Our Wines

2015 Pinot noir Zenith Vineyard ONLY sold as part of '18 Fall WineClub

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: 2.3 tons/acre
Harvest: 9/15 - 9/21/15
Bottled: February 2017

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 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

Remarkably rich with dark red berries, cherries and warm spices, the nose of our 2015 Pinot noir, Zenith Vineyard is balanced with fresh floral aromas. Solidly structured with broad ripe tannins, concentrated dark fruits, woodland spices and hints of bay and coriander. Nicely balanced with vibrant acidity, the savory tannins extend throughout the finish. This may be the most complex and ageable wine from Zenith I have produced. Age through the winter and begin enjoying in Spring 2018, it will continue to fascinate through 2035.

Mark Vlossak, Winemaker