2017 Wits' End Chardonnay
ABOUT THE WITS' END VINEYARD
Purchased in 1987, the Wits’ End vineyard drapes down the southwestern slope of the Chehalem Mountain Range at 400’ elevation. Situated among stands of native trees and two natural springs, the property is a quintessential Willamette Valley landscape, teeming with wildlife—including owls and hawks, coyotes and even cougars. Having anticipated this site as a perfect spot for vines, the Soles’ began planting their vineyard in 2001 to Pinot Noir. Then, in 2013, they expanded it to a total of 20 planted acres, adding a block of Chardonnay in the process. Today, the property stands as testament to nearly 30 years of Willamette Valley vineyard know-how. The clonal selection is outstanding and cutting edge. The vineyard is densely planted on blonde marine sedimentary soil, derived from old ocean floor sandstone and shale, and farmed for low yields. The fresh water springs on the property flow year-round, providing irrigation capability from an old water right. The Pinot noir and Chardonnay from this vineyard are truly unique and expressive, producing wines that will age.
ROCO Chardonnay is handpicked and then chilled overnight at 38˚ F in a large storage room. The chilled bunches are then pressed and the juice is sent to a tank. After settling in tank, the juice is inoculated and racked to neutral oak where is completes fermentation. After primary fermentation is complete, the young wine goes through malolactic fermentation in order to soften the acidity and to add further complexity. Next, the wines are racked to a mix of new and neutral French oak. There they rest for at least five months before bottling.
2017 VINTAGE NOTES
The 2017 vintage was completely different from the previous three years when vintners harvested their grapes earlier than normal. The wet, cool spring delayed flowering until late June, setting the stage for a later harvest. Hot, dry conditions prevailed through the summer and fruit set was higher than average requiring thinning to ensure incredible wines. There is a fresh fruit component and complexity that emerges to the forefront in the wines.
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES
“I always figured our Estate Wits’ End Vineyard would be a fantastic spot for Chardonnay. Its “blonde” soils and perfect gentle southern slopes feel perfect for great Willamette Valley Chardonnay. This first ever Wits’ End Vineyard chardonnay did not disappoint! The aromatics indicate a crisp, freshness with a lovely mix of white nectarine flesh, streamside grass, white flowers, vanilla and fresh eggnog spices. The flavor is simply vivacious! Lush plus, reminiscent of roasted summer vegetables: lemon grass, celery, Jerusalem artichoke, then a layer of pear and white nectarine fruit. The mouth feel builds weight going into the mid-palate. Natural cool climate Chardonnay vanilla and fresh cream flavors kick in toward the finish with a touch of spiced, citrus fruit that sail on and on." -Rollin Soles, Winemaker
91 James Suckling "Aromas of pear pastry, lemon drops and fresh figs lead to a palate that has a smooth, succulent feel with fresh pastry-like texture. Grilled-cashew finish." James Suckling, January 2020
Sign up for ROCO's email newsletter