WTN: New And Old St. Innocent Pinot @ Belle Provenance Vineyard

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WTN: New And Old St. Innocent Pinot @ Belle Provenance Vineyard

Postby Jason Hagen » Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:12 pm

So I need to plan a dinner for the Board that I report to while I am in Oregon. So who do I turn to? Tim Ramey (Belle Provenance Vineyard, previously O’Connor Vineyard) and St. Innocent. Being the resident wine geek in my company they asked me to set something up….during harvest of course :shock: :roll: . For them wine tasting is driving through the main drag of St Helena in Napa. Not a bad thing … just not my thing. Thankfully Tim and his lovely wife Kari offered up their house, with Kari handling the cooking. Now that’s what I am talking about. Beautiful weather, wonderful company and world-class food. :D

Since Mark Vlossak was busy taking care of his fresh grapes and he did not arrive until later in the evening, we were joined by his father (John Innocent), his mother Dot and his wife Vickianne. For those of you who have met John, you know that is a walking encyclopedia. It was a pleasure to hear his perspectives as well as Vickiannes.

So what did we drink!?!

2005 Adelsheim Auxerrois:
This is the first time I have knowingly drank a wine made from 100% Auxerrois. Unique from the nose to the mouth-feel. Mouth coating like cream. Creamy herb flavors mixed with pears and light sweetness. Really nice.

2005 St. Innocent Pinot Blanc Freedom Hill Vineyard (from a magnum): Wow!...and Wow! Awesome wine. I loved the 04 but I like this one even more. This was a major hit. Buy now or you’ll be sorry.
2005 St. Innocent Pinot Gris Vitae Springs: Last year I preferred to Gris to the Blanc. The 05s may turn out the same but I am going to hold off drinking the Pinot Gris while I roll through the Blanc. This is holding back right now. Great fruit with just a hint of spice. I think this well develop more.

John teaching us all
[img]http://home.att.net/~jalahagen/wsb/media/212767/site1048.jpg[/img]

First Course: Salmon (I think poached) served in an amazing fish stock with mussels (with andouille sausage… I think) and potatoes. Top 3 mussels I have ever had.

2004 St. Innocent Chardonnay Freedom Hill Vineyard: No notes here. I only had a small glass but having had this wine on a few occasions, I can say this is world class. Nuts cream and minerals wrapped in perfect acidity.

Main Course:
Braised beef cheeks served over risotto and fresh chanterelles. Kill me know. Damn this was good.

2004 St. Innocent Pinot Noir 7 Springs Vineyard: Drinking surprisingly well. Very silky right now and already showing flowery fruit. Very nice but one I would prefer to wait for it to show its true colors.
2004 St. Innocent Pinot Noir Anden Vineyard: Wow. I can’t believe I am saying a 04 Anden is drinking awesome. My favorite Anden so far. A pinot of dark fruits that runs the gamut of spice aromas and flavors. From nutmeg to black pepper. Great stuff that has a bright future.

Now the rare stuff:
[img]http://home.att.net/~jalahagen/wsb/media/212767/site1049.jpg[/img]

1994 St. Innocent Pinot Noir O’Connor Vineyard (from a Magnum): Great color. Cherries and tart strawberries mixed with an almost Rhone like meatiness. Plenty of minerals mixed in as well. On the palate it is showing its age but is also showing the difference in this vineyard from the 7 Springs. There is still quite a bit of structure here. If I had 3 bottles I would drink two now and save one for another 6 or 7 years…if I had one bottle I would save…just to see but I like taking risks and I like old pinot.

1994 St. Innocent Pinot Noir Seven Springs Vineyard (From a Magnum): Still lots of tannin and structure on this puppy. Great spiciness and cleaner flavors than the O’Connor. Certainly not acting like a 12 year old Oregon pinot. I love the texture and the way the fruit hit my mouth and then the minerality coated my tongue.

I think most people would pick these as Burgundies. Maybe someone with a long history of tasting Oregon pinot would recognize them as Oregon. I have drunk a lot of Oregon Pinot over the last 7 years but not with this kind of age. And it is great news that Mark V. will be getting fruit from this soil again.

Tim and Mark enjoying the evening.
[img]http://home.att.net/~jalahagen/wsb/media/212767/site1050.jpg[/img]

We tasted some other wine during our trip but I will post that separately.

Cheers! & Thanks to Tim, Kari, John, Dot, Vickianne.


