Rose & Arrow
On Wednesday, October 12th, join New York Vintners for an intimate and exhaustive retrospective of the pinot noirs of ROSE & ARROW Winery hosted by winemaker Felipe Ramirez paired with a four-course tasting menu in our farm room.
Vintners loyalists know how much I adore the wines made in Oregon at Rose & Arrow Estates once headlined by red-panted mercurial Burgundy genius Louis-Michel Liger-Belair but truly elevated by the dream team of wunderkind winemaker Felipe Ramirez, rock rockstar Pedro Parra and my great friend Mark Tarlov, who passed away last year far too young.
To me, the only way to truly appreciate wine is by drinking it with curiosity and having the courage to argue, debate, be wrong, be different, and have an opinion. We also firmly believe that the key to great wine is to identify great producers. GREAT PEOPLE MAKE GREAT WINE, simple as that. It feels good to write again.
Wednesday, October 12th, 2022 @ 7 pm - 20 Wines including TOUCHSTONE, 2019 New Releases and Rare Cellar Selections
Pedro Parra Terroir Expert
Pedro Parra is literally the Tom Hagen of the wine world - advising such luminaries as Liger- Belair, Jean-Marc Roulot, Quintessa, Altos las Hormigas, and as I found out on my recent visit to Napa, DOMINUS, just to name a few. How's that for name-dropping? He is the guy who dug the hole to bury the bodies.
Rose & Arrow makes MICRO PRODUCTION Pinot Noirs from TINY parcels of vines within larger defined vineyards (see diagram below) that have been identified and mapped by Pedro where a very shallow layer of topsoil sits over fractured but largely intact basalt rocks deposited in the Willamette Valley by the Columbia River Basalt Flows (14 to 17 million years ago). The wines made from these tiny areas (largest is just over half an acre) are hallmarked by the intensity of red, blue and black fruit flavors and aromas, finally polished textures and a heightened sense of harmonic detail when compared to wines made from vineyard areas of more weathered or decomposed basalt or deposits of the Missoula Floods. GET ON BOARD.
CRITICAL ACCLAIM FOR ROSE & ARROW
2018 Stonecreek 18.5+ JancisRobinson 95 Points VINOUS
Refined, focused with lovely clarity. The power of the vintage is here but with more restraint and re!nement than the previous cuvées as well. There is a lovely subtlety with detail that o#ers plenty to enjoy thoughtfully. The energy of the wine is compelling while also energising. At the same time, this is a wine that wants more time in bottle and a bit of time with the glass as it is more about transparency and !nesse than boastful impact. There is much to admire here, and it is likely to improve with more time in bottle as well. (ECB) 13.8% Drink 2023 – 2038
2018 Red Dust 17+/20 JancisRobinson 94 Points VINOUS
The Red Dust cuvée needs a lot of air to open as it is quite subtle and also nuanced on the nose, while immediately impactful and expressive on the palate. This is a wine full of energy and palate presence showing earthier elements with a dusty, ferrous character and darker-toned spiced fruits. It will surely continue to evolve and the natural palate density as well as structure and length implies it has what it needs to age. There is plenty of tannin, but it is silky, pliant and balanced with mouth-watering acidity. (ECB) 13.7% Drink 2022 – 2037
2018 Highland Close 17.5+/20 JancisRobinson 95 Points VINOUS
This is an incredibly energetic wine on the palate with lots of tension and depth though it is currently in a subtle and brooding phase. It needs more time in bottle but there is plenty of promise. Tannins are lightly grippy and yet the mouthfeel is still velvety. I would love to taste this again in two years. (ECB) 13.7% Drink 2024 – 2038
2018 Black Walnut 17+/20 JancisRobinson 95 Points VINOUS
This wine has subtler aromatics compared with the Worden Hill cuvée showing notes of spiced plum on the nose followed by abundant intensity on the palate. The Black Walnut cuvée really shows the powerful vintage compared with the more restrained 2017 expression, but there is also perhaps a little less re!nement and tension to this 2018 as well. There is a lot of length also, making this a wine of amplitude and duration. It does not feel bigger on the palate, but it has more impact. (ECB) 13.5%
2018 Hopewell Hills 17.5/20 JancisRobinson 94 Points VINOUS
