Since their inaugural vintage in 1991 the goal at Beaux FrÃ¨res has remained the same: to produce a world class Pinot from small, well-balanced yields and ripe, healthy fruit that represents the essence of their vineyard.It was Michael Etzel who discovered the property in 1986, then an 88 acre pig farm for sale on Ribbon Ridge in the Chehalem Valley, Yamhill County. After some deliberation he bought it with his brother-in-law, Robert Parker (hence the name) and moved from Colorado with his family. While planting the vineyard Michael worked four vintages at Ponzi Winery and in 1990 harvested his first crop which he sold keeping back one barrel. 1991 saw the arrival of a third partner, Robert Roy, and a renovation of the barns led to the creation of Beaux FrÃ¨res Winery.Beaux FrÃ¨res have two vineyards: Beaux FrÃ¨res itself and The Upper Terrace. Beaux FrÃ¨res is obviously the estate vineyard. Nearly fifty acres is covered with Douglas fir and thirty acres is planted with vineyard on steep, contiguous south-east, south and south-west facing hillsides of Willakenzie soils at elevations of around 400ft.The Upper Terrace is an adjacent parcel on the crest of the hill north of the Beaux FrÃ¨res Vineyard and consists of ten plantable acres of south-east facing hillsides. The soils are also Willakenzie at the same sort of elevations as Beaux FrÃ¨res. Eight of the ten acres are planted with five of the new Dijon clones (777, 667,113, 114, 115) and the remainder with Grenache. The first bottling from this vintage was from the 2002 vintage.A final note: like many wineries with which we work, non-intervention has the status of a mantra at Beaux FrÃ¨res and there is, as we would expect, no fining or filtration. There is minimal handling of grapes and wine and in addition they use a reductive method of winemaking, meaning that the wineâs exposure to oxygen is deliberately reduced to the bare minimum. The traditional process of racking the wine from barrel to barrel is not practised here and the wine is kept on its lees for all of its time in barrel. This is all to keep the wineâs fruit and perfume intact and enhance its capacity to age. But the trade off in the wines in their infancy is a higher presence of CO2 than is normal and which holds back the fruit. Decanting will blow this off and allow the wine to open out; but these wines really must be decanted.
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