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ROCO Wines

In 1987, Rollin Soles hatched the Argyle Winery and this same year he purchased a hillside property in the Chehalem Mountains. It was many years later, in 2001, that Rollin and his wife Corby planted a 7-acre Pinot Noir vineyard on the property and named it Wit’s End Vineyard. The vineyard is uniquely situated to take advantage of the protection afforded by the Chehelam Mountains which shield the vineyard from winter Artic winds and the Dundee Hills to the south which temper the wind from the Pacific Ocean. The vines are planted to a high density and three Dijon clones make up the mix.

The Wit’s End Vineyard has been a family project of great pride and Rollin and Corby farm the property with utmost care and attention. Beginning in 2003, they produced four barrels of Pinot Noir meant for family and friends under the ROCO (rock-oh) label and called Private Stash. Beginning in 2004, Soles has crafted two Pinot Noirs, a ROCO Willamette Valley bottling and the ROCO Private Stash. A small amount of the wines is released to the public each vintage.

The thunderbird image on the ROCO label is a reproduction of an ancient petroglyph removed from the Columbia River George in the 1950s. The bird image is said to represent the “wild essence and intriguing history of the Pacific Southwest and ROCO wines.”

I tasted both the 2005 ROCO Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and the 2005 ROCO Private Stash Pinot Noir and found the wines highly unique, stunning in style and polish, complex and layered, and possessing lovely depth and richness of fruit. I am embarrassed to say that I misplaced my tasting notes (the first time that I can remember ever doing this) which were filled with superlatives, so I will include the notes of Rollin Soles. I was so taken by these wines that I went out the following day and purchased several bottles of each.

2005 ROCO Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $40. A blend of the winemaker’s favorite Willamette Valley Vineyards including the Wit’s End Vineyard. · Soles says: "I like the ruby red 2005 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir already. The nose reveals violet, deep black cherry, mother’s roast beef and red currant jelly. I get the red currant in the front of the mouth, a mineral sweet center, and the finish is black cherry that includes a long hint of cinnamon with gripping, youthful tannins."

2005 ROCO Prviate Stash Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 100 cases, $70. · Soles says: "In the nose I get a bit of black licorice, plum cake and black pepper that flows effortlessly to black cherry as it has time to open in the glass. In the mouth, the wine is juicy with flavors of pomegranate and plum juices. Its center is spicy with bits of licorice, a touch of pepper and a long sweet fruitcake finish."

ROCO Pinot Noirs are available in limited quantities on the website at www.rocowines.com. 503-538- 7625. Recently, a vertical of all three of the Private Stash Pinot Noir vintages were offered for sale on the website.

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