Subtle aromatics are followed by an energetic palate and a lot of persistence. There is a textural, velvety mouthfeel carrying notes of spiced cherry, mixed plum and a hint of melon. Persistent, abundant yet supple tannin moves with plenty of length across the palate, washed through by balancing acidity. There is impressive concentration across all the 2018 wines, while these from Eola-Amity carry more focus and a bit more refinement compared with those of the Dundee Hills. (ECB) 13.6% Drink 2022 – 2033
2018 Amity Hills 18/20 JancisRobinson
With hints of cocoa carrying into a lush palate there is plenty of intensity to this wine and abundant while well-managed tannin. It is a bit grippy currently but o#ers palate stimulation and becomes more pleasing and supple with air. The wine is intriguing and carries an almost chalky mouthfeel. Energetic. Wait a year before opening and allow time to enjoy its evolution in the glass. (ECB) 13.6% Drink 2023 – 2038
2018 Yamhill Close 17.5/20 JancisRobinson 94 Points VINOUS
Fresh aromatics open the wine with notes of cherry blossom, fruit and bark. These carry to the palate alongside a rocky, almost salty sapidity and length. The palate is savoury and yet also "oral, with the two becoming more intriguing with air. There is plenty to enjoy in this wine, but it is also quite tight currently so allow it time to open if you choose to drink it now, or preferably keep it another year in the cellar before opening. (ECB) 13.4%
Much deeper toned compared with the 2017s. A bit of plum cake carries from the nose to the palate followed by "avours of spiced plum and a light almond accent. There is more apparent oak spice here than in any of the other wines, but it is not unpleasant and will likely integrate further as the wine ages. There is a more succulent, velvety tannin presence and plenty of mouth-watering acidity, palate stimulation and lots of length. (ECB) 13.5% Drink 2022 – 2034
2018 Worden Hill 17+/20 JancisRobinson 94 Points VINOUS
MARK TARLOV 1952-2021
The 2018 Harvest According To Felipe Ramirez
Over a long lunch and follow-up phone conversation Felipe explained the 2018 harvest in great detail. He explained that 2017 was an excellent vintage, one defined by the weather and soil. He called 2018 a "solaire vintage", or one defined by the sun, very similar to the 2016 vintage. After Véraison, it was quite dry and he explained their dedication to organic and dry farming was the key to produce wines that are very age-worthy, structured and tannic and certainly will need time in the cellar to mature.
Felipe, and the team, decided to pick very early to maintain freshness in the wines which come in around 13.5% alcohol. The employed a higher canopy on the vines than normal and no longer use any leaf removal in the vineyards, preferring a natural shelter for the grapes to prevent over-ripening.
It is a golden age for OREGON Pinot Noir, perhaps what Napa was like 50 years ago. A stunning run of vintage from 2014 through 2019 have produced many of the greatest wines ever bottle in this emerging wine region. SIMPLY PUT, OREGON is where its at!
ABOUT PEDRO PARRA
Parra digs Oregon
Elaine Chukan Brown13 Apr 2022 - JancisRobinson
Launched with the 2016 vintage, Rose & Arrow has taken a distinctive path through Willamette Valley Pinot. The winemaking is led by Ramirez in consultation with Louis Michel Liger-Belair of Vosne-Romanée, inspired by his previous work done for the brand Chapter 24. Mark Tarlov co-founded Rose & Arrow with Ian Lombard, who also founded Casparian Holdings, an Oregon-based agricultural investment company. Casparian also now owns NW Wine Company, one of Oregon’s leading custom-crush wineries.
I have always felt as though the vision for Rose & Arrow arose from the intersection of two unique inspiring forces, Tarlov and terroir consultant Pedro Parra. After careers as a speech writer, a lawyer and a Hollywood !lm producer, Tarlov made a name for himself in wine with the success of Evening Land Chardonnays from Willamette Valley. When the first vintages came out, beginning with 2007, they brought new attention to the region and instigated an increasing interest in Willamette Chardonnay that is still changing the region today.
After leaving Evening Land, Tarlov founded Chapter 24 in 2011, focusing solely on Pinot, before also starting Rose & Arrow in 2016. Tarlov was a polarising figure as his focus on any pursuit could be quite singular. In Oregon, he was also one of the first producers to charge so much for his wines. But in retrospect his influence helped lead to the founding of Domaine de la Côte in Sta Rita Hills, as well as Lavinea, Lingua Franca, 00 Wines, Alit and, less directly, Walter Scott in the Willamette Valley. Tarlov died in 2021. His wife Judy Tarlov continues as co-owner of Rose & Arrow.
