When St. Innocent Winemaker Mark Vlossak traveled to France, he noticed that many of his favorite wineries had one thing in common. They all used Biodynamic farming. So he began to search Oregon for some good Biodynamically farmed Pinot Noir.
This radical extension of the organic movement looks at the whole health of the vineyard, using organic practices, and also incorporated much pseudo-scientific thought. Many have compared it to holistic medicine. I don't agree with much of biodynamics, but do agree with Vlossak in the quality that this ideology often produced.
Vlossak purchases fruit from the biodynamically farmed Momtazi vineyard for St. Innocent and I knew that I had to try these wines. Luckily for me, my Ohio distributor had four vintages in stock and I was able to throw a vertical tasting of St. Innocent Pinot Noir 'Momtazi' 2007-2010.
It was no surprise that the wines were of excellent quality, but what surprised me was how the biodynamic farming seemed to moderate the effects of some extreme vintages. 2010 was one of Oregon's coldest ever and 2009 was one of the hottest ever. Yet the heathy Momtazi vines seemed to not let the wines vary significantly.
Similar things happend with the phenomenal 2008 vintage and the 'Meh' 2007 vintage. The wines were brought together stylistically. Was this the health of the biodynamics? I don't know the answer to that.
So let's get to the wines themselves.
St. Innocent 2010 'Momtazi' Pinot Noir. 92/100 Points. $39.99 OH retail
A light pink-red color. Bright red fruit nose with red apple skins. Delicate red berry cream on the palate with a gentle texture. Pleasant and undemanding, but still a super achievement. Graceful, if even a little whispy at times.
St. Innocent 2009 'Momtazi' Pinot Noir. 89/100 Points. $39.99 OH retail
Color is noticeably darker than the 2010. More intensity to the aromas, but less depth of flavor. Red plums, cherries, red dust on the palate with some oak and a strange citrus. Can feel some awkward alcohol.
St. Innocent 2008 'Momtazi' Pinot Noir. 91/100 points. $39.99 OH retail.
Dark purple-red. Aromas of intense red and black plums with brightness to the character. Soft and silky with dark black fruits and (for the first time) some tannins. This is young and tight with pronounced tannins, but just wait a few years.
St. Innocent 2007 'Momtazi' Pinot Noir. 90/100 points. $39.99 OH retail.
Brick red color. Floral aromas with light herbal notes. Palate is red and meaty with some warmth and hints of emerging herbs.
In conclusion, there are some delicious wines here at pretty reasonable prices. I'll definitely be looking for the 2010 'Momtazi' again. The Biodynamic Winemaking thing is still up in the air, but all if you want is excellent Oregon Pinot Noir, you might find this something that works well for you.