In December 2013, the Drouhin family, owners of Joseph Drouhin in Burgundy, and Domaine Drouhin Oregon, purchased the 279-acre Roserock Vineyard in Oregon’s Eola-Amity Hills.
“When our father, Robert, bought land in Oregon in 1987, we were excited to discover what was possible,” notes Véronique Drouhin-Boss, Domaine Drouhin Oregon’s winemaker. DDO produced its first vintage of Oregon Pinot Noir in 1988. At the time, the winery’s interest in the area was seen as a validation of Oregon’s ability to produce world-class Pinot Noir… And the purchase of the Roserock Vineyard in 2013 only added to the unprecedented interest and activity among Oregon’s oenological cognoscenti.
When Ms. Drouhin-Boss, along with her father, Robert, and brothers, Frédéric, Laurent and Philippe Drouhin, purchased the Roserock property, 122 acres were already planted mostly to Pinot Noir; 11 acres to Chardonnay. They were already familiar with the vineyard – they had purchased fruit from it for Cloudline, the family’s other brand – they also knew Roserock was high quality, as fruit from its vineyard had previously been sold to fine producers such as Ponzi and others.
If the recently released 2014 first vintage is any indication, Roserock is already an incredible success. Totaling roughly 16,000 cases, the three releases are proving stunning in the glass and are collecting superlatives from the critics. Offerings include a Pinot Noir cuvée, a reserve Pinot called Zéphirine, and a Chardonnay. I have sampled both the Pinot Noir cuvée and the Chardonnay and been significantly impressed by both.
The 2014 Roserock Pinot Noir is a blend from the vineyard’s thirty-five blocks or sections. The grapes are handpicked, sorted, and then individually fermented before blending. Pinot Noirs from the Oregon’s Eola-Amity Hills are known for their hefty structure and power, but 2014 Roserock is distinguished by its elegance and finesse. Floral and spicy on the nose, the palate is rife with dark fruit, velvety and smooth, and the finish long and lingering.
The 2014 Roserock Pinot Noir garnered 94 points from critic James Suckling, who described it as “silky and beautiful.” Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate added 91 points, while Wilfred Wong of Wine.com, Wine & Spirits, and Antonio Galloni bestowed 90 points, respectively. The 2014 retails at the $35.00 mark, somewhat lower online.
The 2014 Roserock Chardonnay is equally engaging. The grapes are handpicked from the vineyard’s three Chardonnay blocks, sorted, pressed immediately, and then sent in equal parts to stainless steel tank and barrel. Once malolactic fermentation is completed, the two portions are blended into the final cuvée. In the glass, the wine exhibits a beautiful golden hue. On the palate, it’s a light-on-its-feet, perfectly balanced, delicately textured wine with a beautifully persistent finish.
On again, the oenological powers-that-be have been effusive. The 2014 Roserock Chardonnay collected an incredible 95 points from critic James Sucking, who raved: “A very pretty texture to this wine with cream and dried apples in addition to hints of lemons and limes. A medium to full body and soft yet bright acidity. Love this fabulous wine. Don’t miss it.” Like the Pinot Noir, it retails around the $35.00 mark; however, it is significantly less expensive from a number of online sources.