Parra needs no introduction. He’s been mentioned here numerous times by Jancis and Julia, and continues to grow in stature in the wine world. Based in Chile, Parra holds a Masters’ degree in precision agriculture as well as an interdisciplinary doctorate on terroir. His work studying the unique growing conditions of vineyards around the world has profoundly influenced the global conversation in wine. He has helped hone or transform the work of vintners as varied as Comando G in Gredos in Spain, Altos Las Hormigas in Argentina, Quintessa in Napa, Ramiiisol in Virginia, Marengo in Barolo and Hamel Family in Sonoma, as well as wineries and sites throughout Chile.
Tarlov and Parra, through Rose & Arrow, seemed to find equals in curiosity and intelligence. Conversations I witnessed between them wove between music, food, literature and movies as much as the minutiae of soils, viticulture and wine, and constituted a deep dive into the intricacies of wine as a cultural exploration of its wider context.
Through Evening Land, Tarlov explained he felt he’d found an expression of Chardonnay that was translated directly from its vineyard. The wines were uniquely Willamette Valley. But he said that while the Pinots were good, he didn’t recognise the same influence of place.
Chapter 24 was founded to seek an answer to this question. With Liger-Belair, small lots were made from more than 100 vineyards around Willamette Valley seeking a closer understanding of the soils and mesoclimates of the region. Then in 2015, Ramirez moved to Willamette to make the wines, and Parra was hired to deepen their studies of the valley.
Ramirez and Parra had worked together previously. Also from Chile, Ramirez was winemaker at Bouchon Family Wines in Maule working with Parra to improve their understanding of the vineyards. There, Ramirez helped shift the stylistic focus of the wines by moving from a more general international style to instead focusing on what they uniquely had in Maule. Along with others in the region, it helped reignite interest in historic vineyards and the heritage found in both País and Carignan. But Ramirez also knew Liger Belair. After receiving his Master’s in viticulture, oenology and wine business at Montpellier, Ramirez worked with Liger-Belair in France for several years before returning to Chile.
By the 2016 vintage, they understood enough to create Rose & Arrow to showcase wines communicating intricately site-speci!c Pinot Noir. What makes the brand unique is the degree to which they endeavour to identify distinct, small, precise sections of terroir and then deliver wines that express them.
My first visit with Rose & Arrow wines took place before it was even a brand. We visited soil pits in sites they were scouting throughout the valley and tasted wines from barrel they felt were di#erent from those they’d made for Chapter 24 but were not yet fully formed as Rose & Arrow. Parra had been brought in as a consultant for Chapter 24, but his insights led to this new perspective.
Parra’s approach is unique in the world of wine. By using soil-scanning technologies originally developed for mining operations, Parra maps patterns of electroconductivity in the ground that reveal wave-like variations in underlying soil structure. The initial scan does not show soil types, only patterns of soil di#erences within the site itself. Once the patterns are mapped, change points in the soil are identified and pits dug to inspect the soil directly. Here, the architecture of the soil is identified and, when possible, its parent material such as basalt, granite, limestone, alluvium or schist, for example. Parra is neither a soil scientist nor a geologist (though he is often mistaken as one or the other) so at times a geologist is brought in for this final recognition.
In a matter of months, Parra helped shift the way the Chapter 24 team identified sections of a vineyard for harvest, and how they were then vinified in cellar. Over time they also changed how the vineyards were farmed, and even the sites from which they made wine. They were homing in on Tarlov’s original motivation, to create Pinot Noir transparently rooted to place.
Tarlov pursued wine as a sort of sensual intellectual project. He could have continued drinking fine wine and developing his love of Burgundy, but his friendship with Larry Stone brought him to explore Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
Stone had started his wine career as a sommelier in Seattle and began tasting wines from Oregon as soon as they started being made in the 1970s. His impassioned accounts of the historic wines of Willamette are persuasive.
By 2007, Tarlov secured a long-term lease on Seven Springs Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills with Dominque Lafon and Isabelle Meunier hired to make the wines. The e#ort became the Oregon arm of the deeply unusual Evening Land project. At its peak, the winery operated in three locations – Burgundy, California and Oregon – with California vineyards in both the far Sonoma Coast and the Sta Rita Hills.
While the Oregon wines quickly received acclaim, the California and Burgundy projects were less consistent. Eventually Evening Land refocused. The Burgundy initiative closed. The vineyards in Sonoma were sold. The Sta Rita Hills site was also sold to become the home of Domaine de la Côte and, separately, Raj Parr and Sashi Moorman took over Seven Springs and Evening Land in Oregon. They now own Seven Springs.
Stone served as general manager of Evening Land for a time as well. When Tarlov left, Stone purchased the site directly beside Seven Springs and founded Lingua Franca.
