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Oregon wine country, part 16

Website: www.stollervineyards.com  

Bill and Cathy Stoller are the current owners of this estate, which Billís father and uncle ran as a turkey farm until the late 1980s. The entire property is 375 acres.

In 1993 Bill and Cathy brought the property from a cousin, and then in 1995 the first vines were planted here: 10 acres of Pinot Noir and 10 of Chardonnay. Currently, there are 175 acres under vine, but just 40 acres are producing at the moment. 80% is Pinot Noir, but thereís also Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Gris, as well as a tiny bit of Syrah and Tempranillo. By Oregon standards, this is quite a warm site.  

Bill and Cathy are also co-owners of Chehalem, and Chehalem gets about half of the fruit from this estate. In all, almost 80% of the fruit from Stoller vineyard is sold. Other wineries buying fruit include Argyle, Adelsheim and Scott Paul. Some bottle Pinot with the Stoller Vineyard designation, others donít.  

Cellar room manager Mich Nelson and winemaker Melissa Burr

The impressive winery was completed in 2005, and itís the first and (currently) only LEED certified winery in the region. Solar panels provide 46 kw/h of power, which over the year contributes about half the total energy needs of the winery. This is expensive to install, despite the existence of some tax breaks. 

The Stoller wine label first emerged in 2001 when 600 cases of Pinot Noir were made. Melissa Burr, the current winemaker, who showed me around, started here in 2003 and helped design the winery. Itís still a boutique operation, making around 15 000 cases a year maximum.

While I was visiting, Melissa was getting excited about a new piece of technology: a cross-flow filtration machine that they were trying. This is a really effective and non-brutal way of filtering wine: we compared two samples, before and after, of a Pinot Noir that had just been treated.

JV Pinot, after and before going through the cross-flow filter

'JV' wines are those made from younger vines.

Stoller JV Rosť 2007 Dundee Hills
Destemmed and soaked for a couple of days, with some whole clusters added at pressing. Nice sweet rounded fruit with a smooth texture and some richness. Lively with soft, sweet, creamy strawberry fruit. 88/100

Stoller JV Chardonnay 2007 Dundee Hills
Bright and fruity with nice crispness and some grapefruit notes. Good presence on the fresh palate with with a bit of nuttiness and some herby notes. Good acid. 88/100

Stoller SV Chardonnay 2006 Dundee Hills
Very rich, toasty, nutty nose with intense fruit. Broad, aromatic and full-on. The palate shows nice fruit focus with a creamy, toasty character. Very attractive. 90/100

Stoller JV Pinot Noir 2006 Dundee Hills
Lovely bright sweet cherry fruit here: it has lovely purity and brightness. Fresh and a bit herby with sweet fruit. Real focus. 90/100

Stoller SV Pinot Noir 2006 Dundee Hills
Beautifully perfumed with lovely red fruit and cherry character supported by some new oak. Beautifully integrated palate with nice purity of fruit. Deliciously bright with some spicy depth. Expressive. 92/100

Stoller Cathyís Reserve 2004 Dundee Hills
A barrel selection of three of the best barrels that really stood out. All Wadenswil clone. Lovely bright high-toned aromatics with some herby complexity. The palate is dense with lovely red berry fruit and some earthiness. Nicely savoury and dense but still quite complex and elegant. 93/100  

See a short film from my visit:


See also:

Wines tasted 07/08  
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