2018 St. Innocent Winery, Momtazi Vineyard, Pinot Noir, $48
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 20% new French oak barrels.
Vineyard: Four blocks of the Demeter-certified biodynamic, Momtazi Vineyard, in the McMinnville AVA. Planted on steep, exposed hillsides with thin, poor soil at an average of about 700 feet elevation.
Flavor Profile: Rich and expressive, with dark fruit flavors, notes of savory spice, and a touch of forest floor. It has enough structure to pair with heartier foods.
Availability: 1,045 cases made. This vintage is still in decent supply at the moment.
Drinking Window: If drinking soon, decant an hour or so before serving. Enjoy anytime up to around 2028.
Food Pairing: The winery suggests braised meats, roasts, mushrooms, or dishes with eastern spices.
2019 Evening Land Vineyards, Chardonnay, $39.75
Winery Info: Originally founded in 2005, Evening Land has gone through a number of changes over the years. Today it is headed by Raj Parr, James Beard award-winning author and celebrated sommelier, along with highly-acclaimed winemaker Sashi Moorman. They are also now sole stewards of Seven Springs Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, one of the top vineyards in the Willamette Valley.
Winemaker: Raj Parr and Sashi Moorman, with assistant winemaker Damien Lapuyade.
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay from Burgundian clones. Fermented and aged in French oak barrels (30% new) for about a year, followed by six months in steel tanks before bottling.
Vineyard: From a higher, rocky section of their Seven Springs Vineyard, farmed using organic and biodynamic principles. The site is exposed to the cooling influence of the Van Duzer Corridor.
Flavor Profile: This Chard, from the cool 2019 vintage, is elegant, nuanced, and very expressive of its special terroir. Perfectly balanced, it has beautiful texture without being too rich, and vibrant acidity without being too crisp. With flavors of yellow apples, baking spice, and a hint of lemon zest.
Availability: This wine is still in good supply.
Drinking Window: Drinking beautifully now, or over the next four or five years.
Food Pairing: A versatile food wine, it would pair well with lighter cream sauce preparations, especially fish or vegetable dishes.