Since 2002, fourteen Beaux Frères releases have received a score of 95pts. or better from Wine Spectator, almost three times more than any other Oregon producer. Mike Etzel bought the eighty-eight acre property in the late 80s with financial help from his brother-in-law, Robert Parker Jr. (hence the name “Beaux Frères”). Parker remained a silent partner until just a few years ago when he sold his share. The winemaking philosophy is one of non-manipulation and minimal intervention. Indigenous yeasts are used, there is no fining or filtration, and Etzel vinifies in such a way that only a small amount of sulfur needs to be added.
Early on, after a number of unsatisfying vintages, he set the winery on a stylistic course running contrary to then prevailing West Coast practices, pulling back on extraction and lowering alcohol, stressing elegance over power. And let’s hear from Etzel about current practices, “Several years back, we began exploring the ideas of biodynamic farming. We have found that avoiding commercial sprays in favor of gentle tonics like dandelion and stinging nettle tea leads the way to a symbiotic relationship with our landscape. We compost on-site, graft our own cuttings, and take great care to observe and connect with the vines regularly . . . We receive lots of questions about how we make wine. It’s no different than what thoughtful Burgundians have been doing for generations.”
Here is the winery’s own tasting note: “Stately and charismatic, with 30-year-old vines from our flagship vineyard, this wine delivers once again with generosity and sophistication. A deep potpourri of candied cherry, Asian spices and incense lift gracefully from the glass. Silky, with notions of blue and red fruits, fresh fennel, and juicy cranberry, the wine is supported with a depth of composed tannins that deliver a remarkably grand, mouthwatering finish. There is a level of tension at its
core, indicating nearly timeless potential for cellaring.” The Beaux Frères Vineyard 2018 can be drunk now with an hour to two of decanting and, as the note indicates, it has a long future.
Beaux Freres Pinot Noir The Beaux Freres Vineyard 2018
Retail Price: $104.99
Sale Price: $96.97
Wine Spectator top 100 #9, 95pts. – “A wine of presence and expression, impeccably structured yet elegantly layered, with evocative raspberry, rose petal and brown baking spice notes that pick up richness and tension toward fine-grained tannins. Drink now through 2029.”
Past Cellar Selections:
Viña Real Rioja Gran Reserva – What were you doing in 1987?
Domaine Simon Bize 2018 – Value Burgundy
Saint-Préfert Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2018 - 96/97 Pts.
Roagna Rosso – A Concert Played by a Thousand Vines
Raul Perez – Wines with a Sense of Place
Domaine du Pelican – Burgundy Meets Jura
Viña Almaviva 2016 – #10 on Wine Spectator top 100
Vajra 2016 - Three Variations on Barolo
Montevertine – Chianti for Wine Geeks
La Rioja Alta “890” Gran Reserva Rioja 2004
Domaine Huët 2019 – Grand Cru from the Loire Valley
Shafer Vineyards – Relentless, One Point Five and Chardonnay
Paul Jaboulet – Majestic Wines from the Northern Rhone
Alion and Pintia – The Other Vega Sicilias
Three Oderros: for the Picnic Table, the Dinner Table and the Cellar
Castilla Ygay 2010 – at 98 pts a ‘First Growth’ Rioja
Burgundy with age from Jean Chauvenet