Oregon Wine Club – August 2009

2007 Beaux Frères Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
We’re excited to be able to put a Beaux Frères wine into the Oregon Club. This is a small winery, producing a few select wines, with meticulous care, and completely biodynamic practices. Whatever you may think about biodynamic farming (not a few find it a load of New Age hooey) once you’ve had a chance to spend some time with winemaker Mike Etzel in his vineyard, you’d be hard pressed not to be at least somewhat converted. We had just such a pleasure last spring and it was an education and a delight to listen to him talk with such passion about the whole growing process, from the nurturing of the microbes in the soil, to the careful, hands-on management of each and every vine. Before we ever went in to taste his wines, he had us get up close and personal with handfuls of soil, to smell the difference between healthy and lifeless dirt. Mike made believers of all of us, which was, of course, only reinforced when we tasted his wines. His Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (formerly known as his Belles Soeurs cuvée), is from the challenging 2007 vintage, but being so attuned to every nuance of his soil and vines, Mike was not one to let the weather get the better of him. This Pinot is silky and feminine, light in body—quite Burgundian in style—and utterly delicate and balanced. Delicious to drink now, or over next five to seven years. It’s $49.75, (a great price for a Pinot from this highly-respected winery, seeing as their other two, higher-end Pinots start at eighty dollars).

2006 Boedecker Cellars, Athena, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Stewart Boedecker and Athena Pappas are partners in wine, as owners and winemakers at Boedecker Cellars, and in life as well. A delightfully warm and fun couple, they started winemaking in 2003 in Carlton, Oregon. They are now producing their hand-crafted wines at their bright new urban winery, located in the light industrial section of northwest Portland. They make a great team, but when it came to their signature Pinot Noir, they were unable to agree on one defining style. The result: a His and a Hers version—the Stewart and the Athena. Ironically, Stewart, tall and broad and towering over his petite wife, prefers a softer, more feminine Pinot, while Athena’s preference tends to be for a bigger, more structured and, dare we say, masculine wine. We knew we wanted to feature one of their wines in the club this month, but it was a tough decision as to which one. In the end, we chose the Athena, to contrast with the lighter bodied Beaux Frères wine. Her 2006 vintage is a blend of Dijon clone Pinot from several Willamette Valley vineyards. It has lots of dark, exotic fruit and an inviting spiciness. While enjoyable now, it will definitely develop for another year or two in the cellar. Whenever you open it, consider pairing with salmon, a nice pot roast, or perhaps Boeuf Bourguignon. It’s $34 and we should be able to get a bit more.