Wines & Winemaking

We’re please to release the following wines for fall 2014:

Single Vineyard wines – all $39/750mL

2012 Vincent Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge “Armstrong Vineyard”
2012 Vincent Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills “Crowley Station Vineyard” SOLD OUT

2013 Vincent Pinot Noir Armstrong Vineyard
This year’s Armstrong Vineyard bottling is a blend of three barrels from this Ribbon Ridge AVA location. Two of the barrels come from the lower section, all 115 clone of Pinot Noir, producing a richer, darker wine. The third barrel is all 667 clone, from higher in the vineyard, always more ethereal and red fruited at this vineyard. The blend makes the darkest wine of my 2013s, a transparent ruby color, full of spicy black cherry and briny olive notes, with cherry, cinnamon and black tea flavors and a juicy, lingering finish. Three barrels.

2013 Vincent Pinot Noir Crowley Station Vineyard SOLD OUT
Only a shade lighter ruby than Armstrong, the Crowley Station Vineyard Pinot Noir has effusive red raspberry and savory aromas, mint and herbs. Medium bodied in presentation, this wine has sneaky concentration with red cherry and raspberry flavors, a mineral quality, already well knit together and energetic on the finish. Again, this own-rooted, dry farmed vineyard on the cold, far western side of the Eola Hills gives a compelling wine. I loved finding incredibly cool seashell fossils here – this vineyard was once the floor of an ancient inland sea, millions of years ago. Two barrels. SOLD OUT

Appellation Wines:

2013 Vincent Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge – $27/750mL
2013 Vincent Chardonnay Willamette Valley – $23/750mL
2013 Vincent Pinot Blanc Willamette Valley – $20/750mL

2013 Vincent Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge
This blend is all Armstrong vineyard wine, but softer, broader in focus, lacking only the detail and amplitude of my top wine from this site. As usual, the Ribbon Ridge gives spicy black cherry flavors with a distinctive olive note that reminds me of the 2010 Ribbon Ridge. Tasters repeatedly told me that wine was “classic Oregon Pinot.” I think they’ll say the same thing about this bottling. See for yourself. Five barrels.

2013 Vincent Chardonnay Willamette Valley
As in 2012, the fruit for my Chardonnay came from one vineyard in the Amity Hills. This wine is naturally fermented in old oak barrels for the richness of barrel fermentation but not the toasty oak flavor. This wine is all apples and pears with sweet cream notes and hazelnuts, not any sense of buttered popcorn, rather seashells and like that. I’m so excited about Oregon Chardonnay and, if you’re a Chard fan, definitely try this out. Two barrels only.

2013 Vincent Pinot Blanc Willamette Valley
The newest wine in my portfolio, a bright, lively and lemony white wine. The grapes here came from 20 year old vineyard near McMinnville, harvested in October but still at low sugar and strong acidity as this grape tends to give. I pressed the grapes, settled the juice and put it in old oak barrels for natural fermentation, just like I do with Chardonnay. No lees stirring, no new oak or buttery qualities, just bracing and lively white wine that is best younger but might age and develop a sense of honeycomb and waxy notes in a few years. If you can hold it that long. Just two barrels.

Spring 2015 Release (to come):

2013 Vincent Pinot Noir Bjornson Vineyard
2013 Vincent Pinot Noir Zenith Vineyard
2013 Vincent Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills

Past vintages, for reference:

The 2012 Vincent Pinot Noir Armstrong Vineyard is our top selection from this excellent Ribbon Ridge vineyard, owned by friends Doug and Michele Ackerman. Yet again the blend is two barrels, one from the 115 block lower in the vineyard and one from the 667 block higher up. This year both lots of wine had exceptional power, with the 667 providing a more high toned, floral element. The final blend shows spicy aromatics and with plum flavors, classic Ribbon Ridge area characteristics. I think it’s our best Armstrong bottling yet. SOLD OUT

The 2012 Vincent Pinot Noir Crowley Station Vineyard is our newest vineyard designate, from a chilly site on the west slopes of the Eola Hills directly exposed to the cool ocean air that filters through a gap in the coast range. We source a mix of 114 and 115 clones of Pinot Noir from own rooted vines planted in 2000 in appropriately low nutrient soil. The combination of cool wind and “poor” soil is perfect for Pinot Noir, as you will see in this wine. Floral, red fruit, even a lychee note in the aroma, with bright cran-raspberry and delicate herb flavors and a soft but still focused finish. This wine is a sneaker. This was our first year working with the site, we first thought we may or may not bottle it separately, then thought maybe one barrel would work, then realized this two barrel blend is too good to resist. And we doubled the amount of fruit we’re sourcing from Crowley Station this year. Enough said. SOLD OUT

