2003 Pinot Noir, Anden Vineyard
Release Date: 9/2005
Retail Price: $32 per bottles
Production: 382 cases
Anden Vineyard (formerly part of Seven Springs Vineyard) overlooks the fertile Willamette Valley from its position in the hills west of Salem. Growing on a steep southeast slope, the vines are protected from maritime winds by a fold in the hills. The vineyard was planted in 1982 on Jory soil, a shallow clay over fractured rock, at an elevation of 400'.
The grapes were fermented in a small tank after one day of cold maceration. The wine aged for 18 months in 50% new French oak barrels and was bottled after a light gelatin fining.
This Pinot noir complements foods with rich and layered flavors - prime rib, stews, and cassoult. When served young, this wine is best decanted or allowed to breathe for several hours. It will benefit from aging up to 12 years.
The first Pinot noir I made at St. Innocent was produced from vines at this vineyard. That was the 1988 Pinot noir, Willamette Valley. The 1988, 1989, and 1990 vintages set very little Pinot noir fruit. In 1988 and 1989, the fruit from Anden (then called Seven Springs) was blended with Pinot noir from other sites to produce the 1988 and 1989 Reserve Pinot noirs. There was just not enough grapes to make a single vineyard wine. 1990 was the first vintage of vineyard designated Seven Springs (from what is now the Anden block).
A new planting at Seven Springs, commisioned by St. Innocent, came into production in 1991. Those young vines were blended with the original block to produce the 1991 Pinot noir, Seven Springs. These two blocks were blended together for each St. Innocent vineyard designated wine through the 2000 vintage. St. Innocent was the ONLY winery with Pinot noir made from a blend of both blocks.
The owners of Seven Springs divided the vineyard in 2001. The older, original block, sited lower on the hill, became Anden Vineyard. The upper block, which came into production in 1991, continued to be called Seven Springs. The '01, '02 and '03 Pinot noir, Seven Springs closely resemble the previous Seven Springs vineyard wines. The Anden Vineyard Pinot noirs reflects a different terroir - one with more intensity and wildness.
I backed off in the extraction in 2003 in order to balance the tannin extraction with the fruit. This was especially important in 2003, a vintage the produced very structured wines. I especially like the '03 and believe that it is my best effort from this vineyard to date.
The older vines bring greater structure to the 2003 Pinot noir, Anden Vineyard. Wild, black fruit, spice, and pepper aromas are reflected onto the palate. The tannins are substantial and are in harmony with the powerful fruit. The '02 Anden will certainly benefit from extended aging and will improve for at least 12 years.