2014 Gravel Road Pinot Noir
90 Wine Spectator
Winemaker Tasting Notes:
Aromas of ripe Black Splendor plum fruit, mocha and a subtle, earthy white peppercorn spice. Dark spice and mission fig with vanilla essence on the palate. Ripe, fruit driven texture from beginning to end, framed by robust yet sanded tannins.
Rollin Soles, Winemaker
Winemaker’s Production Notes
ROCO Pinot Noir is handpicked and then chilled overnight to 38°F in our large cold room. The chilled bunches are gently de-stalked and the whole berries fall into small 1.6 ton open fermenters. The berries soak for about ten days before beginning ferment with our proprietary, house-cultured indigenous wine yeast. Soaking allows gentle extraction of color and flavor from the berry skin, and not the bitter-tasting seeds. The fermentations are hand punched twice a day to mix skins and fermenting juices. Ferments are allowed to reach about 28°C. A post-fermentation soak occurs until the wine is just right for removing from the skins and seeds. At that time the ferment is gently pressed in our modern tank press. The young wine is sent to barrel for Malo-lactic fermentation to soften the acidity and to add further complexity. After MLF, the wines are racked once to a mix of new and three-year-old, tight-grained, French oak barrels. The wines are aged in barrel for 18 or more months before bottling.
Winemaker's Vintage Notes
The 2014 growing season started out beautifully and ended up that way too, rich and wonderful. The gentle warm weather allowed the grape flowers to pollenate in large numbers resulting in many grape clusters. We knew then that we would spend a lot of money thinning clusters so that we wouldn’t have too much fruit on the vines.
Fifty days after flower bloom, we estimated our final crop load and made plans to thin. We cut off half to 2/3 of our young, green fruit clusters to ensure full ripeness in our wines. The cost of this work is HIGHER than the cost of harvesting. After experiencing other warm vintages like 2006, 2003, and 2009…we knew what to do! The summer continued to be dry and sunny. (If all our summers were like this we’d have 30 million residents in Oregon instead of 4 million!)
June to September was VERY dry. Fortunately, we have irrigation available at the majority of ROCO vineyard sites. Cold rain events at the end of August and mid September were very welcomed. I think this bit of precipitation perked the vines up, delivering extraordinary fruit. We harvested fruit from the 11th of September to 5th of October.
Sparkling wine grapes showed ripe fruit and high acidity. The Chardonnay came in delicious and complex. While the Pinot Noirs were exceptionally dark colored, powerful, textured and balanced.
|Varietal||100% Pinot Noir
|Appellation||Willamette Valley AVA
|Vineyard||Vitae Springs, Marsh Estate, Knudsen, Shea, Wapato & Wits End Vineyard
|Aging||18 + Months
"Purity of fruit is so alluring with strawberry and citrus undertones. Perfumed. Full body, firm and chewy tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Very structured." J.S. 11/16
90 Wine Spectator
"Light and expressive, with an open texture and a pretty range of raspberry, strawberry and peppermint flavors that glide into a refined finish." H.S.11/16
"Vivid red. Ripe red and dark berry scents, along with suggestions of cola and musky herbs. Smooth and gently sweet on the palate, offering cherry and blackberry flavors that are energized by a jolt of peppery spices. Clings with very good tenacity on the finish, which is framed by dusty, even tannins.." J.R., 12/16