Our Wines

2015 Chardonnay Freedom Hill Vineyard - ONLY sold as part of '18 Spring WineClub


The Freedom Hill Dijon clone Chardonnays are Meursault-like: darker fruit with a stony minerality and rich textures in the mouth. Mark struggled with the specific style for Freedom Hill Chardonnay until his visit to Burgundy and Chablis in 2003. There he tasted a grand cru Chablis fermented entirely in used barrels. Our chardonnay is now fermented in the same manner. Mark finally feels that he has captured the terroir of Freedom Hill . After settling, pure juice (no SO2) was barrel fermented with indigenous yeasts. The wine finished malolactic fermentation (wild) and was aged sur lees for eleven months entirely in used French oak barrels. It is unfined and lightly filtered before bottling.

Vineyard Details

Freedom Hill Vineyard is located in the foothills of the coast range 10 miles southwest of Salem, Oregon. The Chardonnay blocks have a southeast exposure at an elevation of 510' and benefit from heat rising off the valley floor. Hills to the east protect the vines from strong coastal winds. The vines were planted in 1999 and 2006 with Dijon clones 76 and 548 on well drained silty clay loam. Eight years ago, we began replanting the 108 clone of Chardonnay originally planted in Oregon with French 'Dijon' clones. Experimental wines had been made in Oregon from these clones in the 1980's. I believed they would produce wines with fully ripened fruit and also have the rich textures found in white Burgundies. Since 1999, all of St. Innocent's Chardonnay vines are producing fruit exclusively from the Dijon clones. I am now convinced that the results were worth the huge effort it required.

Vintage Description

The summer of 2015 started off with intense heat that faded off into a very warm and sunny season. Harvest began early with us first picking fruit on September 2 in cooler conditions. Yields were about 15% higher than normal and fruit was as perfect as I have seen. We continued to harvest throughout September and finished by the end of the month. The balance of flavor, tannin, acid, and sugar were as perfect as I have seen in 29 years. I am excited to see how the wines develop.

Tasting Notes

Pale golden straw colored. The nose has pungent aromas of wet stones, pear, peach skin, dried ginger and allspice. Almost creamy in texture, the flavors quickly coat your mouth with a rich juiciness of pear, white peach, and a rich river-stone like minerality. The pear and ginger notes blend into a persistent viscosity balanced by round acidity, slowly fading into the lingering finish. The texture maintains its freshness throughout with a lovely brightness. Lovely now, I am excited to see how this Chardonnay develops over the next 6 years.

Mark Vlossak, Winemaker