As Tarlov explained it, he pursued wine projects so single-mindedly because he wanted to understand what he called wine’s first cause. He wanted to know the source of great wine.
From the perspective of someone like Parra, the upper limits of a wine’s potential come from the home of the roots themselves – the architecture and characteristics of the rocks and soils in which vines grow. It is what Tarlov came to recognise as the answer to making great wine, its literal groundwork. Farming, and eventually the winemaking, can help bring out or hide the potential o#ered by where the wine grows but they can never supplement what isn’t there. You might be able to make a delicious wine in the cellar from an OK site, but not a great wine. For Parra and Tarlov, wine’s greatness rests in its transparency to a profound site, its dependence on strong terroir.
It is this belief that motivates Parra, and those who follow his work, to seek such intense intimacy with the underground structures of a place. He is pursuing a kind of insight that seems first to have been found in the work done by the monks of Burgundy, but in the modern age and over years rather than generations.
Parra has also taken his work to the slopes of Burgundy. There he has carved into the vineyards of some of the most respected vignerons in the world such as Jean-Marc Roulot and Louis-Michel Liger-Belair. But in less-studied regions he’s been able to speed the process of understanding an area’s characteristics by relying on his unique use of technology combined with the sensory intuition gained through a deep love of wine.
I’ve also been closely following his work at Quintessa and, more recently, Hamel Family, and in both cases the latest wines made (though not yet released) following years of working with Parra are among the most exciting I’ve tasted from these wineries.
In each case, the wines arise from an intensive study of the place where they are grown, leading to a willingness to harvest not by block, but vine to vine to match the underlying conditions of the soil architecture most closely. In their newer vineyards vines have been established not as blocks laid over the topography of the landscape as is normally done, but instead to match the conditions hidden in the ground beneath, sometimes even with undulating curves outlining the boundaries of the vineyard.
With Quintessa, Hamel Family and Rose & Arrow, part of what makes the projects exciting is not only the curiosity that characterises Parra’s work but the finesse, clarity and precise terroir expression of the wines. They of course vary by vintage, but a sense of progression, transparency and fine-tuning is clearly apparent.
Rose & Arrow o#ers a portfolio of wines designed to reflect the quality tiers of Burgundy. Each comes from distinctively rocky sections of Willamette Valley. While Chapter 24 explored both the sedimentary and volcanic sites of the region, in Rose & Arrow the team chose to focus exclusively on basalt. From 2016 through 2018, wines come from Yamhill Carlton, Dundee Hills, the Chehalem Mountains and Eola-Amity Hills.
At the more approachable ‘village’ level, each wine expresses a speci!c type of rocky character found in the area for which it is named. These include Worden Hill of Dundee Hills AVA, Yamhill Close of Yamhill-Carlton AVA, and Hopewell Hills as well as the Amity Hills of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA.
The ‘lieu-dit’ level of wines o#ers wines from more tightly focused sections of a vineyard where rocky areas o#er a unique expression along with a greater degree of !nesse and energy. These include Black Walnut Worden Hill from the Dundee Hills and Gathered Stones Hopewell Hills from the Eola-Amity Hills.
The wines they call their First Expressions are made from profoundly focused sections of vineyard carefully outlining consistent rocky character while also delivering unique transparency to place, energy and !nesse. These are essentially what they regard as ‘premier cru’ wines and include Red Dust from the Dundee Hills, Highland Close from the Chehalem Mountains and Stonecreek from the Eola-Amity Hills.
Finally, they have the smallest bottling they have made to date, Touchstone at a mere 50 cases, which they currently regard as a Prime Expression. This wine is bottled with a black label rather than the paler one of the other wines. They also feel Touchstone is the closest they have got to grand cru level so far. Importantly, the team agrees that a foundational characteristic of a grand cru wine is its consistency. They explain they will not know for at least ten years if Touchstone reaches grand cru quality, though they are still con!dent in regarding it as their top wine. Any other wines they regard as Prime Expressions in future will also be bottled with the black label.
With the 2019 vintage (to be released next year) some changes will occur. Casparian now owns the Stonecreek vineyard from which Touchstone, Stonecreek and Amity Hills are all made. They also have a long-term lease on the site that grows Gathered Stones and Hopewell Hills, and for a site in the Chehalem Mountains that is new to the portfolio beginning in 2019. Starting with the 2019 vintage they are making wine only from the Chehalem Mountains and Eola-Amity Hills. Due to the change in vineyard sources, and to streamline the brand, from 2019 on they are describing the wines as village and cru levels, rather than a series of tiers. Names of the individual wines of those that continue stay the same.