Hello from Jean at Avalon Wine,
I love these wines and the brothers who made them. Jared and Mikey Etzel grew up at Beaux Freres among Oregon’s wine pioneers, learning from their Dad Mike and their uncle, famous wine critic Robert Parker.
The 2011 vintage of Jared and Mikey Etzel’s Horsetail Pinot noir ($27.95/$25.15) is made from the prestigious Ana, Guadalupe, and Stony Mountain Vineyards. It’s a luscious Pinot: a mouthwatering sweet blackberry and rose petal scent that is joined by ripe cherry flavors and a hint of forest floor in a long silky finish. Big, juicy, easy to enjoy, it’s a real crowd pleaser.
In contrast to the drink-me-now Horsetails, Two Messengers Pinot noir 2011 $29.95/$ 26.95 is a wine for cellaring. If you must open it now, decant and wait at least a few hours before drinking.
Young and closed in on itself, with decanting for a day the wine expands to show tart red currant and raspberry, cranberry, lamb demi-glace, and umami. Understated elegance, a beguiling, elusive wine with haunting aromas of tobacco, forest floor and fresh turned earth. Fine-grained tannins and a bare tinge of oak finish the palate. A polished, seamless character hints at extraordinary things to come. A wine worth waiting for.
Louis-Michel Liger-Belair collaborated with Mikey to make this wine. Liger-Belair makes effortless, intriguing Pinot noirs in classic French style. He is all about sophistication, subtlety, and evolution. Very different from most Oregon Pinots, a style new to Oregon. I’m fascinated – it’s going in my cellar.
Jared and Mikey had a remarkable year. Both men are newly minted general managers/head winemakers for new wineries. Jared (at bottom of page at the site of his new vineyard) has partnered with the son of one of Beaux Freres’ investors to found a new vineyard and winery, as yet unnamed. Located on a prime vineyard site in the middle of the Dundee Hills, the vineyard was planted in April 2013. Expect Jared’s first wine (from purchased fruit) next year.
Mikey (at right below with Mark Tarlov) is now head winemaker at Chapter 24, Mark Tarlov’s (founder of Evening Land Vineyards) new venture. Their first wine, Two Messengers Pinot noir 2011, was recently released. To make the wine, Mikey and consulting winemaker Louis-Michel Liger-Belair were given access to the entire barrel room of Patricia Green Cellars. Together they made their own custom blend, encompassing many Oregon AVAs.