My favorite Texan, the inimitable Rollin Soles, was in town this week and gave a typical edifying/entertaining talk on Oregon wines. A few highlights:
• On a recent vintage: “I love 2013 to death. It’s so fresh and delicious. But it’s also an extreme vintage; it separates the adults and the kids.”
• On the Marsh Vineyard, where he buys pinot noir grapes: “The grapes all taste different based on compass points. We’ll pick the south [block] first, then the east, and so on. They’re all different.”
• He opined that Willamette wines’ aromatics emanate from “the early evening, when it’s warm” but still cooling off.
• He no longer makes a Willamette Valley bottling, instead blending grapes from three vineyards under the label “Gravel Road.” Eh? “All the vineyards we work with are alongside gravel roads.”
• He likes sourcing grapes from the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, because of the effects of the Van Duzer Corridor, which funnels in winds from the ocean. “It makes the skins tougher, but you still get this great essence of black fruit.”
• He started making a pinot called “The Stalker.” He separates the stems from the grapes at crush time, but stores the stems in insert gas for seven days, then puts them back together with the grapes. The 2013 had a fabulous lush texture to go with that vintage’s freshness.”
• The ever-droll Soles threw in some of his usual unique phrasings, referring to some people in the trade as fitting in at “crybaby school” and talking about a slim female compatriot thusly: “She has to jump around in the shower to get wet.”