Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Another 1998 St. Innocent Pinot Noir

I purchased a bottle of this from a friendly retailer in Oregon and brought it back to New Orleans to offer to friends at a regular weekly gathering of wine geeks at one of my favorite restaurants in town.  Clancy's is located way uptown, off the streetcar route, but plenty of tourists still vie with locals for treasured reservations.  The kitchen works magic with seafood, especially crab, both lump meat and soft-shell, and I can not resist their sweetbreads.  Veal is another specialty and the pork chops could change your life.  
A recent lunch seemed like the perfect excuse to bring an aged bottle from a good vintage to the group, which includes the owner, since everyone loves Pinot Noir.  Older Oregon Pinot Noir is still not all that well understood by many, myself included.  
I had the opportunity to taste a number of 1998 Oregon Pinots last year, in particular some St. Innocents (see October 11 and 12, 2008 posts).  The two St. Innocents from last year left very different impressions on me; one amazed and entertained, the other underwhelmed.  The Brick House Vineyard that I brought to Clancy's fell somewhere in the middle.  It had more lively fruit than the Freedom Hill but not as much pretty intrigue as the Shea.  Here are my notes for the St. Innocent Brick House Vineyard Pinot Noir 1998.
Earthy nose, maybe even iodiny (that faded with 15-20 minutes open) but good old fruit too.  The fruit emerged more and more in the first 45 minutes open, but never fully blossomed.  The palate was all earth, spice and that bricky, dried fruit found in many wines with age.  The wine was lovely, although not so pretty as it was meaty.  With more time, the earth eventually overwhelmed the fruit but the wine remained lively on the palate.  Overall, a solid wine, well worth the wait, but I would drink it soon if you happen to have any.

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