Vitae Springs Vineyard established in 1986 and expanded in 1999, is located in the rolling hills five miles south of Salem, Oregon. The grapes come from two blocks. The original planting is at the base of the 'home block' on a south slope of well-drained Jory clay at an average elevation of 600'. The more recent 'Inwood' vineyard is planted on a steeper hillside of volcanic Nekia soil running from 600-760'.
We began making Pinot gris produced from Vitae Springs in 1993. In 1999, Mark asked grower Earl Van Volkinburg, to quadruple the acreage. The Vitae Springs Pinot gris used to be the smallest production lot at St. Innocent (one year we only produced 83 cases), but no longer.
The vines struggle, especially in their youth, because the soil is thin, but the quality of the fruit from this site is very high. In order to get the concentration and texture in the wine, the yield is limited by thinning to achieve a crop of about 2.7 tons per acre, which is much lower in comparison to the average Alsace and Oregon yield of 5 tons per acre. This allows Mark to pick fully ripe fruit with a level of intensity not possible at higher crop levels.
We produce this Pinot gris in a style to accentuate the wine's texture, ripe fruit and spice flavors. The must was tank fermented, aged for eights months on the lees and lightly filtered before bottling by gravity.
2016 was the third in a string of warm summers and early harvests. It produced the smallest crop of the three. The harvest began with a bit of heat and dehydration in the fruit. This immediately resolved with cooler temperatures and the rest of the harvest produced well balanced fruit with lovely flavors and ripe tannins. We finished picking at the end of September, producing a total of 10,200 cases. In general 2016 produced lush, early-drinking wines with lovely aromatics and accessible fruit, spice and floral notes. They can be aged and are quite approachable in their youth.
Food Pairing Notes
Spicy Thai or Vietnamese dishes, salmon, or grilled vegetables