He says, "Pretty frickin good! The 06 Willamette Valley Pinot is translucent ruby red in color with a concentrated black cherry nose that has a lively touch of rhubarb pie and a spice rack that includes black pepper and cinnamon. It is very rich in the mouth yet has a tangy, jazzy, cherry fruit, with back pepper and hits of blueberry in the finish. The tangy mouth leads to a creamy texture when sampled with rich foods; even anchovies!" -Rollin Soles
She says, "The color is a lovely dark red garnet. At first there is a hint of rose petals in the nose, spice, cinnamon, a bit of cobblestone earthiness. There are nice full dark berry flavors in the front of the mouth with a red spicy center, and a long creamy finish. I love the wonderfully balanced acids and tannin in this wine and can't wait to drink it with a variety of foods. In the mouth I get deep black cherry, cinnamon and hints of vanilla with a drop of rich earthiness to round it off. This wine has an edginess to it that says "this is special" which is partly because 06 vintage was spectacular in general." -Corby Soles
Rollin and Corby Soles planted their small Wits' End Vineyard, located on the southwest slope of the Chehalem Mountains, in 2001. Two years later they produced their first vintage, four barrels of the 2003 Private Stash Pinot Noir. They were so delighted with the wine that they decided to produce two separate ROCO Pinot Noirs each vintage: the Private Stash and Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Rollin brings more than twenty years of Oregon winemaking experience, a passion for Pinot Noir and insistence on the highest winemaking standards to this private family venture.
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Named for the river that runs through the valley from Portland to Eugene, Willamette Valley is home to some of the best Pinot Noir vineyards in the Northwest. While along the same north/south line as Seattle, the Willamette Valley is protected from Pacific rains by the Coast Range on the western border and the Cascade Ranges to the east. Though sunshine is typically plentiful, rainfall can occasionally be tricky, and the wines here vary vintage to vintage. Within the Willamette Valley are are number of sub-regions, including McMinnville, Dundee and Yamhill.
The valley is known for its Pinots – Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. With a climate similar to Burgundy – in rainfall, sunlight hours and other climate factors – Pinot Noir has flourished here. Pinot Noir in Oregon produces wines that are fruit forward, yet complex, some with good agebility.
Other than Pinot Noir, many wineries grow Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Pinot Gris from Oregon is delightful in its texture and food friendliness. Chardonnay in the valley adapts well to the cool climate and produces lean, elegant wines.
Oregon has long been an agricultural state, producing everything from hazelnuts to cattle. The Willamette Valley in particular is a fertile basin for all sorts of produce. Not quite pegged as a wine state, in 1965, a UC Davis graduate named David Lett decided that the Willamette's climate mirrored that of Burgundy in France. With that in mind, he decided to plant some Pinot Noir clones to see how they did. And a good gamble it was. The Willamette is now one of the only regions in the world to focus solely on Pinot Noir as its red variety. Also known for Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. The southern part of Oregon has been slower in delving into the world wine market, but has been making excellent strides with their Rhone style varietals, like Syrah and Grenache. There are also coastal regions producing promising wines.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.