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I've been working on my tasting note for a week and it's still confounding me. The 2010 has so much presence. At the time of release, there isn't a Beaux Freres Pinot that's impressed me more. The rich texture and weight are stunning, especially when combined with the vivid fruit and lower alcohol. Aromatic intrigue, depth and balance. To me, it has the best traits of each of the last 10 vintages. - Marcus

#1 Wine SF Chronicle Recommends 2010 Pinots

Beaux Freres has been on the edge of ambition in Oregon, but Mike Etzel is also making good on those ambitions, with pristine biodynamic farming of his 88-acre Ribbon Ridge site. An immensely pleasing, profound wine. Full of heady sage and birch bark, with raspberry, wild strawberry and a classy oak note that comes across as a subtle toast element. - the Chronicle

below, winemaker Mike Etzel

Beaux Frere's Mike Etzel

Tanzer 94 points
"Bright violet color. Explosively perfumed aromas of red and dark berry preserves, Asian spices and potpourri, with cola and vanilla accents building in the glass. Sappy, broad and appealingly sweet, offering lively, spicy dark berry flavors with nuances of soy and candied flowers. Shows plenty of upfront appeal and intense fruit, finishing smooth, spicy and very long." - Josh Raynolds

2010 Wine Spectator - 93 points - Impressive for its clarity, transparency and focused blackberry, raspberry and sassafras flavors, hinting at floral and mineral notes as the finish lingers enticingly. Offers elegance and refinement without losing intensity. Drink now through 2020. - H.S.

If the Beaux Freres 2010 Willamette Valley is the more hedonistic then this is the more intellectual older sibling - showing its breeding as well as restraint. Medium ruby color,aromatically very pure nose of sweet and sour cherries, red currants, pomegranate and even a refreshing touch of ruby red grapefruit. Reminds us of a red-fruited, Cote de Beaune. Medium bodied, elegant, pure and racy. The tannins are extremely well integrated, balanced by zesty acid. This is a sleek, lithe, yet subtly muscular Pinot. This cuvee should age well for 8-12 years. Case production 1,320.

2009 Vintage Tasting Notes

So delicious and pure, so graceful and balanced. The 09 BF flows from aromas to finish seamlessly, giving you tremendous red fruit, accented by white flowers and spice, with a voluminous finish.

I had a couple of glasses last night with the classic pairing of grilled salmon. My wife and I had the same reaction - we had to restrain ourselves from finishing the bottle. - Marcus

I love Beaux Freres Pinots. And I always have a hard time putting them in the cellar for the 4-10 years it takes for them to go from excellent to extraordinary. I've found a solution.

The 2009 vintage of the Beaux Freres Estate Pinot will cellar beautifully but is drinking very very well right now. I tried it at a the Deep Roots Coalition and took a step back - whoa! It is delightfully lip smacking and forward. It has all of winemaker Mike Etzel's classic styling - the super balance, the restraint, the silky tannins and layers and layers of Burgundian elegance. And it will knock your socks off.

Yes it will get even better with cellaring. But if you don't want to break into your cellar of precious older vintages, go for the 2009. - Jean

Wine Spectator - 94 points and "HOT WINE" Wine Spectator Insider for August 3, 2011 - Light and spicy, with pretty red berry and cinnamon flavors that linger against refined tannins. The flavors expand with each sip, picking up extra mineral and earth nuances, as the finish sails on unabated. It's the length that makes this special. Drink now through 2019. - H.S.

2009 Tanzer - 92 points - Bright ruby. Perfumed, vibrant aromas of blackberry, dried flowers, minerals and spicy oak. Juicy, precise and energetic, showing a suave blend of power and finesse. Very pure red and dark berry, spice and mineral flavors linger impressively on the sappy, persistent finish. This is approachable now but has the spine and power to age. - Josh Raynolds

2008 Vintage Tasting Notes

A tremendous perfumed nose blossoms in the glass. Co-mingling of rose petal, lavender, crushed raspberry, forest floor, fresh turned earth, incense, roasted meat, cedar, and barely there peppery spice.

The 08 Estate has purity, perfect structure, and balance. Fascinating to try in 10, 15, 20 years. In retrospective tastings of Oregon Pinot held in a decade or more from now, this will be a main attraction. - Avalon

2008 Tanzer - 94 Points - Bright red. Highly perfumed, seductive bouquet of black raspberry, cherry-cola, incense and dried rose, with a slow-mounting mineral element. Lively but strikingly concentrated as well, offering incisive red fruit and floral pastille flavors underscored by intense spice and mineral qualities. Really stains the palate and finishes with superb clarity and juicy, spicy raspberry and cherry notes. Etzel told me that a tiny bit of stems were used in this year's wine. - Josh Raynolds

2008 Wine Spectator - 93 points - Light in color and body, this is deftly balanced to let the gorgeous raspberry, cherry and espresso flavors emerge easily and waft through the long, expressive finish, remarkably without much weight. Impressive for its style and refinement. Drink now through 2018. - HS

What do you get when you mix an old pig farm with the wine expertise of Robert Parker, Jr.? Exceptional Oregon Pinot Noir, of course. Parker, along with his brother-in-law Michael Etzel and third partner Robert Roy realized their goal of creating premium Pinot with their first vintage in 1991. Their estate property, the old pig farm, is 24 acres of tightly-spaced, low-yielding vines on the steep slopes of Ribbon Ridge in Northern Willamette Valley.

Winemaking philosophy and technique follow a commitment to minimal intervention, with native yeast fermentations and only one racking prior to bottling. All the wines are unfined and unfiltered. The wine remains in French oak for a period of 10-12 months, in varying proportions of new wood depending on the strength of the vintage. Because of the "reductive" winemaking style, which keeps the wine away from oxygen as much as possible, Beaux Freres Pinots are made for bottle age. The end result is a true expression of prime Willamette terroir.

2007 Vintage Tasting Notes

Dark ruby-colored, the 2007 Estate offers an intense, sweet scent of black raspberry and cherry, wild strawberry, herb, earth, and dried flowers. Tasting the wine, a silky cream texture introduces flavors of blackberry, black raspberry, and black cherry. The rich, plump fruit is accented by subtle notes of sweet earth, truffle, Asian spice, and dried field herbs.

Fleshy, plush, and charming, the 2007 Estate is medium bodied, gaining weight and depth with decanting. Good acidity and ripe tannins are well proportioned for cellaring - the winery suggests that the wine will evolve for 10-12 years. - Avalon

2007 Tanzer - 92 Points - Vivid red. Bright red berry and cherry aromas are complicated by dried rose and brown spices. Tangy, sharply focused red fruits on the palate, with slow-mounting spiciness and building power. Silky tannins add grip to the very long, seamless finish. This gained weight with air but maintained admirable vivacity and clarity."

This is a Pinot Noir at its sexiest and most feminine. Still, it is a medium to full bodied wine of substance and surprising length. Somewhat reminiscent of the 1995 but far more concentrated fruit and to our mind dramatically better wine. We attribute this to the extensive work in the vineyard and the experience we have gained in the twelve years that have elapsed. This wine may be drunk in its youth, but has the concentration and balance to age gracefully for 10-15 years. -the Winery

2006 Vintage Tasting Notes

The most seductive, mouthfilling Beaux Freres Pinot noir to date. Let the fanfare begin!

It's an orchestra of mixed fruits, all delivered in a superbly textured wine with massive amounts of rich glycerin. Big doses of spicy red currant provide a lift to the aromas and flavors, elevating and celebrating the dense earth notes so typical in the Beaux Freres Estate. Savory herbs appear briefly as if to announce the finish, then the full chorus of fruit shows off again. The toasty oak is perfectly integrated, letting the ripe fruit sing out. - Avalon

Tasted in January 2007, the nose of the Estate was restrained at first, then showing a perfume of violets, red and black berries, toast, and sweet earth. Hints of spice, herbs, and dried flowers mingle with the fruit scents.

Every time we put our noses in the glass, this wine was changing. With time, red fruit, primarily red raspberry, started appearing along with the blackberry and cherry flavors. Marcus noted that this wine seems much more red fruit driven than the Upper Terrace, which has been perceived by us as a much more black and blue fruit dominant wine. This 2005 Estate Pinot noir was changing so rapidly with aeration, we could not help but wonder what it would be like in a few months or a year. We'd love to see what Harvey Steiman (Wine Spectator) would say about this wine in six months to a year. - Avalon

The 2005 shows an immediate intense sweet fruit quality in the mouth. Blackberry, black raspberry, blueberry, and lush black cherry fruit flavors prevail. Subtle notes of sweet wild mushroom, sweet earth, and forest floor are occasionally noted, but come and go, just a gentle undercurrent to the dominant fruit flavors.

There's also a sense of perfume on the palate, with hints of Asian spice, dried field flowers and herbs. The tannins are silky and present, adding structure, restraining and balancing the fruit. In January 2007, the tannins are the slightest bit drying in the mouth, although after decanting and air, that quality disappeared quickly. - Marcus

2005 Wine Spectator - 93 points - "Although 2005 was a difficult vintage, Beaux Freres made a beauty out of its own vineyard. Firm at first, it then blossoms into a panorama of flavors, fanning out its raspberry cream flavors, hinting at floral, mineral, green tea and Asian spice notes as the finish picks up steam. Not a big wine, but it has many layers to explore. Best from 2009 through 2015. From Oregon." -H.S.

The color is dark ruby with plenty of purple highlights. The nose is very extroverted and shows no intention of shutting down. At present the wine reveals pure blue and black fruits, (primarily black cherries, raspberries, and a hint of blackberries) along with tell-tale beet root, earth and herb notes.

In the mouth the wine is rich and full bodied, yet displays a lighter, more delicate finish. It is somewhat of a paradox that such an intense wine could also be light on its feet, but that is the style of this vintage. We believe that this seasons unique growing conditions leading up to harvest gave us the ideal grapes to produce a wine with impeccable balance in acidity, alcohol, tannin, and depth of fruit.

The Estate is aged on its lees in 75-85% new Francois Freres oak barrels, and the wine has a creamy quality in the midpalate that comes from exposure to the lees. The lees also contribute a silkiness to the mouth feel.

This wine should be relatively approachable in its youth, but because of its balance evolve for 10-12 more years. Over the last sixteen years, we have seen how well our wines have evolved. They have done what we have always hoped, improving in the bottle, which is no easy task. - the winery

2004 Vintage Tasting Notes

Immediately upon popping the cork and pouring, the nose is intense, with a complex perfume of forest floor, white flowers, blackberry fruit, fresh turned earth, cocoa, cassis, red plum, sweet cherries, and hints of underlying dark spice. Flavors reiterate the scents, and the texture, while lush, is pure essence of Pinot, as the flavors echo over and over in the mouth.

Wow! Even young and just opened, this is just extraordinary Pinot. Mind boggling, sophisticated, nuanced, restrained opulence, seamless, reminiscent of a top flight Cote de Nuit. Should get at least as good scores as the 2003, this wine shows all the characteristics of a long lasting cellar selection, to be brought out for the grandest occasions and best cuisine.

I am hard pressed to find words to get across the pleasure this wine offers, albeit within a true-to-the varietal, pure Pinot noir flavor profile. You'll just have to try this one and send me some of your words -- it's really indescribably beautiful. - Avalon

2004 Wine Spectator - 95 points - Another great Pinot from Michael Etzel, one of Oregon's most celebrated winegrowers. This one has subtlety, with a deceptively easy entry, offering cherry and plum on a lithe texture with a distinct stony note. It picks up steam and hangs on beautifully as the finish sails on and on, hinting late at sassafras. Tannins are well-integrated, but further cellaring will pull it together even more. Best from 2007 through 2015. From Oregon." -H.S.

Here's what Mike Etzel says about the 2004 Estate:

This wine is made from fruit grown on the original Beaux Freres estate vineyard. It primarily consists of Pommard & Wadenswil clones on their own roots planted between 1988 and 1995. Mike farms organically, does not irrigate, and is beginning to follow the path of Biodynamic farming. Made from the smallest yields since 1994, it is not surprising that this is an extremely concentrated effort.

The sweet tannins and velvety texture in this wine have been obvious from the first barrel tasting. The deep ruby color is accompanied by an emerging bouquet of sweet black currants, raspberries, plums, and forest floor scents. This opulent, concentrated Pinot is well proportioned with perfect acidity, and a long finish displaying seamless integration of fruit, acid, tannin, alcohol, and wood. It is rare to produce a wine of such richness and intensity that also possesses such smooth tannin and sexy up-front appeal.

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