Our Wines

2014 Pinot noir Zenith Vineyard

Zenith is our Estate vineyard and located 9 miles NW of Salem, Oregon. The grapes for this wine come from various blocks, most of them face SE and warm early in the morning. One faces SW and is warmer in the afternoon. Four different clones of Pinot noir are planted: Pommard, Wadenswil, 115, and 777. The de-stemmed grapes were fermented in small stainless and Burgundy oak fermenters with no SO2, allowing the fermentations to proceed naturally. After gentle pressing and settling, the wine aged in French oak barrels, 21% of which were new, for 16 months before bottling by gravity and without fining.

Crop Level: 2.9 tons/acre
Harvest: 9/19 - 9/28
Bottled: February 2016

Vineyard Details

St. Innocent began producing wines from this site in 1989 when it was known as O'Connor Vineyard. We produced vineyard designated O'Connor Pinot noir for ten years, ending in 1998 when the vineyard was leased to Willamette Valley Vineyards. One of our customers, Tim and Kari Ramey purchased the vineyard in 2002 and in early 2006, St. Innocent Winery united with the Rameys and now jointly own Zenith Vineyard, LLC. In 2007 we built a new winery completed just in time for the 2007 harvest. On our 133 acre property, we now have a total of 89 planted acres, of which 13.5 acres of Pinot noir is reserved for St. Innocent's production.

The vineyard is a south facing bowl at the west end of and east facing valley in the center of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. This location collects light all day, but is protected from afternoon heat by the harger ridge just to the west. Together it creates a lovely brightness and freshness to our Pinot noirs.

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

Balanced aromas of white flowers, cardamon, red berries, and dried leaves intertwine in the nose of the 2014 Pinot noir, Zenith Vineyard. A broad mixture of red berries coats your palate along with sweet spice, and a more visceral red floral base note. Very fresh acidity and broad sweet tannins create a broad and lengthy finish to this well structured Pinot noir, Still young, its fruit will become even more forceful over the next 6-12 months amply rewarding the patient.


92 Vinous, December 2016

Ruby-red. Powerful smoke-and spice- accented red berry liqueur and cherry scents take on notes of allspice and cola as the wine opens up. Sweet and round on the palate; juicy blackberry and floral pastille flavors shows appealing spiciness and a touch of anise. Powerful yet energetic, delivering strong finishing punch and silky, slow-building tannins that fold smoothly ino the juicy fruit. - Josh Raynolds