Jason
Last edited by Jason Hagen on Fri Oct 20, 2006 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New And Old St. Innocent Pinot @ Belle Povenance Vineyard

Postby James Dietz » Thu Oct 19, 2006 12:41 pm

Jenise must be on vacation!!! No response yet? Maybe she is in shock?
Cheers, Jim
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Re: New And Old St. Innocent Pinot @ Belle Povenance Vineyard

Postby Dale Williams » Thu Oct 19, 2006 12:51 pm

Jason,
thanks for great notes.
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Re: New And Old St. Innocent Pinot @ Belle Povenance Vineyard

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Thu Oct 19, 2006 7:41 pm

I just saw the '04 Anden on a local shelf and was curious whether to pick up some. Your note sold me..thanks.
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Re: New And Old St. Innocent Pinot @ Belle Povenance Vineyard

Postby Jason Hagen » Fri Oct 20, 2006 3:04 am

James Dietz wrote:Jenise must be on vacation!!! No response yet? Maybe she is in shock?


I feel slighted :D

J
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Re: New And Old St. Innocent Pinot @ Belle Povenance Vineyard

Postby Jason Hagen » Fri Oct 20, 2006 3:09 am

Bill Buitenhuys wrote:I just saw the '04 Anden on a local shelf and was curious whether to pick up some. Your note sold me..thanks.


I am not sure if you know the history of the Anden but it is the lower half of the "old" 7 Springs vineyard. The split happened with a divorce. These are older vines and show a surprisingly different profile. There was a lively discussion about which was more "feminine". Fun conversation about silkiness, dark fruits and spiciness. Hmmmm :?

The Andens will be a smart purchase. I have magnums and 3 ltrs of it.

Jason
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Re: New And Old St. Innocent Pinot @ Belle Povenance Vineyard

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Fri Oct 20, 2006 8:53 am

Thanks for the Anden history, Jason. I love hearing details like that.
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Re: New And Old St. Innocent Pinot @ Belle Povenance Vineyard

Postby Jason Hagen » Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:17 pm

It is fun to taste then Anden next to the 7 Springs. Made by the same wine maker and only seperated by a small dirt path.

Jason
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Re: New And Old St. Innocent Pinot @ Belle Povenance Vineyard

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:39 pm

Thanks for great, great notes -- I felt like I was there. Excellent photographs, too.

How do you get them into your posts?

Regards and thanks again, Bob
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Re: New And Old St. Innocent Pinot @ Belle Povenance Vineyard

Postby Jason Hagen » Fri Oct 20, 2006 7:42 pm

Bob Ross wrote:
How do you get them into your posts?



You need to be able to post them on the web (there may be another way) and then copy in the URL using the Img html. Just click the Img tab or type [img]URL[/img].

You should have free web-space with your ISP or there are other free services out there.

Good luck!

Cheers,

J
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Re: New And Old St. Innocent Pinot @ Belle Povenance Vineyard

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Oct 20, 2006 8:00 pm

Got it Jason, thanks. Bob
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Re: WTN: New And Old St. Innocent Pinot @ Belle Povenance Vineyard

Postby Jenise » Sat Oct 21, 2006 3:25 pm

Great notes and pictures, Jason.

Interesting about the Anden--I hope your note will help generate more interest. I know when Mark first bottled it he had trouble getting people to understanding that this wasn't an interloper but an old friend. Interesting to contemplate too, now that I think of it, that the new Seven Springs sans Anden is actually closer to the original Seven Springs I fell in love with so long ago in terms of vine age than recent vintages of Seven Springs were considering the age of the now-Anden vines. I remember well that it was the first American pinot that reminded me of the Premier and Grand Crus of Burgundy's 90 vintage, which was not only my introduction to Burgundy but my introduction to pinot, a grape I had not cared for until I went to a red burg 90 tasting circa 1993. Mind you I didn't have that much experience at that time and was very much in the ga-ga honeymoon stage of liking pinot noir so it speaks to my naivete as much as anything else, but I spent five days in McMinneville with the flavors of Leroy in my head, tasted hundreds of pinots and only came home with two: the St. Innocent and Henry Estates.

Compelling reaction to the Pinot Blanc, btw. I'm definitely not sold on that grape where US producers are concerned, even St. Innocent, but your reaction says I better take a second look. Hopefully Mark sends one out with the club shipment.

The Freedom Hill chardonnay--much as I dislike what happens to pinot noir in that vineyard, the same steroidal effect on chardonnay creates one of America's most unique white wines. It's the intensity of Kistler without the tropicality. Before I swore of swordfish for environmental reasons, the FH was my favorite wine for the steak of fish. Now I settle for salmon. Got a bottle here to try, think I'll move it to the tasting queue to make sure I get around to it. Hey, maybe with the chantarelle lasagna I'm making for dinner tonight?

Speaking of chardonnay, in another thread, did you say the Arcadian Sleepy Hollow was one of the best chardonnays you've ever had? I was thinking so when I scooped up bottle of the 2001 yesterday in Vancouver. This was at my source for all the pinots, which they are out of, which is probably my fault--I must learn to keep my stashes secret until I'm sure I'm done with them. I think you named a different vintage, the 2000?, but I was happy to find this one. With Joe Davis' style, I'm presuming that five years on a chardonnay can only be to the good.

