St. Innocent Winery is a well-established and prestigious maker of Pinot Noir and cool climate white wines based in Salem, Oregon. Established in 1988, winemaker Mark Vlossek produces age worthy Pinot Noirs from estate and leased vineyards. The winery’s reputation has been built on vineyard designated Pinot Noir from purchased grapes. The name, St. Innocent, is in honor of Mark’s father, John Innocent Vlossak, who was a wine importer and introduced his son to the pleasures of fine wine at a young age. John was born on All Innocents Day.
Early in his career, Mark Vlossek was also the winemaker for Panther Creek Winery, where he acquired his Pinot Noir winemaking expertise. The first St. Innocent Pinot Noir was from the 1998 vintage which was a blend from several Willamette Valley vineyards. This wine was to later be replaced by the Villages Cuvée which debuted in 2002.
In 2006, St. Innocent Winery joined with Tim and Kari Ramey as partners in Zenith Vineyard in the Eola Hills. Zenith Vineyard has a total of 13.5 acres of Pinot Noir exclusively for St. Innocent’s use with some additional fruit sold to wineries in Oregon and California. St. Innocent’s new winery and Zenith’s wedding and event facility located adjacent Zenith Vineyard compliment each other.
Currently, the lineup of single vineyard Pinot Noir includes wines from Freedom Hill Vineyard, Justice Vineyard, Momtazi Vineyard, Shea Vineyard, Temperance Hill Vineyard, White Rose Vineyard and Zenith Vineyard. The St. Innocent Pinot Noirs are classic expressions of Pinot Noir with exquisite balance and generous acidity. They are terroir-driven wines that show both the character of the site and the vintage.
The 2016 Pinot Noir Villages Cuvée is produced from grapes grown in Oregon’s northern Willamette Valley. At its core are grapes grown at Vitae Springs Vineyard, a cool site on thin volcanic soil located in the hills south of Salem, Oregon. Fruit from other sites are blended to create a Pinot noir that complements rich white meat and fish dishes. De-stemmed grapes were fermented in small stainless and Burgundy oak fermenter with no SO2, allowing fermentations to proceed naturally. After gentle pressing and settling, the wine aged in French oak barrels, 19% of which were new, for 12 months before bottling by gravity without fining. This charming wine delivers juicy dark cherry, wild strawberry, allspice, and cinammon with a touch of smoke that fill your mouth. Beautifully balanced with soft tannins and fresh acidity, this Pinot is still a baby that will fill out through spring and summer. Enjoy now through 2022.