1995 Beaux Freres - Printable Version

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- Bucko - 03-02-1999 02:14 AM

The 95 was always a controversial wine and still is. I opened one last night to accompany pork tenderloin with a brown mustard sauce. The wine was much better with the food than stand alone. It has lost the spritzy character that it once had, has matured, but is only an average wine. I would feel much better if I had only paid $20.


- Randy Caparoso - 03-21-1999 08:20 PM

Bucko, I agree -- mostly -- with you. Mostly, because virtually every year is a controversial year for Beaux Freres. Grower/winemaker Mike Etzel goes so far out on the limb (in the vineyard and winery) that his wines invariably end up thick, dark, powerfully aromatic, and at the same time unpredictable, often gassy, rough and tumble -- all the things one doesn't usually expect from demure, refined Oregon style Pinots. I actually prefer the '96 over the '95 -- it's a little cleaner, not as big, but still very compact and concentrated (in Etzel's self-professed "Rhone-meets-Oregon") style.

But will these wines round out with age? I tried a '92 recently with Etzel in Hawaii, and I can't say that I liked it -- it was definitely brown at the rim, and more tired than tumble. However, I think both the '95 and '96 will endure with a little more stability, and their natural, unruly gassiness will not be a factor at all.

Have you tried the '96 Belle Soeurs? Etzel's "sister in law" wine that theoretically doesn't make the "regular" Beaux Freres cut. I actually prefer it! Brighter, more accessible fruit; silkier, softer texture. I like the balance so much that I think it just might age better than it's bigger "brother in law," although I'm sure Etzel would love to prove me wrong.

When the first vintages of Beaux Freres came out, I have to confess to not liking them at all (I have a weakness for the purer, fresher Oregon styles of people like Ken Wright, Rex Hill and Chehalem). But after getting to know the folks up there and the sheer quality of their vineyard or terroir -- especially their passion for the grape and enormous work ethic -- I am now full of admiration. I may not flip over everything they do, but you gotta luv their style and chutzpah!

Bucko, I'll get back on and give you a list of the current Oregon releases I think are most exceptional when I get a hold of my most recent notes which I left in my office.

- Bucko - 03-21-1999 10:53 PM

Year in and year out, my favorite OR producers are Ken Wright, St. Innocent and Springhill. Glad to see that you like Ken Wright.


- Randy Caparoso - 03-21-1999 11:00 PM

Bucko, not familiar with Spring Hill. Will look into it next time I'm in Oregon (have scheduled trips in April as well as May).

Take a look at the new thread I put up (Current Oregon Releases), which I accidentally put in twice. As a moderator, maybe you can help me delete the copy.

- Bucko - 03-22-1999 10:59 AM

Make an effort to check out Springhill. I have visited them twice, talked with the winemaker, and am very impressed with their wines - absolutely yummy. They need a year in bottle to blossom, however, but then St. Innocent needs 5 years to come around. I just drank a 91 out of mag that was stunning.


- Van The Man - 03-22-1999 11:05 AM

Bucko -

What's the skinny on the '94 Beaux Freres? I managed to score a bottle of this at a benifit auction.


- Bucko - 03-22-1999 11:13 AM

94 Beaux Freres is their best effort IMHO. It is a massive wine that may be coming around about now.


- Randy Caparoso - 03-23-1999 02:44 AM

I'd agree that the '94 Beaux Freres is quite big and voluptuous -- at least the last time I tasted it, which was last summer alongside the '95, with the winemaker sitting on his porch. But how will it age? I still contend that with this hard working winery, questions like this remain to be seen. It's not just a question of intensity, but also stability. these guys take chances. If I had more than a few bottles hanging around, I wouldn't take a chance and wait -- I'd just enjoy 'em.

Just received word today that my '97 Beaux Freres came in. By the end of the week I should have a preliminary report.

- Van The Man - 03-23-1999 07:54 AM

>>If I had more than a few bottles hanging around, I wouldn't take a chance and wait -- I'd just enjoy 'em.<<

Randy -

That's the problem with buying "a bottle of wine" at a benefit auction. <sigh> That's all I got! One Bottle!

It's our 5th anniversary at the end of April so we'll drink it then. There's no reason to push the envelope any further if there's a chance this one won't age gracefully.

Thanks to both Randys for the advice! ;-)