Last year, I spent weeks cycling all over Oregon with the rogue Super Tour group (whereabouts: all over), and saw unparelled beauty of great heights, green pastures, rolling hills and rivers that unfolded like silk. It was beautiful and freeing to be on two wheels under the big, beautiful sky for hundred of miles, sloughing off the stress of a technologically-laden world. Unfortunately, I drank a lot of IPAs (in a region known for its Pinot Noir), and am lamenting that sport took over so much of my sipping capacity.
Tonight, opening the bottle of St. Innocent from Momtazi Vineyard in Willamette Valley Oregon (2010) brought out that feeling of beauty in a glass. If I were bigger than myself, I would say opening a bottle is like stepping out of a limo in couture before hitting the lights of the red carpet. It is a light burgundy, but on the nose, it hits you that this wine is bigger than its color. If art, and unlike it’s origins, I would call it a Goya: lengthy, hints of smoke and stretch wrapped around berries and leather in subtle obscurity. In literature, I would equate it to a comfortable leather bound edition of any great piece of work, but it feels like F. Scott Fitzgerald–direct like Hemingway, but with a turn of phrase that makes one tilt the head pondering. Whatever the equation brings you too, it is good. And is an example of what the wine/grape should and could be.
The wine is deep cherries, leather, vanilla, subtle oak and a deep woods sense of flavor and smell. The tannins are soft and the acid is medium–it can stand up to the gamey dish, fish, or something light that its paired with (for the record, I don’t need food with this wine at all!) It’s finish is long and gentle on the palette. The smell alone wooed me, and I want to go back to Oregon to roam among the vineyards as much as I did the road.
Priced a little higher than other everyday wines ($39.99), it is worth it to treat yourself after a hard day, to celebrate an unexpected sunset, or to remind yourself and the senses what it is like to breathe and drink something soulful and liberating. Enjoy. Buy a case, a couple bottles or one. But I would gladly give up a workout for this wine.