Another very exciting new addition to the line-up. Vincent Fritzche has been mentioned admiringly to us by lots of our top Oregon growers because of his deliberately handsoff, ego-less winemaking approach (“it’s always easier to do something than nothing”). Vincent, a Cali native, began life in publishing after studying English at college. With a young family he moved north to Oregon in the early 90s to teach at a university. With plenty of spare time, he fell in with the local wine scene, helping Willamette’s finest during harvest and in the cellar. He naturally began making a little of his own wine: “it was just a hobby at first; five barrels and then ten…” By 2009 Vincent was producing enough and had amassed sufficient client-support to leave academia and pursue his true love.
Vincent’s wines are beautifully illustrative of his intent and talents
‘Tardive’ could also be labelled ‘Reserve’; a tiny selection of what Vincent considers his best barrels (with longer élevage) from his Chardonnay range. “Essentially it’s anything too good to be in my basic Willamette Chardonnay and not quite vineyard-specific enough for my single-site cuvées, although quality-wise it is at single vineyard level”. A gloriously open-hearted Chardonnay, full of vivacity and complex layers. Ridiculous value for the price really. Vincent’s “high-thread count” Eola-Hills Pinot Noir is a blend of four sites, a thrilling attempt to “capture the unique terroirs of volcanic and sedimentary soils”. In such a “fantastically structured year” Fritzche’s hands-off, low extraction approach has worked a treat as has the proximity to the Van Duzer corridor, drawing cool air off the pacific in the afternoon and rapidly cooling the Eola-Amity vineyards. The dark 2018 fruit is framed by fine and detailed structure, without any weight or force. A masterclass in blending (or “editing” as Vincent calls it) and winemaking restraint; like the Chardonnay, it’s a screaming bargain.