Oregon Wine Club – November 2011

2009 St. Innocent, Justice Vineyard, Pinot Noir
We featured the 2007 St. Innocent Justice Pinot in our June 2010 club, at which time we waxed on in great detail about both this winery and Justice Vineyard. Founded in 1988 by Mark Vlossak, St. Innocent is one of the most established and highly-regarded Pinot producers in Oregon. Vlossak is still at the helm today. He sources his fruit from independently owned vineyards, from select blocks grown specifically for his winery. He works closely with each grower and Ted Casteel, who planted Justice Vineyard in 2001, is one of his favorites. Vlossak says, “I consider it to be a blessing to access fruit from Justice Vineyard. To make wine from fruit grown by him is a gift.” Although only in its ninth leaf, this vineyard produces wine with broad texture and layers of flavor. This month we present St. Innocent’s 2009 Justice Vineyard Pinot. The wine begins with aromas of baking spice and red fruit and, while light in color, it has remarkable depth and elegance. It is a wine of great complexity and finesse. Vlossak believes that wine should complement and enhance the flavors of food and add to the pleasure of a meal. This one is a perfect match for the foods of Burgundy, such as Coq au Vin or Boeuf Bourguignon. He suggests drinking it any time over the next few years, or aging up to a decade to let it evolve. It is $48.

2009 Bergström Wines, Cumberland Reserve, Pinot Noir
Bergström winery has been producing highly acclaimed wines in Oregon since 1999. Founded by John Bergström, it is now in the capable hands of his son, Josh, who is both vineyard manager and winemaker. While he may be one of the younger winemakers in Oregon, he has garnered quite a reputation for his exceptionally beautiful and expressive wines. With his great passion, energy, and attention to detail, Josh combines Old World philosophy with New World techniques. He spent time studying in Burgundy, where he saw how the focus was first and foremost on the vineyards. “What I noticed more than anything was that these people are farmers!” This would explain the underlying Bergström philosophy that winemaking must be about vineyard expression. Josh uses no herbicides or pesticides in his farming and their vineyards are all Demeter certified (officially Biodynamic). The winery owns several of their own vineyards, and also works with other top vineyards, such as Shea and Temperance Hill. Their Cumberland Reserve is blended from some of Oregon’s greatest vineyard sites and appellations. The 2009 vintage tended to produce lush, ripe wines that are quite approachable while young. This Pinot is definitely in that category: suave and silky, balanced and opulent, it evolves slowly in the glass and lingers long on the palate. Enjoy it now, or over the next three to five years. The winery suggests pairing it with barbecue, meat dishes, cheese plates, game, or pasta. In other words, it would go well with just about anything! It is $39.75.