The 2012 Vincent Pinot Noir Bjornson Vineyard is our second vintage from this young but already highly respected vineyard. This year’s wine is a co-ferment of mostly Pommard clone with a bit of Wadenswil, a Swiss clone of Pinot Noir that’s particularly interesting. Bjornson is across the gully from the famed Seven Springs vineyard, and both sites share a common thread – more masculine, dark colored wine that still retains the delicacy we love in Pinot. This year, color is off the charts, with incredible density, a dark fruit and scorched earth aroma and an expressive flavor of blue fruit and woodsy notes. To be sure, we don’t use any new oak on any of our wines, so you’re tasting the vineyard here, not the work of your barrel maker. If you like rich Pinot Noir, this is your wine. SOLD OUT

The 2012 Vincent Pinot Noir Zenith Vineyard comes from Pommard clone grapes planted in 2003 and grown on a thinner soiled block of the vineyard that original owner, Pat O’Connor, left unplanted because, to paraphrase, there was no soil. Sure enough, the vines truly struggle here, with shorter growing shoots than other nearby vines, a more open canopy with smaller leaves and a naturally low crop yield. In 2012, the results are a vibrantly colored, dense wine with rich, full fruit and earth aromas and a delicious, still fairly tight palate that will need time to open us, as usual. This wine, along with the Bjornson, are the powerhouses in the line up. Buy accordingly depending on your tastes. SOLD OUT

Our second tier of wines are our “regional” bottlings. With all the barrels that are good but not quite good enough to go into the single vineyard “reserve” wines, we blend and label wines according to their more general growing region. The regional wines for 2012 are:

Appellation wines – $27/750mL

2012 Vincent Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge – SOLD OUT
2012 Vincent Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills – SOLD OUT

Our 2012 Vincent Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge bottling is our largest production wine at six barrels or approximately 150 cases. The blend comes entirely from the Armstrong Vineyard on Ribbon Ridge to provide a contrast to the official “Armstrong” bottling. Where the Armstrong Vineyard bottling is from the two best barrels, with their extra perfume and longer lasting flavors, the Ribbon Ridge is all the other barrels from this excellent site, blended for more early appeal. In 2012, that means a mix of red and black fruits, with a pleasant wintergreen scent sneaking in and out of perception. The wine is flavory and less structured than the Armstrong bottling, just what we want in a wine intended for drinking over the next few years. SOLD OUT

The 2012 Vincent Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills bottling marks the return of an old friend to our line up. In our first vintage, we produced just two wines, a Zenith vineyard bottling and several barrels of Eola-Amity Hills. Since then we haven’t had enough fruit from this subregion of the Willamette Valley to continue bottling a specific Eola-Amity Hills cuvee. Until now. With three Eola-Amity Hills sites, we have four barrels of wine in this blend that show the richer side of Pinot Noir, with a complex ash and berry fruit aromas and lovely, full blue fruit flavors. What’s missing is the structure of the vineyard bottlings, so drink this in the next few years as you are a bit more patient with our top wines. SOLD OUT

White wine!

2012 Vincent Chardonnay Willamette Valley – $23/750mL SOLD OUT

The 2012 Vincent Chardonnay Willamette Valley is our first commercially available white wine (yes, we have made white wine before…). Why Chardonnay? Because it’s the white counterpart in Burgundy to the red Pinot Noir. Because it grows exceptionally well in the Willamette Valley. And because people somehow lost track of Chardonnay locally, focusing instead on Pinot Gris, when I think Chardonnay makes out most interesting and delicious white wine. Oaky, buttery Chardonnay this is not. Instead, grapes from a vineyard in the Amity Hills gently pressed, the juice settled for a few days and then put into two old French oak barrels where it fermented naturally into wine (no added yeast). The wine has stayed in barrel untouched, went through malolactic fermentation naturally and will be bottled next month, unfiltered like all of our wines. It’s pale gold in color, sparkling, with a honeyed apple aroma and flavor, soft but not fat or sweet, just lovely and versatile Oregon white wine. Don’t miss trying this wine, though with so little there isn’t much to go around. Note: this wine is unfiltered – sediment in wine is harmless and a natural result of not filtering. SOLD OUT

Winemaking

My goal is wine made simply. I’m not trying to control every aspect of the process, and I’m not doing nothing and calling it “natural.” Wine is a human process, and my goal is making wines as simply as possible to show the grapes, the vintage and the place they came from. That’s where I’m coming from. No loads of new oak, no fancy tricks. Just a simple approach that I believe produces exceptional wines.

