2019 The Stalker Pinot Noir
ABOUT THE STALKER PINOT NOIR
The Stalker Pinot Noir is a unique wine. The fermentation style was developed by ROCO’s owner/winemaker, Rollin Soles in a quest to develop deeper, richer flavors in a Pinot Noir without adding heavy, over-the-top green tannins. The name refers to Rollin’s time in Australia, where they call the grape stems ‘stalks’. The label features Rollin being “stalked” by our logo, a Thunderbird: It was conceptualized by his wife and co-owner, Corby Stonebraker-Soles and was carved into a linoleum block for printing.
2019 VINTAGE NOTES
This was quite the “Yo-Yo” growing season, so definitely not boring to this old Veteran Vintner, Rollin Soles. The warmer-than-normal start in May with temperatures into the 90’s was a worry as there is normally a colder temp at the time. Then, when the shoots were a good 6 -8” long, a cold, rainy mid-May hit came for a full two-week period. Then, a warm long summer kicked in. And just as anticipated, from first of September to the 19th, we were presented with nearly 3” of cold rain. Mt. Hood looked fantastic with its early mantle of white snow! Cool temps and refreshing rains after such a long time dry in the vineyards, lifted the aromatics (think “floral” qualities) and the elegance in the palate and in the fruit flavors.It’s becoming a pattern here in the Willamette, where we receive a “refreshing wash” of cold rain at the end of August or into early September (15, 16, 17, 19 for example). Seems to brighten and lift the fruit and acidity of our wines.
Hand picked Pinot Noir grapes are chilled overnight to 40F. The next day, whole berries are de-stemmed into small 1.6 tons fermenters for a 10-Day cold soak. During this cold soak, 100% of the stems that were removed are collected and separately aged for 7 days under inert gas. Removing the stems is a paramount step, since traditional whole cluster fermentation does not ensure fully ripe stems. Then the aged stalks/stems are hand punched into the cold grape berry fermenters, kicking off the fermentation. They are punched down twice a day until end of fermentation. The grapes are then gently pressed and the juice is transferred to French oak barrels and matured for 18 months before bottling.
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES
“The aromatics are immediately “stemmy”, leaf tobacco with black cherry fruits, deep night time red rose petal scents and brown sugar. The palate is RICH on perfectly bracing acidity, fruit expression is like a fruity Montepulciano red wine, blackberry compote fills the middle while showing masculine tannin grip through the long finish.” - Rollin Soles, Winemaker
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