It’s easy to see why this wine is popular. It bridges the gap between California and Burgundy fairly effortlessly–something I think Oregon has SHOT for for the past 30 years. It’s dark and meaty, fully ripe, robust and fruit-driven in the nose, but also shows streamlined graphite and beautiful earth along a spicy core. Grandma perfume, wet sandpaper, balsamic and bitter icing dabble in tiny sun-lit streaks across the surface. There’s no Oregon *weirdness*, and here is where every Oregon fan sumps up and goes WHATCHU TALKIN BOUT “WEIRD”??? and everyone else on the planet goes, “We know EXACTLY what you’re talking about.” There’s really no barnyard poopy funk in it though–a disappointing direction–and I may retract my original statement and say perhaps it IS a little closer to the California model–something I have noticed Oregon shooting for quite handily in the past decade.
In the mouth, it drinks along the deep, dark ruby visual. Rich and plush, the cherry splits itself off into thick concentrated parts and shrill acidic portions, the initial chunkiness flowing over the middle clean, refreshing and restrained. It composes itself watery and thin, cool minerality poking at the sides of your tongue–a perfect opportunity for the tannin to convince the fruit to go THAT WAY while it does its little dealio over here on center stage. In classic *good wine* momentum, they never fully part ways, each brightening and reinforcing the other. It’s a chocolate, tobacco, white pepper and blackberry-infused mélange, and not very Burgundian. But also not Russian River Valley. As with every pinot I taste, I ask myself, “Is this Syrah?” and here we have a *no* but not an unequivocal no. A tad more pinot STANK would be in order, and I’m going to chalk it up to an entry-level wine with definite crowd-pleasing attributes. But not too many.
I really like this wine, and I think this is a Pinot that would drink ridiculously from the cellar in 10 to 20 years. But it’s pretty damn gorgeous now.
2014 ST INNOCENT Pinot Noir Momtazi Vyd Willamette Valley Oregon 13.0