Winemaker Vincent Fritzsche has made wine for more than ten years, working at some of the best small wineries in the Willamette Valley along the way. He launched Vincent Wine Company in 2009 after years of making wines in his garage in NE Portland. Vincent has focused exclusively on Pinot Noir until beginning to produce a small amount of Chardonnay in 2012 and Pinot Blanc in 2013.

Past vintages, for further reference…

Vincent Armstrong Vineyard 2011The 2011 Vincent Pinot Noir Armstrong Vineyard is our top selection from this excellent Ribbon Ridge vineyard, owned by friends Doug and Michele Ackerman. This year the blend is again just two barrels, one from the block of 115 clone of Pinot Noir and one of the block of 667 clone that also had Pommard clone mixed into the fermenter. The 115 again provides more of the wine’s power, and the 667/Pommard mix gives floral tones and earthy notes. One barrel was one year old, in fact this was the new barrel last year that we drew only partially into the Armstrong bottling, to limit the new oak influence. This year the once-filled barrel had just the right amount of oak influence. I blended it with a six year old barrel that gave no overt oak flavor to the wine. The bottling is significantly more delicate than our 2010 Armstrong, mainly due to the seasonal difference. Don’t let the ruby color fool you though. This is a wine of elegant power, perfumed, with good acidity and length of flavor. I think it will cellar well but you can enjoy it now as well. SOLD OUT

Vincent Zenith Vineyard 2011The 2011 Vincent Pinot Noir Zenith Vineyard bottling is again from a thinner soiled block planted exclusively to the Pommard clone in this Eola-Amity Hills vineyard. As with all our wines, we carefully sorted the Pinot Noir fruit, then destemmed and lightly crushed the berries and filled one fermenter. After letting the must sit overnight, we pumped the juice over the berries to oxygenate things. Then we did nothing, and only after several days when the fermentation had started on its own did we begin punch down, or mix, the must. We then punched down the fermenter once a day for several days, leaving the new wine on the skins for a few extra days after fermentation had completed. Then we drained off the new wine, pressed the skins for a bit more “press” wine, and put the new wine in barrels after settling for a few days. The result? A fairly strapping, darker take on Zenith vineyard than we’ve ever produced, going back to 2008. Previously our wines from here have been more floral and delicate. The 2011 Zenith is instead more muscular and rich. I’m very excited about this wine and think it should cellar nicely for up to a decade. SOLD OUT

Vincent Bjornson Vineyard 2011The 2011 Vincent Pinot Noir Bjornson Vineyard is our newest vineyard designate. This Eola Hills vineyard is directly south of the famed Seven Springs Vineyard, source of many my most memorable Oregon red wines. So this is a nice neighborhood for wine grapes. Add in Mark and Patty Bjornson, Minnesota transplants who’ve planted several acres over the past several years with lots of interesting selections of Pinot and other grapes, and it’s clear this is a special site. We share this vineyard with the Grochau Cellars, Haden Fig, and the Bjornson’s own label, and our fruit come from a block of Pommard. These grapes, picked on October 28, tasted incredibly fruity on the sorting line, where I was almost wondering if they were too ripe. No, just 21.6 brix (12.6% alcohol), but so much more mature in flavor. I’ve never seen anything like 2011. The wine turned out to be our darkest Pinot, with an almost Gamay-like gravelly berry flavor that I think is incredibly delicious. There’s a similar combination of a once-filled barrel and a six-year-old barrel, and the density of the wine matches well with the spicy oak notes in the wine. This is another wine that I think will cellar well for five years at least. SOLD OUT