Anyway, great notes, thank you very much for posting.

Oh, and re yet another thread in which we talked, you mentioned a trade for a Brick House? I would absolutely say yes, only it turns out mine are 2000's, not 99's as I'd thought. I presume the 2000 isn't of as much interest to you.

Anyway, thank you for these notes. I'm so thrilled to be talking to another big time St. Innocent fan--all these years on this board, I've been so alone. :)
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Hmm.... a few thoughts.

Postby Jason Hagen » Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:35 pm

Jenise wrote:Interesting about the Anden--I hope your note will help generate more interest. I know when Mark first bottled it he had trouble getting people to understanding that this wasn't an interloper but an old friend. Interesting to contemplate too, now that I think of it, that the new Seven Springs sans Anden is actually closer to the original Seven Springs I fell in love with so long ago in terms of vine age than recent vintages of Seven Springs were considering the age of the now-Anden vines.



Interesting observation. I have not been crazy about the Andens to date but the have all seem too young. They have real potential. I like what your saying about the 7 Springs though.

The 2 94s could certainly pass for 1er Crus. The 7 Springs maybe a Grand Cru....but I have had very few aged GCs.

Jenise wrote:Compelling reaction to the Pinot Blanc, btw. I'm definitely not sold on that grape where US producers are concerned, even St. Innocent, but your reaction says I better take a second look. Hopefully Mark sends one out with the club shipment.


I agree about most American Pinot Blancs but I think the bar is being raised, and they are showing their own sence of place.

Jenise wrote:The Freedom Hill chardonnay--much as I dislike what happens to pinot noir in that vineyard, the same steroidal effect on chardonnay creates one of America's most unique white wines. It's the intensity of Kistler without the tropicality. Before I swore of swordfish for environmental reasons, the FH was my favorite wine for the steak of fish. Now I settle for salmon. Got a bottle here to try, think I'll move it to the tasting queue to make sure I get around to it.


Please let me know what you think. Oregon Chardonnays are another wine that have shown much improvement over the last 3 or 4 years. IMHO.

Jenise wrote: Hey, maybe with the chantarelle lasagna I'm making for dinner tonight?


okay...give the recipe.

Jenise wrote:Speaking of chardonnay, in another thread, did you say the Arcadian Sleepy Hollow was one of the best chardonnays you've ever had? I was thinking so when I scooped up bottle of the 2001 yesterday in Vancouver.


hmm...did I say that? I probably was talking about my love for the 01 Sleepy Hollow...which is a wonderful wine. Probably wouldn't make it the "Best" but very very good.

Jenise wrote: With Joe Davis' style, I'm presuming that five years on a chardonnay can only be to the good.


Agreed. I have had a few 96s...one being a gift from Joe. They go from Great! to ... hmmm there is a problem here. I have found a lot of bottle variation in pre 2000s. Seems to be better now.

Jenise wrote:Oh, and re yet another thread in which we talked, you mentioned a trade for a Brick House? I would absolutely say yes, only it turns out mine are 2000's, not 99's as I'd thought. I presume the 2000 isn't of as much interest to you.


Well not as much but I would still be open to switching a bottle. Are you in Vacouver. I am usually there once a year. We could just pop a bottle of each then.

Cheers,

Jason
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Re: WTN: New And Old St. Innocent Pinot @ Belle Povenance Vineyard

Postby DebA » Mon Oct 23, 2006 4:58 pm

Really enjoyed the notes and pics, Jason. I had heard about the background split in the Seven Springs Vineyard, though I've not tasted any wines from Anden yet, but was thrilled to read about the St. Innocent Pinot Noir "7 Springs Vineyard" 2004 as I just ordered (4) bottles last week and am looking forward to them very much! You indicated that it drinks very well now, but should I hold a couple back for a time? Thanks. :cool:
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Re: Hmm.... a few thoughts.

Postby Jenise » Mon Oct 23, 2006 6:42 pm

Jason, re the Andens, I've only tasted one (an 02, of which I purchased six on faith), and it was rather dark and mean. Like you, I'll have to wait and see but if that was typical then I'll stick with my SS's and newfound love, the White Rose.

Re Vancouver, yes, or at least close by. Would love to meet you some time when you're in town.

Re the chantarelle lasagna, I was going to modify another wild mushroom lasagna recipe, but I didn't end up cooking at home Saturday night. It will now either be tonight or tomorrow night. I'll post it on the food board here later this week.
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Re: Hmm.... a few thoughts.

Postby Jason Hagen » Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:07 pm

fyi. I am usually in Langley.

Do you buy the Special Selections?

I'll look for the recipe.

Jason
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Re: Hmm.... a few thoughts.

Postby Jenise » Mon Oct 23, 2006 8:14 pm

Langley's closer. I'm American and live just over the border in Birch Bay.
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