Our Wines

2014 Pinot noir Momtazi Vineyard

Our Momtazi Vineyard grapes come from four blocks at the top of the vineyard on steep, exposed hillsides that become quite windblown. The de-stemmed grapes were fermented in small stainless steel and Burgundy oak fermenters. After gently pressing and settling the wine aged in French oak barrels, 28% which were new, for 16 months before bottling by gravity.

Crop Level: 2.4 tons/acre
Harvest: 9/27/14
Bottled: February 2016

Vineyard Details

Momtazi Vineyard is located in the McMinnville AVA, 7 miles west of McMinnville, Oregon. Planted in 1999 and 2004 on thin, poor soils, the vines have a south and SW exposure at an elevation of 680-760'. The vineyard is certified biodynamic by Demeter. In 2006 I approached Moe Momtazi and asked if St. Innocent could contract for Pinot noir fruit from his bio-dynamically farmed vineyard. From my first trip to France in 1998, I observed that the greatest domaines in both Burgundy and Alsace had one thing in common: they farmed bio-dynamically.

Biodynamics is an integrated system of farming that incorporates and encourages diversity in the entire ecosystem, from the roots and soil, through the macro-climate of the vine. A step beyond organic farming, this system was developed by Rudolph Steiner. The end result is a greater sense of the terroir of the site.

Vintage Description

The 2014 season began with sunny and warm spring weather. Bloom occurred in the second week of June, about 10-14 days earlier than normal. Good weather during bloom set a normal to large crop requiring thinning at about half of our vineyard sites where we removed 20-50% of the clusters. The summer continued to be warm with more 90º+ days than normal. Extra vigilance in the vineyard was required in July due to humidity that increased the mildew pressure. We began the harvest with Oeil de Perdrix on September 12th, closely followed by Chardonnay on the 17th and the first Pinot noir on the 19th. The last Pinot noir from Temperance Hill Vineyard arrived on October 8th and the final Pinot blanc from Freedom Hill Vineyard arrived on 10th. This was our largest harvest ever: 240 tons of fruit resulting in 13,200 cases of wine. With clean, ripe, and very flavorful fruit we were able to create bright and pleasurable wines.

Tasting Notes

This is a complex wine that reflects the heat of the afternoon sun, the cool, windy evenings, and the rustic soils of the McMinnville hills while retaining the dark beauty of its intense, ripe fruit. It is aromatically complex with layers of blue and black fruit, Indian spices, coffee hints, and pepper. In the mouth the blue/black fruit flavors and eastern spice notes are layered with a "sauvage" sense of wildness. Texturally layered, its flavors vary in intensity and quality over your tongue and palate. Ample ripe tannins balance with its acidity.


92 Vinous, December 2016

Brilliant red. Deep-pitched red and dark berry aromas are complicated by suggestions of succulent herbs, cola, and lavendar. A subtle vanilla nuance emerges slowly with air. Juicy, focused, and pure, offering gently sweet black raspberry and cherry cola flavors, a touch of licorice and a jolt of peppery spices.