In November of 2001, one of Oregon's premium Pinot Noir producers, Domaine Serene Vineyards and Winery, introduced the first release from its Rockblock Syrah label, a 1999 single vineyard Syrah.
Rockblock Cellars is the collaborative result of Domaine Serene’s owners, Ken and Grace Evenstad and their winemaker, Tony Rynders to craft single vineyard Oregon Syrah. As with the Domaine Serene Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines, Rockblock Syrah will produce distinctive wines of concentration, and purity of varietal character. Rockblock wines will incorporate fruit from the Seven Hills Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley appellation of eastern Oregon and the Del Rio Vineyard in the Rogue Valley appellation of southern Oregon. The Rockblock name denotes the rocky soils found in some vineyards of eastern and southern Oregon appellations.
The 1999 release is of the single-vineyard bottling is 100 percent Syrah and is comprised of fruit from the Seven Hills Vineyard located on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley appellation in northeastern Oregon.
“We selected vineyard sites that produce wines of depth and complexity that truly rival top Rhone wines, such as those from Hermitage and Côte Rotie,” says Domaine Serene owner Ken Evenstad.
“With careful vineyard management, low crop yields and small-lot vinification, these wines are quite concentrated and distinctive,” he added.
Winemaker Tony Rynders points out that the diversity of climates and growing regions in Oregon are perfectly suited to the expressive nature of this varietal.
“The goal of the Rockblock Syrah brand is to make distinctive Oregon Syrah which displays both power and finesse in the glass,” Rynders says. Our focus is to highlight Syrah’s ability to express the terroir found in the diverse growing regions of Oregon, through single vineyard bottlings.”
The 1999 Rockblock Syrah yielded 270 cases. The 2000 release consists of two single-vineyard bottlings: 365 cases from the Seven Hills Vineyard in the Walla Walla appellation in northeast Oregon and 365 cases from the Del Rio Vineyard in the Rogue Valley appellation in southern Oregon.
Rockblock Syrah is produced in the recently completed, state-of-the art winemaking facility atop the Red Hills of Dundee, Oregon. The five-level, gravity flow building was designed to accommodate the winery’s desire to produce wines with minimal intervention from vineyard to bottle, in order to maximize wine quality.
Great Wines begin with Great Vineyards The diversity of climates and growing regions in Oregon are perfectly suited to the expressive nature of Syrah. Rockblock's focus is to highlight Syrah's ability to express the terroir found in the diverse growing regions of Oregon, through single vineyard bottlings.
Located in the Rogue Valley appellation in southern Oregon, about five miles from Medford, this vineyard produces a dark, extracted and complex style Syrah.
Soil: Rocky clay loam
Slope: South and West
Elevation: 1100 to 1300 feet
Clone: Noir clone on 5C and 101-14 rootstocks
Growing conditions: Hot summer days and cool evenings, high elevation.