2021 Chehalem Crossing Vineyard Pinot Noir
ABOUT CHEHALEM CROSSING
Owned by the Frank family, the Chehalem Crossing vineyard is located on Chehalem Mountains on a south-facing gentle slope at 800 feet in elevation. This vineyard location is in the newly created Laurelwood AVA with Loess soil deposited in the northern Willamette Valley nearly 2 million years ago. The Pinot Noir we harvested from this site is predominantly Pommard and Clone 115. It has a silky texture with generous fruit expression.
2021 VINTAGE NOTES
The Spring start to 2021 was one of the driest on record. Heaps of sunshine and warmth gave us the prospect of a nice crop of winegrapes. Just as the clusters bloomed, we received a shot of cold, wet drizzle. The result was rather poor pollination, limiting a potentially large crop.
The Summer progressed normally until record heat hit us over the 25-28 July period. By plan, most of our vineyards are setup to drip irrigate if required. Watering vines a couple of days before the 25th seemed to allow the vines to “weather” the heat.
Harvest began with Sparkling and Pinot Nero Bianco on 31 August with great acidity and fruit flavor. Much of our chardonnay and pinot noir was harvested under sunny Fall skies. A refreshingly cold rain dropped snow down to 5500’ on the 19th and 28th which benefited our later ripening Pinots! The last day of harvest was October 14. Six weeks of picking and grinning!
The wines are delicious, do not lack for acidity, and due to our ability to drip irrigate vines and chill whole clusters at the winery, fruit expression is concentrated and fresh.
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 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 then sent to barrel for malolactic fermentation to soften the acidity and to add further complexity, then racked once to new, one, two and three-year-old, tight-grained, French oak barrels. The wines are aged in barrel for 18 or more months before bottling.
Luscious and elegant from the start, this inaugural vintage expresses fruit-forward finesse. Instant aromas of black raspberry, black currant, and huckleberry leap out of the glass with hints of petrichor and subtle baking spice.
The first taste washes over the palate with a melody of fresh, fruit flavors including more huckleberry, blackberry, Bing cherry, and a touch of Italian plum. Supporting this rich, juicy center is a hint of earthy purple sage, lively acidity, and smooth, silky tannins on the finish.
93 Wine Spectator