September 29, 2015

Vineyard: Zenith

OwnersKari Ramey, St. Innocent Ltd., Tim Ramey
AppellationWillamette Valley
StoryOperated by Tim and Kari Ramey and their partner, St. Innocent, Ltd. Located in the Willamette Valley and planted with 60 acres of Pinot Noir, 12 acres of Chardonnay, and 9 acres of Pinot Gris. Zenith uses a "pragmatic organic" approach to cultivating the grapes.
VarietiesChardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir

Reviewed wines produced from this vineyard

2014 Ponzi Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc

13.4% alc., pH 3.23, RS 1.8 g/L, $20, screwcap. Sourced from Aurora Vineyard (Ponzi’s LIVE Certified Sustainable vineyard - 74%), Zenith Vineyard (19%) and Thistle Vineyard (7%). Fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Malolactic fermentation prohibited. · Very light golden yellow color in the glass. Demure aromas of poached pear, nectarine and honey lead to a light bodied, but flavorful, core of white stone fruits with a hint of citrus. A delicate, but pleasant wine with a slightly sweet finish. This wine is more akin to Pinot Gris than Chardonnay and will pair well with shellfish and quiche. Score: 88. Reviewed June 14, 2015 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 St. Innocent Villages Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 1,621 cases, $23. The core of this wine comes from Vitae Springs Vineyard (56%), with contributions from Freedom Hill (6%), Zenith (28%) and Momtazi (10%). 2-day cold soak, fermented in stainless steel, aged 12 months in 14% new French oak, and bottled without fining. · The nose is pleasing with aromas of purple grapes, blackberries, cassis and oak. Mid to full-bodied frame of purple and black fruits. Forward and fruit-driven, with a well-matched backbone of suave tannins. A solid, everyday wine. Score: 88. Reviewed July 6, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 WildAire Timothy Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.55, 260 cases, $25, screwcap. This wine is dedicated to Matt Driscoll’s father, who loved to hike in the Appalachian Mountains and return to the homestead to share a glass of wine with family and friends. Sourced from Shea, Kiff, Illahe and Zenith vineyards. 100% de-stemmed, proprietary yeast. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very fragrant initially with aromas of raspberry, cherry, rose petal and dried herbs, losing interest over time in the glass as the fruit aromas faded. Middleweight flavors of cherry and raspberry with a hint of spice and noticeable oak presence. A forward drinking, back porch wine. Score: 87. Reviewed December 11, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 WildAire Reserve Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 250 cases, $35 (sold out). Crafted from select barrels from several legendary Oregon vineyards (Kiff clone 777, Shea Wädenswill clone, Zenith clone 115 and Wädenswil, and Illahe Pommard clone). 100% destemmed, Native and proprietary yeast fermentations. 23 days on the skins. Aged 10 months in 33% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Appealing aromas of black cherries, loganberries and loamy earth. Relatively approachable for a reserve wine, with tasteful notes of black cherry, boysenberry, plum and spice. The tannins are balanced and the wine finishes with a moderately intense charge of cherry fruit. The wine improves over time in the glass indicate age worthiness. Score: 91. Reviewed December 11, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Seufert Winery Zenith Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 245 cases, $35. Pommard and 777 clones. Vineyard planted in 1999. Multiple soil types. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of red cherry, cranberry and dried herbs are replicated in the flavors of this lighter weight wine that is a bit tart and tannic. A little oak is trying to add interest, but the tannic sinew and sharp acidity overwhelm the delicate fruit. If I was drinking this wine, I would chill it or add ice to temper the tannins. Score: 86. Reviewed May 14, 2015 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Adelsheim Zenith Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., pH 3.52, 143 cases, $90. Third single vineyard wine from this vineyard that was originally planted in the early 1980s by Pat O’Connor. Kari and Tim Ramey bought it in 2002 and renamed it, expanding the plantings to 70 acres. Clones are 667, “828,” 115, and Pommard planted in volcanic and sedimentary soils. Aged 10 months in 31% new medium-toast French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Seductive aromatics offering scents of black cherries, forest floor and spice. Soft in the mouth and relatively light in weight, with appealing black cherry flavor set off by an earthy note. The tannins are nicely balanced and the good acidity adds grip. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with glorious aromatics. Score: 91. Reviewed October 11, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 St. Innocent Zenith Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 704 cases, $30. Clones 777 and 667 from older blocks and young vine Pommard. Yields 1.4 tons per acre. 100% de-stemmed, 2-day cold soak, aged 16 months in 40% new French oak, bottled without fining. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy nose initially, opening slowly over time to reveal inviting aromas of black plum, blackberry and subtle oak. Middleweight flavors of dark red and black berries, backed by well-proportioned firm tannins, finishing with a pleasing note of raspberries. Very soft in the mouth with seamless balance. Will benefit from further bottle age. Very Good. Reviewed September 12, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »