Today’s post for Wine Wednesday is all about the Stoller Family Estate Vineyards. I had the good fortune to visit this vineyard last summer as part of the Society of Wine Educators conference in August. As you might know from reading my blog these past six months, I fell in love with Oregon as a state and the wines in general. I have written a lot about their Chardonnay wines but the Pinot Noirs captivated me as well. I think I was more surprised by the Chardonnay which I hadn’t expected to like as much as I did while the Pinot Noir came with very high expectations.
My first job in the United States after 15 years in Italy was as a wine salesperson in New York. I didn’t last too long on the street but I was introduced for the first time to Oregon Pinot Noir. We sold one from a company called Maysara. It was a whole new world for me and one that was a complete surprise.
The Stoller property was fantastic and the staff really helpful to our huge crowd. Bill Stoller who owns the winery, bought the property from his cousin in 1993. Yet the property had been in the Stoller family since the 1940s and Bill had worked on the family farm as a child. Bill realized the value of the property when the farm ended and its amazing Jory soils. Stoller planted 10 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in 1995. Very interested in creating a sustainable property, like many other Oregon wineries Stoller is Low Input Viticulture and Enology or “Live” certified and according to the website is the first “the first-ever LEED Gold certification in the world” for a winery. The vineyard aslo grows Pinot Gris, Riesling, Tempranillo, Syrah, and Pinot Blanc. I tasted the Pinot Gris and the Pinot Blanc as well as the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir. I found them all to be lovely and well crafted with dark fruit, floral and earthy notes and a restrained use of oak.
This property is the largest one in the Dundee Hills and covers 373 acres, 215 acres of vines. Elevations are from 220 to 640 feet. The micro-climate is a protected one because of the protect the winery is afforded thanks to the surrounding mountain ranges. The vines are planted on south-facing slopes on this well-draining Jory soils, the red soils of the Dundee Hills.
As I said we were a large group and Stoller gave us lunch as well as a lovely tasting of these wonderful wines. I loved that hospitality and their commitment to sustainability. They collect winter runoff into a water reservoir which they use to establish young vines. They also have solar-powered weather stations, recycling tunnel sprayer, and an irrigation system fed by a rain pond and wells on the property. They do integrated pest management and created an ecosystem that keeps pests in check. They have two acres of native perennial wildflowers and 100 western bluebird nesting boxes, 24 owl boxes, 20 raptor boxes, and 15 raptor perches that were built using fallen native oak.
I also love that they have a female winemaker director, Melissa Burr. On the site she says that she “strives to make wine that exemplifies the uniqueness of the vineyard and reflect the vintage with balance and elegance. Our Pinot Noir characteristically expresses a combination of red to darker fruits, spice, and fine-grain tannins. The volcanic soil, elevation, exposure, and weather of our Dundee Hills site all combine to create the perfect conditions for growing cool-climate wine grapes.”
Truly a memorable experience and wonderful wines. While not inexpensive, they are lovely wines for a special evening. So ends my February month of lovely with a post about a region that has taken my heart.