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Roco Wits' End Pinot Noir 2012

Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • WS92
14% ABV
  • WW92
  • WE91
  • WS91
  • WS93
  • WE90
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Deep garnet color. Ethereal cherry blossom and vanilla bean nose. The velvety texture and rich, plump berry brightness on the palate gives this wine a heavenly quality. Full robust flavors wrap the mouth with rounds of perfectly ripened red cherries, raspberries, and a pinch of pepper, punctuated with a nice firm tannin structure. The finish sails on and on! Juicy, red elegance with lots of power and panache. I can't get enough of this first bottling of Wits' End!

Critical Acclaim

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WS 92
Wine Spectator
Polished, sleek and almost plush, with refreshing balance to the apricot-accented black cherry and cinnamon flavors, lingering easily against velvety tannins. Drink now through 2020.
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Roco
Roco, Willamette Valley, Oregon
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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.

Willamette Valley

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One of Pinot Noir’s most successful New World outposts, the Willamette Valley is the largest and most important AVA in Oregon. With a temperate climate moderated by a Pacific Ocean influence, it is perfect for cool-climate viticulture—warm and dry summers allow for steady, even ripening, and frost is rarely a risk during spring and even winter. Mountain ranges bordering three sides of the valley, particularly the Chehalem Mountains, provide the option for higher-elevation, cooler vineyard sites. The three prominent soil types here create significant differences in wine styles between vineyards and sub-AVAs. The iron-rich, basalt-based Jory volcanic soils found commonly in the Dundee Hills are rich in clay and hold water well; the chalky, sedimentary soils of Ribbon Ridge, Yamhill-Carlton, and McMinnville encourage complex root systems as vines struggle to search for water and minerals. The silty loess found in the Chehalem Mountains, somewhere in between the other two in texture, is fertile and well-draining but erodes easily, creating challenges for growers but necessitating careful vineyard management.

The celebrated Pinot Noir of the Willamette Valley typically offers supple red fruit, especially cranberry, without the powerful punch often packed by its California counterparts. Elegance is paramount here, and fruit flavors are balanced by forest floor, wild mushroom, and dried herbs—much more in line with Burgundian examples of the variety. Chardonnay too takes its inspiration from the French motherland, focusing on tart, crisp fruit and minerality, rarely relying upon heavy new oak. Pinot Gris here is fleshy and bright, and Riesling is dry, aromatic, and citrus-focused.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

In the Glass

Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

EPC27310_2012 Item# 147070