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2016 Gravel Road Chardonnay

2016 Gravel Road Chardonnay
2016 Gravel Road Chardonnay

ABOUT GRAVEL ROAD CHARDONNAY

This 2016 Chardonnay is a blend of the three best Chardonnay vineyards in the Willamette Valley: Wits’ End, Knudsen, and Marsh Estate Vineyards. Located in the Chehalem Mountains AVA, Wits’ End is the Soles’ estate vineyard. Four acres of Chardonnay were planted here in 2013. As a result of Rollin’s 30+ years in the industry, ROCO has access to premium fruit from Marsh Estate and Knudsen Vineyards. Rollin crafts wines that balance minerality and rich power.

 

2016 VINTAGE NOTES

The 2016 growing season was a cross between the 2014 and 2015 vintages. It started with a warm, sunny spring and early summer, leading to earlier than “normal” vine development in the vineyards. Heat spikes in May and the first part of June brought an early bloom to the Willamette Valley. The rest of the summer, however, was pretty standard with mostly dry, warm days. We gladly welcomed nine cool, damp days at the end of August, which helped mitigate a bit of dryness in the vines. That last bit of rain helped preserve acidity and complexity in the wines.

 

We started to pick earlier than expected on September 9, but once we started, it was a pretty mellow harvest, which allowed us to do everything in an orderly and best practices sort of way. Our 2016 wines are flavor packed with great, rich fruit expression. From whites to reds, this vintage is a real “crowd pleaser.”

 

WINEMAKING PROCESS

ROCO Chardonnay is handpicked and then chilled overnight to 38˚ F in a large cold room. The chilled, whole cluster bunches are pressed, and the juice is sent to tank. After settling in the tank, the juice is racked to French oak barrels where it completes fermentation. After the primary fermentation, the young wine goes through malolactic fermentation to soften acidity and add further complexity. The finished wine ages on its’ original yeast lees until bottling in July.

 

WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES

“This wine has the characteristic youthful green-yellow straw color found in ROCO Chardonnays. Aromas of citrus blossom, pear fruit, brown turkey fig, and lovely spice leap out of the glass to greet you. This wine was built for aging with a bold mineral core wrapped by rich comice pear, a hint of citrus starfruit, and cashew nut, leading to a promise of white peach with a touch of Tahitian lime in the middle palate.  The finish is opulent without going heavy. This is a seamless, cool climate Chardonnay.” - Rollin Soles, Winemaker

90 WINE ENTHUSIAST 

93 JAMES SUCKLING

91 INTERNATIONAL WINE REPORT

Varietal100% Chardonnay
AppellationWillamette Valley AVA
VineyardGran Moraine, Knudsen, Marsh Estate Vineyards
Aging8% New French, 10 Months
Alcohol14.00%
Volume750 ml
Cases Produced700 cases

 

90 WINE ENTHUSIAST 

“This is a tart andtasty effort, matching pear and white peach fruit to brisk acidity. There is a touch of unsalted butter, suggesting at least partial malolactic fermentation, and it leads into a pleasantly creamy finish.” – P.G., 10/01/2018

 

93 JAMES SUCKLING

“This offers a smoothly ripe and gently creamy array of fresh peach and white-nectarine aromas and flavors with a wealth of upbeat purity on the palate. Citrus edge on the finish. Handy balance here. Drink now.” – J.S., 11/20/2018

 

91 INTERNATIONAL WINE REPORT

“The 2016 'Gravel Road' Chardonnay is sourced from a host of Willamette Valley vineyards including Gran Moraine, Knudsen and Marsh Estate. The nose offers aromatics of orchard fruit, butterscotch with toasty Challah bread and ripe banana. The palate is nicely textured, with white peach, roasted pineapple, Meyer lemon and macadamia nut cream flavors persisting through the long finish.” – O.B., 06/2018

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