2014 St. Innocent, Pinot Noir, Freedom Hill Vineyard, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Mark Vlossak’s brilliant 2014 Freedom Hill Pinot is bursting with minty rose oil, bing cherry and mineral tones, this bright and gripping wine is absolutely everything you’d want from an Oregon Pinot, in fact it’s very Volnay like in the glass with racy fruits, earth, spice and intense detail, I already want more! Coming off the replanted northern block, exclusive to St. Innocent, this young vine Pinot shows the quality of it’s Coastal Range terroir with a mix of Wadenswil, Pommard and 777 clones on ancient sedimentary soils, it’s a very different site than let’s say the Jory soils of Dundee and the warm days add tannin to the skins while the cooler nights add to the vibrant acidity, all of which add up to a complex and firmly structured Pinot Noir and in this 2014 vintage it is the best of everything, making it a stunning example of Willamette Valley Pinot. To capture the pureness and vivid nature, Vlossak chose to used all de-stemmed grapes, fermented in cold lots in stainless steel then raised in 27% new French oak for 16 months, ending up with bright flavors and with vintage influenced heady 14.2% natural alcohol. Mark Vlossak founded St. Innocent in 1988, he is in the generation that brought Oregon to world attention along with Ken Wright, Mike Etzel (Beaux Freres) and John Paul of Cameron, his wines aged gracefully and are wonderful values when compared to the other wines at this level, especially in a vintage as good in Oregon as 2014 was! This 2014 Freedom Hill, with it’s ruby/garnet hue looks beautiful in the glass, delivers black cherry, plum and wild strawberry fruits on the medium bodied palate along with rose petals, mineral, subtle spearmint/tea spices, earthy loam and a touch of vanilla, everything is tightly wound, but well integrated with an exciting lightness of texture, this is a seriously good Pinot that has years of life and progression ahead of it, I see great potential in 5 to 7 years, though I just love it’s youthful thrill and intensity of form right now. Last year, I had the 2000 Freedom Hill and it was fantastically fresh and showed almost no decay or age at all, so while this vintage is from younger vines, the terroir quality is certainly there, I will be getting a few more bottles myself! Note: I got my sample from Vinopolis Wine Shop in Portland, they have a special $29/bt offer as of Feb 2018.
($38 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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