The Point, Chehalem Highlands, Pinot Noir, 2016

  Rose & Arrow

Wonderfully measured complexity here. Very assured, very calm. Polished volcanic minerals, pin point dark cherry fruit, touches of spice, lyrical dark fruited, with very fine bones. This has a lot to say and is in no hurry to say it. Seamless and effortless with no hard edges. A core of stones wrapped in gossamer fruit. Located at 600ft elevation, in the highlands of the northern Chehalem Mountains. The soils are small red basalt pebbles with a fine basalt dust.

Contains Sulphites.

About Rose & Arrow

Rose & Arrow is the brainchild of Mark Tarlov, the man who started Evening Lands, and Louis-Michel Comte Liger-Belair, who in turn invited legendary terroir consultant Pedro Parra to join the project. The aim here is simple; to make the best Oregon wines by uncovering the region’s Grand Cru terroirs. Together with on-the-ground winemaker Felipe Ramirez, the team have spent the past 6 years decoding the land of the Willamette Valley, looking at plots within plots, and then focussing in on specific seams of rocks within these plots.

The endeavour started back in 2012 and since then scores of wines have been made and blind tasted, their notes overlaid onto the data from Pedro Parra’s ingenious vineyard mapping techniques. Using electro-magnetic mining technology and old fashioned soil pits (over 200 dug to date), the team were able to pin point the exact types of geology that produced the most thrilling and eloquent Pinot Noir from the valley’s various soils.

Armed with a new understanding of what might be possible, land was acquired. Today they own or farm over 60 hectares of land dotted across 5 of the 7 AVAs. The majority of the harvest goes into a separate project called Chapter 24. The very finest plots, just over 2 hectares, less than 4% of the harvest, are what produce the 100-350 case cuvees that make up the Rose & Arrow range. These plots, generally east facing on volcanic soils from the mid slopes, are those that provide the aromas, textures and flavours that the project is looking to unearth.

In winemaking terms, the techniques are almost identical to those practiced in Louis-Michel’s Vosne domaine, and yet the aim has never been to produce Burgundy from Oregon, but moreover to allow Burgundian thinking to shape the way one might produce the very finest wines from the Basalt soils of the Willamette valley. All fruit is destemmed, extractions are more like infusions, with regular gentle pump overs in open top fermenters, the oxygen rich environment allowing for complex aromatics and very measured alcoholic degrees. Elevage is carried out over 12-15 months, with no racking. The same coopers are used as in Vosne, specific barrels selected and flown over from France each year, with new oak usage kept to around 50%. The results are both staggering and individual. Here are wines that combining the unmistakable elegance and finesse of Comte Liger-Belair winemaking with deeply volcanic mineral cores and finely tailored, effortless finishes.

The wines are organised around three tiers. The ‘Village’ wines represent small vineyards holdings that share similar rock compositions. Up one level you find the ‘Articulates’, where specific rocky sections within vineyards, those that display especially individual characteristics, are separated out and bottled up. Finally, at the top of the tree sit the ‘Prime Expressions’; three wines that hail from very specific pleats and folds of rock that provide complex, very complete expressions of Pinot Noir from specific geologies.

Appellation: Chehalem Mountains

The range that separates the urban sprawl of Portland from the Willamette Valley itself, holding back heat from the east and catching rain from the west. Soils here feature basalt, marine sedimentary uplift and wind-blown loess on the eastern slopes. There’s a huge variation in what is produced here, depending on elevation and soil types, though undoubtedly some of the regions finest wines can be found here.

Grape Type: Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is the classic grape of red burgundy, whose greatest wines are concentrated in the east and south-east-facing clay/limestone hills of Burgundy's Côte d'Or. A notoriously temperamental variety, Pinot Noir has proved difficult to grow in certain climates and soils and will not tolerate over-cropping. The best examples have wonderfully expressive aromas and thrillingly pure bitter sweet red forest fruit and cherry flavours, developing truffle and game overtones with age. At their greatest they offer a lightness with intensity and are transparent enough to magnify the characteristics of the terroir in which they are grown. Outside of Burgundy, Pinot Noir has had great success in New Zealand, coastal California, Oregon, Hemel en Aarde in South Africa and the more marginal, cooler districts in Australia. Along with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir is also one of the major components of Champagne.