November 18, 2008

Vincent Pinot Noir Garage Tasting

VF Wines here in Portland is off and running. My garage tasting the other day was a terrific success. Dozens of people came by to try a barrel sample of my 2007 Vincent Pinot Noir from the McMinnville AVA as well as my 2006 Vincent Pinot Noir from the Wahle Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton District from bottle.

Thanks to everyone who came. Friends, neighbors, blog readers, coworkers…even some old friends from Seattle drove down with their kids just for the event. I did my best to be the humble winemaker, but I was thrilled, even down to the very positive reception for the label design.

It’s hard to write notes about one’s own wine, but I’ll try. The yet to be bottled 2007 is clean and lean, fitting the vintage, with some tart cherry fruit and Pommard clone earth tones. I was happy to see some people really enjoy this wine, though I wasn’t surprised to see others prefer the richer, riper 2006. That wine was a hit, as I expected, with plush ripe pinot fruit and pretty good balance. This isn’t a wine to age for years and years, but I’m pretty glad to have it as my first big effort. It’s easy to like.

I brought out some other wines for people to try, to fill out the line up and help take the focus off my little project. Those wines were:

NV Ferrari Brut from Italy was again lovely sparkling wine, a Champagne lookalike with nice yeasty apple fruit and good finesse. Highly recommended for a fair price.

2006 Elk Cove Riesling Willamette Valley was soft, simple Riesling but perfectly delicious. Lots of peachy fruit with moderate sweetness and some diesel character. The 2005 was better but this is fine.

2002 Orlando Riesling Steingarten Barossa Valley was a disappointment. What happened here. I loved this a few months ago. Now, especially next to the pure Riesling of Elk Cove, this is obviously oak aged (oaky Riesling!!! Why??) with an odd butter streak and a slight sourness. Maybe this was an off bottle, but the oak is troubling. Who knows where this wine is going.

2002 Boillot Montagny 1er Cru was really nice, maturing white Burgundy from the Côte Chalonnaise. Pretty baked apple chardonnay, lovely finesse, this is a terrific value in nice white Burg.

2006 Evesham Wood Pinot Noir Eola Amity was a bit oaky, but just as nice as I remember. Red fruits on the aroma, with good weight but nothing overdone. This is the ripe 2006 vintage after all.

1999 Burle Gigondas was one of the most bretty wines I’ve ever had. Funky on the aroma, a bit more so in the mouth and then on the finish, simply unbearable. DNPIM. That’s do not put in mouth. Not good.

2004 Elemental Cellars Syrah Deux Vert Willamette Valley was a revelation. Syrah from the Willamette Valley? Rare, yes, but I’m seeing more and more of it from this offshoot of Witness Tree as well as Cristom and Biggio Hamina, among others. After trying this wine, I’m excited. Lots of olive, pepper, and blackberry aromas with nice balance, a round but not fat texture and good length. One taster compared it to the Durand syrah from France’s Languedoc region, which is a good comparison. This is more weighty, but truly authentic syrah with some potential in the bottle. I have one more that I’ll hold a while.

Finally, I opened a magnum of 2007 Anchor Brewing Christmas Beer that I’ve had for a while. I’ve enjoyed this beer in the past, but didn’t cozy up to last year’s model on release. Now it’s maturing and in a really nice place. Sweet malt, integrated spice, a hint of sherry that I really liked. People drank this up.

All in all, a nice afternoon in the garage. We’ll have to do it again next year.


Anne said...


Thanks for inviting us - we had a great time. Here's a link to a few photos we took.

Are you saying we should drink the wine now? How long can we save it?

cheers, Anne

Vincent Fritzsche said...

Thanks for the pics. So glad you came. What a nice surprise.

What I meant to say is -- the 2006 doesn't require years and years of aging. I figure it will be at its best over the coming 5 years. Longer would be great, but we'll just have to see. It's a guessing game, especially with my own wine. I expect a wine like this -- lush and tasting pretty nice already -- to be more for drinking in the next several years, rather than holding for 5 years and THEN starting on it. My 2008 might be more like that -- not so much that it will REQUIRE aging, but it has more tanning and acid structure that it may very well last 10 years and still taste fairly young. We'll see.

Vincent Fritzsche said...

And can I just say that BLOGGER SUCKS. Line breaks that either aren't there in the posts, or are there in duplicate or triplicate. Even when I type directly into "create post" instead of write in Word and copy and paste. The disparity between the "preview" function and what you actually get when you publish a post. The "your HTML tags aren't acceptable" when I try to post even when I'm not writing HTML. I'm just using the basic platform. The extra spaces after photos. I'm about done with Blogger. Anybody have tips on migrating to a better platform?

Joel said...

And so those of us that missed out - where/when can we try the 07 Vincent?

Am willing to work in a trade of something from my cellar.

Anne said...


We use Wordpress. Have been happy so far. Talk to Tim if you want more details since he's in the business and all....

Sean Baccei said...

I'm bummed we missed the invite. It's not THAT far from Marin to Portland! How do us down here in the Bay Area get in on this new cult wine?

Nicely placed Kerry and Obama placards!

Thanks for sharing..........


Vincent Fritzsche said...

Looks like my "don't invite out of Pacific NW area people" was a bit narrow minded. There will be a next time people, perhaps someplace more grand than the actual garage where it's (hopefully) all starting.

Sean, great the hear from you. Actually, Paul P. has already got you covered. Expect a delivery in about two weeks. Let me know what you think.