winery at the Zenith Vineyard was completed in time to receive the 2007 vintage 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.
|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.