Gravel Road Chardonnay 2017, Roco Winery, Oregon
ABOUT GRAVEL ROAD CHARDONNAY
This 2017 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.
2017 VINTAGE NOTES
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.
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.
Produced by Roco Winery
Family owned and operated by Rollin and Corby Soles, Roco Winery represents the finest in Oregon winemaking. The Soles purchased the vineyards 30 years ago, situated in the Chehalem Mountain Range in the Willamette Valley and the site enjoys an enviable combination of elevation, south-western exposure, diverse soil types, natural springs, and geological aspect. Planting the Wit’s End Vineyard in 2001, it was just two years later that they produced their first vintage of Private Stash Pinot Noir showcasing Rollin’s small-lot winemaking skills, which was poured at the White House. A winery was built in 2009, later expanding their Wits’ End vineyard to keep pace with Roco’s growing prestige and demand. Texas-born Rollin has a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and a master’s degree in enology, and his winemaking balances science and nature, with flying winemaking experience gained in California, Switzerland, Washington and Australia. Roco wines have been named among the Top 100 Wines of the World by Wine Spectator an impressive 13 times, a distinction matched by no other Oregon winemaker. In 2013, Rollin Soles was named one of the “20 Most Admired Winemakers in North America” by Vineyard & Winery Management magazine.
The 2017 vintage was perfect for Chardonnay.
The aromatics are especially lovely, with pear, citrus/quince, with roasted hazelnut, vanilla, and celery stalk savory notes. The palate may be the finest balanced Chardonnay we’ve made at ROCO. Look for passion fruit and floral notes of honeysuckle and pear blossoms framed by lovely chestnut and vanilla bean spice. The fulcrum of ripe fruit to fine citrus acidity is delightful with a finish that is long and full of joy. - Rollin Soles, Winemaker. 90 points Wine Enthusiast