2014 St. Innocent Winery, Justice Vineyard Pinot Noir, $55
Winery Info: St. Innocent was founded in 1988 by Mark Vlossak who is still at the helm today, overseeing both the production of the wines and the vineyard work. His winemaking goal is to create wines that display their provenance: the site’s terroir, the character of the vintage, and the personality of the winemaker. He is passionate about food, and crafts his wines to be enjoyed with meals.
Winemaker: Mark Vlossak
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir, aged 16 months in French oak, 20% new.
Vineyard: Justice Vineyard, in the Eola-Amity Hills. Planted in 2001 by Ted Casteel at 450 feet elevation on a southeast slope of thin, volcanic soil. Vlossak says that making wine from fruit grown by Ted is a gift.
Flavor profile: Medium bodied and complex, with aromas of dark fruit and forest floor and rich flavors of raspberry and red cherry. With savory hints of herbs, great minerality, and supple tannins.
Production: The distributor has about three 6-packs left.
Drinkability: They suggest decanting before serving, then enjoy anytime over the next six to eight years.
Food Pairing: The winemaker suggests dishes with nuanced and complex preparations, such as risotto or blanquette de veau (French veal ragout)
2015 Angela Estate, Angela Vineyard, Pinot Noir, $29.75
Winery Info: Antony Beck is a second-generation wine producer from South Africa where his family owns Graham Beck and Steenberg Vineyards. His love for Pinot Noir led him to Oregon where he became friends with renowned winemaker Ken Wright. In 2006 Antony and his wife Angela, along with Ken, planted the first vines of their future winery (named for Antony’s wife). The estate now consists of two vineyards, Angela Estate and Abbott Claim.
Winemaker: French native Alban Debeaulieu. After studying and working in France for many years, including with Burgundy’s Drouhin family, he moved to the states in 2013 to work at Domaine Drouhin in Oregon before joining Angela Estate.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir
Vineyard: Angela Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Planted in 2006 with Wädenswil and Dijon clones on ancient marine sedimentary soils (Wellsdale, Peavine, Willakenzie, and Melbourne).
Flavor profile: The hot, dry 2015 vintage tended to produce wines with warmth and power, with darker fruit flavors and hints of spice. This one beautifully displays those characteristics, balanced by a bright, juicy acidity and long, smooth finish.
Production: 8,500 cases made. The distributor still has a bit left.
Drinkability: Now, or over the next five years.
Food Pairing: Salmon, roast chicken, or other lighter, savory fare.