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
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
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