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WTN: 2004 St. Innocent "White Rose" Pinot Noir

by Jenise » Wed Aug 02, 2006 2:21 am

2004 St. Innocent Pinot Noir, White Rose Vineyard
Willamette, Oregon


As part of my yearly case selection I ordered six of the Shea Vineyard pinots from the winery, and by mistake they sent me the White Rose instead. I have not cared for the White Rose in the past--found them sweet and candied in the nose--so in spite of the low probability of my wanting to keep these I opened one anyway to go with tonight's pork roast and decide if they were worth keeping.

They ain't gettin' 'em back.

No sweetness, no candy. Just an incredible pinot nose--the kind that fills the room--of complex cherry fruit. There are none of the hallmark Oregon notes of flowers or plums, and instead there's a bit of tomato skin and some delicate leathery elements. Because of the tomato skin, blind, I'd have guessed this to be a Santa Barbara pinot though it has a Burgundian kind of precision to it. The mid-palate's a bit tight and ungiving, and what's there is more cherry and tomato and salt--a surprising amount of salt--and some elegant acid and tannins. With food, the wine comes alive. I can understand why of all the wines he makes this is the only one he has left--it's not drinking well right now--but I trust that amazing nose, Mark (the winemaker) and this vintage to turn this bright, dark ruby colored wine into something special. At the very least I want to see it through because it's so unlike anything I've had from Oregon before, and so tantalizing.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Bill Buitenhuys

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Re: WTN: 2004 St. Innocent "White Rose" Pinot Noir

by Bill Buitenhuys » Wed Aug 02, 2006 10:28 am

Don't you love surprises like this? I can't recall ever finding salt notes in a red wine. The profile sure sounds interesting.
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Re: WTN: 2004 St. Innocent "White Rose" Pinot Noir

by Otto » Wed Aug 02, 2006 10:39 am

Bill Buitenhuys wrote:I can't recall ever finding salt notes in a red wine.


You haven't? I find them quite often - usually in Pinots so I didn't find Jenise's note surprising - but also often in young Aussie Shiraz. Curiously the saltiness in those seems to lessen and disappear with age. But maybe I'm just sensitive to salt - I only use a tiny bit of salt in my cooking because to me it tastes always strongly. Perhaps therein lies the reason? We have different tolerance levels for the taste?

-O-
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.
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Re: WTN: 2004 St. Innocent "White Rose" Pinot Noir

by Bill Buitenhuys » Wed Aug 02, 2006 10:51 am

Otto, I just did a quick search through all my TN's (all compiled in a big ole Word document) for the past 3 years and I don't have any mentions of salt in reds. I love salt. In fact, I just bought 3 specialty salts recently (pink peruvian, trapani from sicily, and smoked halen mon from Wales). Maybe I use too much? ;-) I bet you are right and we just have difference tolerance levels, like people do have with TCA. I will pay more attention for salt traces, particularly in shiraz. Thanks!
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Re: WTN: 2004 St. Innocent "White Rose" Pinot Noir

by Jenise » Wed Aug 02, 2006 12:31 pm

Otto and Bill,

Let me throw a wrench in your works: I love salt, use it freely, and yet I often find salt notes in wine, and like Otto it's usually in pinots. I have never gotten a satisfactory answer about what causes it, though I remember asking the question after coincidentally running into it in several Sonoma Coast appellation Cali-pinots. I've noted it in other pinots around the world, too, though I can't recall encountering it in an Oregonian before.

MORE TASTING NOTE: with food? (I posted the TN before dinner.) Oh my. No, OH MY. With a salad of "black prince" heirloom tomatoes and diced avocado, and then with the pork roast over mashed Peruvian purple potatoes and herb-mushroom gravy, the salt disapearred and the mid-palate fruit I'd been missing was all over the place. I'm wrong about the wine not being ready to drink: it just needed food. It's a gorgeous food wine. I could taste everything and the nose if anything doubled in volume, though that hardly seems possible (the wine is but medium bodied). We swooned to the last drop. This is a total Europhile style pinot--all about class and elegance, not size. There is no way I'm sending these back.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: 2004 St. Innocent "White Rose" Pinot Noir

by James Dietz » Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:05 pm

Just got my shipment of SIs the other day, but haven't opened any. I think I will start with the Shea. Unfortunately, I didn't order any of the White Rose. Speaking of which, Jenise.. have you had any of the White Rose Cellars wines??
Cheers, Jim
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Re: WTN: 2004 St. Innocent "White Rose" Pinot Noir

by Jenise » Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:39 pm

Jim, ever have a wine that doesn't just impress you, but the aromatics almost alter you chemically, make you a little euphoric? This wine did that. And I'm not the only one it affected that way. After dinner Bob drug his telescope out on the patio so we could look at Jupiter and the craters on the Moon and when we came inside he started digging out CDs and playing planet songs: Righteous Brothers "Ebb Tide", Danny Wilson's "Steam Train to the Milky Way", Van Morrison's "Moondance" and for some reason anything by Ray Charles. He who walked in the door complaining about how tired he was had to be drug off to bed at 11:00. You know your erstwhile brother well enough to know that's not the usual Bob.

Oh--he just IM'd me and suggested I buy another full case of the White Rose. :D

I've got Mark Vlossak's cell phone number. I'm tempted to call and tell him all this--it's about the last thing he expects to hear after my unhappiness over being sent the wrong wine and being told they were out of the right one.

I'll be interested in hearing what the Shea's about. I have a singleton bottle I received as a club shipment, so I won't be opening that one until about 2012.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: 2004 St. Innocent "White Rose" Pinot Noir

by James Dietz » Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:44 pm

LOL.. funny about Bob, Jenise......

Yeah, we opened the '95 LMHB after all, and the nose was wonderful and intense.. but on the palate.. nada.. for about 1 1/2 hours.. then the wine opened up to be as beautiful as I could have hoped.. Once had a '98 Poujeaux that I still remember as the most captivating aroma I had ever encountered. I didn't care if I ever tried the wine.. .. sniffing was good enough (well.. we did drink it.. but you know what I mean).

I need to check with my SI source and find out why I got no White Rose...

On a side note, Jenise... I just knew you would answer me about the decks... and that size mattered.. he he
Cheers, Jim
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Re: WTN: 2004 St. Innocent "White Rose" Pinot Noir

by Jenise » Wed Aug 02, 2006 2:22 pm

Your SI source prolly didn't order any WR. I can't remember seeing any reviews of it, and it doesn't have the buzz factor that the SS and Shea do because it doesn't score big with Rovani. But that nose...we're like you that way, one of the biggest compliments we can pay a wine is to say that sniffing it was almost enough. Maybe that's why we got so high--all that oxygen!

Glad the LMHB delivered. Do you have another to hold for later?

Re the decks--you know I couldn't let that go. Hey, but change the 'e' to an 'o'--guess what, as of last Saturday we officially own a dock. We don't have a boat yet, but I can go sit on my dock with a bottle of wine and dream. By next summer, we'll be island hopping. You and Lorena should come up.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: 2004 St. Innocent "White Rose" Pinot Noir

by James Dietz » Wed Aug 02, 2006 4:17 pm

Does Bob now have a big dock???
Cheers, Jim
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Re: WTN: 2004 St. Innocent "White Rose" Pinot Noir

by James Roscoe » Wed Aug 02, 2006 4:41 pm

James Dietz wrote:Does Bob now have a big dock???


Do we really need this kind of information?
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Re: WTN: 2004 St. Innocent "White Rose" Pinot Noir

by Jenise » Wed Aug 02, 2006 5:21 pm

James Dietz wrote:Does Bob now have a big dock???


Here we go again....
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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