2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Winemaker's Vintage Notes
Early in the season the vines set an “interesting” mix of normal and tiny berries on the clusters. This is a good thing as each size berry ripens at a different rate – thus adding complexity of flavors to the wine.
In July, we experienced a number of days where the evening temperatures did not drop to their normal “chill.” Oregonians flocked to the Pacific Oceanside and mountain rivers for relief from the warm weather. What I didn’t expect was that this brief event would speed up the rate that the vines matured the fruit regardless of the vineyard elevation.
Significant amounts of cold rain fell over Labor Day Weekend. Fortunately, the fruit was not ripe enough to become prey to mold infections.
Then, in min-September, we experienced a typical event where very warm, dry air whips in the Valley from the Columbia River Gorge to the east. This dry wind can desiccate ripe berries, causing the berries to lose connection to the vine. At Wits’ End, we have a full time spring from which we irrigate the vines just enough BEFORE the “furnace” comes on, to allow the vines to withstand the drying effects of this high desert wind.
After the east winds, the weather cooled down to normal Oregon Fall temperatures and beautiful conditions brought rich, ripe, luscious fruit to our fermenters. The result is lovely, balanced, richly colored Pinot Noir that is perfectly matched to pleasant mineral and tannin textures. It will delight the drinker today and merit some serious age in the bottle.
ROCO Pinot noir is hand picked 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 five 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 large 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 one, two and three‐year‐old, new, tight-grained, French oak barrels.
The wines are aged in barrel for 18 or more months before bottling.
Winemaker's Tasting Notes
"A nice deep inhale of spice and blackberries with a touch of chocolate. Pure fruit flavors lavishly roll across the tongue with true complexity and a nod toward the soil-tender flavors of earth, minerality and an essence of myrrh. It is rich and succulent on the palate with a long dark cherry finish. I've not said this before ... this is my favorite ROCO Willamette Valley to date." -Rollin Soles, Winemaker
91 Wine Advocate
91 Wine Enthusiast (Editors' Choice)
90 Wine Spectator
Sign up for ROCO's email newsletter