Argyle/Roco Winery’s Rollin Soles was named one of North America’s Top 20 Winemakers by VWM online. Their committee of wine professionals submitted their lists. The list was narrowed down to 40 contenders. Then they all submitted their votes for the Top 20. The Top 20 is a varied list of winemakers of all styles from varying regions of the continent. Here is their excerpt on Rollin:
As a winemaker for Argyle Winery and his own ROCO Winery, Soles has the skills, personality and industry respect to be a positive poster boy for Oregon wine. He founded Argyle in 1987 with famed Australian winemaker Brian Croser, turning the Willamette Valley winery into a world-class producer of traditional-method sparkling wine, pinot noir, chardonnay and riesling. ROCO, launched in 2003 with Soles’ wife, Corby Stonebraker, makes a more personal statement with its wines.
Soles left his permanent position as Argyle’s general manager and winemaker in 2013, staying on as a consultant. He still spends time in Argyle’s vineyards and makes the blending decisions with winemaker Nate Klostermann. Shedding his managerial duties has freed him up to devote more time to ROCO, which produces pinot noir and chardonnay. The name is the combination of Rollin and Corby. Soles and Stonebraker planted their Chehalem Mountain property to pinot noir in 2001 and bottled their first Private Stash Pinot Noir in 2003. They built a winery in 2009 and in 2012 opened a tasting room. Purchased grapes supplement their 3,500-case production, with several vineyard-designates, including Marsh Estate and Clawson Hills pinot noirs. The Stalker is a tinyproduction pinot noir made with airdried cluster stalks.
“While I’ve never been a fan of whole-cluster fermentation for my wines, I am influenced by the way the Valpolicella region of Italy airdries whole clusters,” Soles said. “And I have an abiding love of whole-berry fermentation. I took a bit of a ‘walk on the wild side’ to produce a unique Stalker Pinot Noir. It’s a wine with spice-laced tannin from the stalks, without the ‘greenness’ of the fresh stalks.”
Soles is a founding member of the Oregon Chardonnay Alliance (ORCA), which works to produce distinctive chardonnays based on relatively recent rootstock and clonal knowledge; early Willamette Valley chardonnays were mostly lackluster, due to the use of California clones and rootstocks. As for Willamette Valley’s infamous rainstorms during harvest, Soles has this to say: “When it rains in California during harvest, winemakers get all worried. When it rains in Oregon, we go fishing.”
“Rollin began the best sparkling wine house in Oregon and possibly in the U.S. at Argyle,” said Chehalem founder Harry Peterson- Nedry, “and has been instrumental in organizing other-than-pinot-noir varietal work on chardonnay and riesling. His ROCO is a new, strong brand.”
See the full article and entire list of Top 20 online here.