Winery: St. Innocent
Wine Name/Vineyard: Shea Vineyard
Wine Category: Pinot Noir
Grape blend: 100% Pinot Noir
Bottle size: 750 ml
Region: Willamette Valley
State or country: Oregon
Cases produced: 956
The Barrel Cellar Score: 92 points
Review date: May 20, 2020
About the Winemaker: Mark Vlossak, of St. Innocent Winery has been making wine from grapes sourced from Shea vineyard for 25 years, “since its first real crop.” Mark has described Shea as his favorite vineyard, which is high praise from a man who makes world class Pinot Noir sourced from a variety of vineyards. Mark describes his wine from Shea as “very distinctive, and having a very clear profile.” It’s worth noting that Mark isn’t the only one offering praise of (his) St. Innocent’s Shea vineyard Pinot Noir. Robert Parker has awarded previous vintages as many as 94 Points.
You can read about my visit and interview with Mark here.
Nose: Spring flowers, honeysuckle, cherry, and oak,
Taste: Vanilla bean, cherry, black pepper oak.
Assessment: By typical “dainty and reserved” Oregon Pinot Noir standards, this wine crosses a line. It is a bit of a bruiser, it’s full bodied, fruit forward, and earthy. The intertwining of flavors of vanilla bean and oak tannin is glorious. I use the term glorious because the balance between the two here is quite unique. Both flavors are typical in many red wines, but the way the two flavors play off of each other in this wine is different; there is extraordinary depth. It is not dissimilar from how the same chord progression can strike a different emotion depending on the song – or your mood. Each sip is lush with a silky smooth texture and the finish is sustained with deep earthy goodness and tinged with bright acidity.
Pairing recommendation: Lamb roast, short rib ravioli and crushed tomatoes, or dark chocolate.