Vincent Ribbon Ridge 2011Our 2011 Vincent Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge bottling is our largest production wine at 192 cases. This wine was selected by Portland Monthly magazine in October 2013 as one of the top 10 Pinot Noirs in Oregon. The blend comes entirely from the Armstrong Vineyard on Ribbon Ridge. Where the Armstrong Vineyard bottling is from the two best barrels, with their extra perfume and longer lasting flavors, the Ribbon Ridge is all the other barrels from this excellent site, blended for more early appeal. In 2011, this wine is the closest I’ve come yet to the kind of refreshing, energetic wine I’m looking to produce, old world in structure, new world in fruit. The color is electric ruby and obviously unfiltered. The wine has a powerful fragrance of cherries, cranberry, black tea, flowers and all kinds of spice notes. Aromatically this wine is rocking. Right now, the flavors are a bit tight, but they offer cherry, tea and spice notes. I expect the wine will soften and fill out over the coming few months and year. This wine will be perfect for Thanksgiving, with just enough richness and a refreshing zing on the palate. SOLD OUT

Vincent Willamette Valley 20112011 Vincent Pinot Noir Willamette Valley. This two-barrel blend is offered to our mailing list at a rock bottom price every summer, with the remainder going to local restaurants in Portland. A blend of Ribbon Ridge and Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir, this refreshing red wine is perfect for drinking now. SOLD OUT

2010 Vincent Pinot Noir Armstrong Vineyard. The Armstrong Vineyard is a young vineyard owned by Doug and Michele Ackerman, friends and old tasting group buddies who planted a choice spot on Lewis Rogers Lane in the heart of Ribbon Ridge. We are fortunate to source grapes here – along with Ayres (just up the road) and Seven of Hearts wineries, good company indeed. Our 2010 Vincent Pinot Noir Armstrong Vineyard is our top selection from this site, a two barrel blend of 115 and 667 clones from separate vineyard blocks. The 115 clone gave a dark, brooding wine with considerable density. Our one fermenter from this block was the talk of the winery. Wine this rich and dense from 2010? The 667 clone, from the steepest part of the vineyard, gave perhaps a more typical wine for the vintage, ethereal and more delicate. A blend of the two gives us the wine of the vintage here, with considerable power but moderate alcohol at 13.4%. Wine for aging, though it will be fun to try young. We blended half of two barrels of the 115 clone, one of them new so that the resulting wine saw 25% new oak. SOLD OUT

2010 Vincent Pinot Noir Zenith Vineyard
This year’s Zenith Vineyard bottling is again from a thinner soiled block planted exclusively to the Pommard clone. The 2010 Vincent Pinot Noir Zenith Vineyard is our sole output from one small fermenter of grapes from this top notch vineyard in the heart of the Eola Hills. As we did with all our grapes this year, we destemmed the clusters, crushed them lightly and let them sit until they began to ferment on their own, not initiating punch downs for approximately 10 days until fermentation was well under way. Fermentation peaked at about 90°F and we pressed after 17 days on the skins. We aged the wine in 3- and 5-year old barrels, so that the delicate nature of this 13.1% wine was not overwhelmed with oak spice. The result is a fragrant, slightly crunchy Pinot that is incredibly food friendly and should age well on its acid structure. SOLD OUT

2010 Vincent Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge
Our main wine this year is the 2010 Vincent Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge bottling. This seven barrel blend is entirely from Armstrong Vineyard, from all three of the blocks we worked with. Same process in the winery, two and a half barrels were new and this bottling contains wines from the partial barrels that went into the vineyard designate bottling. This broader blend, including softer, lighter colored but wonderfully complex press wine, gives an aromatic, floral Pinot with considerable young fruit, less structure than the vineyard designate and more approachable younger. This is a delicious follow up to our main wine from last year, the 2009 Vincent Eola-Amity Hills bottling. SOLD OUT

The 2009 Vincent Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills is approximately 80% from the Domaine Coteau vineyard on Walnut Hill, on the eastern slope of the Amity Hills. The soils here are Nekia series, predominantly eroded Basalt and very red. The vines are 10 years old and a mix of Dijon clones 114, 115, 667 and 777. The remaining 20% is from 7 year old Pommard clone vines from the Zenith Vineyard, in the heart of the Eola Hills. The wine was aged for 10 months in mostly older French oak with one barrel newly reconditioned. Eight barrels produced, 192 cases. SOLD OUT

The 2009 Vincent Pinot Noir Zenith Vineyard is 100% Pommard clone Pinot noir from a single once-filled French oak barrel, selected for its finesse and lingering flavors. We think it is our best wine from the 2009 vintage. The Zenith vineyard is one of the most respected sites in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA or growing region.  Just one barrel made, 24 cases. SOLD OUT