Our Wines

2016 Pinot gris Vitae Springs Vineyard


We produce this Pinot gris in a style to accentuate the wine's texture, ripe fruit and spice flavors.  The must was tank fermented, aged for eights months on the lees and lightly filtered before bottling by gravity.  It is unfined and vegan. This Pinot gris complements rich white meat and pasta dishes, salmon, grilled vegetables, and is especially good with spicy (Thai, Vietnamese) foods.

Crop Level: 1.3 tons/acre
Harvest: 9/20/2016
Bottled: June 2017

Vineyard Details

Vitae Springs Vineyard, established in 1986 and expanded in 1999, is located in the rolling hills five miles south of Salem, Oregon. The grapes come from two blocks. The original planting is at the base of the 'home block' on a warm south slope of well-drained Jory clay at an average elevation of 600'. The more recent 'Inwood' vineyard is planted on a steeper hillside on thinner, volcanic Nekia soil running from 600-760'.

Mark began making Pinot gris produced from Vitae Springs in 1993. In 1999, Mark asked Earl Van Volkinburg, the grower, to quadruple the acreage, and those vines are now in full production. The Vitae Springs Pinot gris used to be the smallest production lot at St. Innocent (one year we only produced 83 cases), but no longer.

There are two blocks of Pinot gris at Vitae Springs Vineyard. The original planting at the 'home' vineyard is 20 years old. The younger Inwood planting is 12 years old and in full production. The vines struggle, especially in their youth, because the soil is thin, but the quality of the fruit from this site is very high. In order to get the concentration and textures in the wine, I limit the yield by thinning to achieve a crop of about 2.7 tons per acre which is much lower in comparison to the average Alsace and Oregon yield of 5 tons per acre. This allows Mark to pick fully ripe fruit with a level of intensity not possible at higher crop levels.

Vintage Description

2016 was the third in a string of warm summers and early harvests. It produced the smallest crop of the three. The harvest began with a bit of heat and dehydration in the fruit. This immediately resolved with cooler temperatures and the rest of the harvest produced well balanced fruit with lovely flavors and ripe tannins. We finished picking at the end of September, producing a total of 10,200 cases. In general 2016 produced lush, early-drinking wines with lovely aromatics and accessible fruit, spice and floral notes. They can be aged and are quite accessible in their youth.

Tasting Notes

Our last two vintages of Pinot gris from Vitae Springs Vineyard have been especially aromatic and rich. Probably the result of a slightly cooler fermentation and exceptional white wine vintages, the only downside of 2016 is the much reduced production, only 420 cases. Pungent with spicy ginger bread, pear compote and hints of green chile the fruit and spice interact in beautifully complex ways. Broad over the arch of your palate, juicy, prickly spices dance over the back of your mouth with dried pear, allspice and hints of white Iris. With the most savory spices of our white wines this is a perfect match to jambalaya, pad thai and oysters Rockefeller.