About this WINE
Beaux Freres, Oregon
Beaux Frères is one of the most critically acclaimed wineries in Oregon. Not only is Beaux Frères producing impressive expressions of Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley, it is also co-owned by arguably the most famous wine critic in the world, Robert Parker.
Beaux Frères is a joint partnership between Michael Etzel and his brother in law, Robert Parker, and Robert Roy whose background as a commercial developer and civil engineer helped make the original partners’ dream a reality. Michael farms the two vineyards at Beaux Frères biodynamically to produce Pinot Noir which is the purest expression of their land. The first vines were planted on what was originally an old pig farm back in 1988 with the first vintage in 1991.
The philosophy of creating world-class Pinot Noir from fruit that represents the essence of the vineyard has remained unchanged ever since with minimal intervention in both the vineyard and the winery. With past vintages high up on the lists of top Oregon Pinot Noirs it is no surprise that this is one of the most talked about wineries in the region.
While similarities might be drawn between Califonia and Bordeaux, Oregon is very much the American equivalent of Burgundy, with only 5,500 hectares planted in 2004. Since the 1960s a plethora of small growers have shunned the sun further south for the often damp, cool climate west of the Cascade Mountains, seeking out propitious sites to plant their beloved Pinot Noir among the 150-mile Willamette Valley AVA.
Pinot Gris has also taken hold of this corner of the Pacific Northwest; Chardonnay has been less successful due to inappropriate clonal selection. Domaine Drouhin Oregon is arguably the region's top producer, with most of the wine from this region swallowed up by the thirsty North American market.
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.