On the same hill as Sokol Blosser, Stoller planted their earliest vineyards at the family’s old turkey farm in 1995 beginning with 10 acres of Pinot Noir and 10 acres of Chardonnay. There are currently 190 acres of vines, primarily these two grapes, planted for estate use. Devoted to sustainable farming, Stoller is certified LIVE (Low input viticulture and enology), Salmon Safe and LEED Gold, the first facility in North America to be rated so – and it is the whole facility that has this rating!
We arrived and got a preliminary look around the large, open tasting room before a bus load of visitors arrived behind us. Apparently this tasting room, right beside the production facilities, is just over 18 months new. Reclaimed wood from a closed Powell’s Book Store provide the giant corner posts for the tasting room. The Biscuit Ridge fire supplied the ceiling boards. The views from the tasting room into the vineyard were lovely, even as the clouds crowded together in the sky and the rain pelted everything in sight. The place is beautiful, but the glass and wood only echoed the noise from the many people moving and talking.
Gerry poured for us; we discovered each of us was in a community college wine program – his, I believe, is the Chemeketa CC for a wine business and marketing. Fellow students and devotees to wine, we chatted and tasted the wines with as much conversation as the situation allowed. He is familiar with Walla Walla & our wines, so I look forward to seeing him and his wife when they visit our territory.
The tasting began with Chardonnay. The first is a stainless fermented, ML-completed Chard with mouthfuls of apple and apricot while the second is oak fermented Chard, a Reserve, with vanilla and apples in a well-rounded wine. Both were great, my hubby preferred the second while I enjoyed the first. A Pinot Noir Rose’ was a nose full of rhubarb and strawberries while on the palate rhubarb and ripe peach.
The first Pinot Noir being tasted was from young vines with about eight months on oak creating a bright, light,very subtly spiced red currant and ripe gooseberry wine. The second 2011 PN, a Reserve, was full of cassis and leather, so very different from the first! Conversation was limited enough that I wasn’t able to ask questions about the clones or locations within the vineyard. The tasting was rounded off with a 2011 Tempranillo and 2011 Syrah, each from 1 acre estate blocks.
As we left we remarked that this was another candidate for a repeat visit since the experience was less than we could have hoped for. Walking to the car, with blissfully no rain falling at that moment there was a posse of horses coming around the edge of the parking lot; the woman in the lead had a white veil on – a bridal party on horseback! Our departure was none-too-soon, the staff had their hands full that day.
We have already begun planning another visit to Oregon’s wine country – we also have the middle section of Oregon’s HWY 101 to visit – not sure when, but it will happen.