VOLUME 9, ISSUE 47
September 14, 2014
In 1986 while on vacation, Michael Etzel came upon an 88-acre pig farm for sale located on Ribbon Ridge in the Northern Willamette Valley, Yamhill County, Oregon. After some deliberation, Michael purchased the farm with his brother-in-law, Robert Parker, Jr. Michael uprooted his young family from Colorado and moved to the farm the following summer. He began his focused pursuit as a vineyard manager by planting only Pinot Noir and slowly transforming the old pig and dairy farm into his jewel. While planting his own vineyard, Michael worked four harvests at Ponzi Winery. In 1990, Michael harvested his first crop and sold the grapes, except enough to make one barrel, to winemakers Ken Wright and Dick Ponzi. In 1991 with the addition of a third partner Robert Roy, a renovation of one of the barns led to the creation of Beaux Frères Winery.
Robert Parker, Jr. is one of three owners in Beaux Frères vineyard and winery. His interest in the property was spurred by his brother-in-law, Michael Etzel, who discovered the property in 1986. Robert lives in Maryland with his wife Pat, Michael's older sister, their daughter Maia, and various Basset hounds and Bulldogs. For twenty-four years, he has the written and published the independent wine journal The Wine Advocate and authored twelve best-selling books on wine. Robert never reviews Beaux Frères for his publications, but you will find his imprint in the winery's tasting notes, and more importantly, in the philosophy that governs Beaux Frères and its pursuit of excellence.
Robert Roy was approached in 1991 to become a partner in Beaux Frères, and as a result the original partners were able to realize their dreams to build a winery and create their own Pinot Noir label. Robert's business and financial management expertise is an invaluable addition to Beaux Frères Winery.
I was an avid consumer in the 1990s of Beaux Freres but as my palate has looked for more elegance in style, I veered away. The Pinot Noirs have been too extracted and oaky at times, but in recent years winemaker Mike Etzel has refined the Beaux Freres style to some extent and the wines offer more finesse.
The wines are sold both through a mailing list and retail channels. Tasting is by appointment. The winery does offer large formats for sale. A second value priced label, Les Cousins, is offered in certain vintages like 2012.
Articles About Beaux Frères
2011 Oregon Pinot Noir All-Americans First Team (8.47 12/20/2011)
Large Review of 2009 & 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs With a Few from 2008 & 2011 (9.7 5/9/2012)
Many Oregon Wineries Offering Pinot Noir for a C-Note or More (9.15 11/24/2012)
More Sips of 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir (8.30 1/27/2011)
More Sips of Noiregon Pinot (7.2 9/15/2008)
Oregon Pinot Noir Tasting (6.20 3/27/2007)
Sips of Recently Tasted Oregon Wines (9.39 3/29/2014)
Small Sips of Oregon Pinot (8.19 8/8/2010)
Small Sips of the Rest (6.52 1/30/2008)
Tasting the Six Appellations with Grape Radio (7.7 12/17/2008)
2011 Beaux Frères The Beaux Frères Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.9% alc., 1,900 cases, $72. Grown, produced and bottled by Beaux Frères. From estate fruit planted from 1987 to 1991 primarily to Pommard and Wädenswil clones on their own roots. The vineyard has been farmed following the principals of biodynamics since 2002. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of red cherries, rose petals and other floral notes, and lacquered wood. Light to mid weight flavors of cherry and cranberry with a hint of oak. Very pleasant to drinking and charming in character, with modest tannins and very bright acidity, but a bit shallow on the mid palate and finish. Clearly the wine suffers from ripeness challenges, but is a commendable effort in a very difficult vintge. About the same the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 88. Reviewed March 29, 2014 ARTICLE »
2009 Beaux Frères The Beaux Frères Vineyard Ribbon Ridge AVA Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., $80. Large formats available. First released in 1991. Primarily Pommard and Wädenswil clones planted on their own roots between 1988 and 1995 in a 23-acre vineyard. Farming is organic and biodynamic and the vines are not irrigated. · Moderately light reddish-purple color and slightly hazy in the glass (unfiltered). Riper fruit profile with aromas of dark plums and berries with notes of peat, tea leaf, and sawdust. Medium weight core of dark red and black fruits with a subtle stem, brier and savory mushroom accent. Rather austere and unappealing upon opening, but considerably better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Unique among Oregon Pinot Noir offerings for its “Burgundian” style with Oregon charm. Very good. Reviewed May 11, 2012 ARTICLE »
2008 Beaux Frères Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., $40. Unfined and unfiltered. 49% Zena Crown Vineyard, 33% Shea Vineyard, 18% Amalie Robert Vineyard. · Nicely perfumed with darker red fruits, red roses and savory spices. A modest wine that aims to please with attractive flavors of dark red berries, cherries and red licorice. A comforting mouthfeel and soft tannins add to the appeal. Fine, but not exciting, and expensive for what it is. Good. Reviewed August 7, 2010 ARTICLE »
2008 Beaux Frères The Beaux Frères Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., $80. Made from fruit grown on the original estate vineyard. Primarily Pommard and Wädenswil clones planted on their own roots between 1988 and 1995. The vines are not irrigated and farming is organic with some biodynamic practices. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light in color with a red tone. The aromatics are relatively closed, revealing little fruit but notable toasty oak. The wine offers more on the elegant palate, with moderately rich and pleasing flavors of strawberries, cherries and oak accents that linger on the juicy finish. Well-integrated acidity and tannins offer a harmony that predicts 10+ years of longevity. Stunning the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. There is nothing like older vine fruit. Reviewed January 27, 2011 ARTICLE »
2006 Beaux Frères Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., $50. A blend of Carabella Vineyard(29%), Shea Vineyard (26%), Zena Heights Vineyard (20%), Amelie Robert (17%) and Ana (8%). · Rich and deep dark cherry and berry fruits nicely spiced and oaked with savory herbs leaping out. Moderately light-bodied with a sexy silkiness and lively acidity providing zip and zing. A very well crafted wine that offers the Beaux Frères experience for 2/3 the price of the estate bottling. I thought I could taste a little savory Parker in the wine. Reviewed September 15, 2008 ARTICLE »
2005 Beaux Freres The Beaux Freres Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., $75. · The most expensive, yet the group’s least preferred wine in the lineup. Attractive aromas of dark red fruits, rose petals and root beer. Deep red raspberries and currants are well-oaked, tannins are substantial, and there is good persistence on the citric peel themed finish. Reviewed December 17, 2008 ARTICLE »
2005 Beaux Freres The Beaux Freres Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., $75. · Deep, dark nose with penetrating plum, black cherry and oak perfume. Packed with tangy and plumy fruit, integrated tannins and brisk acidity on the finish. At present there is more earth and wood than fruit in the aftertaste. Muscular but not harsh. Excellent but not profound. Reviewed January 30, 2008 ARTICLE »
1999 Beaux Freres Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc.. · Super ripe fruits with a hint of alcohol dominate the aromatics. There is plenty of stuffing - darker fruits, anise and toasty oak. The finish is dry, stemmy and woody. With a predominance of tannins, alcohol and a paucity of acid, the whole package lacks balance. Reviewed March 27, 2007 ARTICLE »
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