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2006 Beaux Frères Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1037473 91 points Wine Spectator

 Soft, open-textured and appealing for its plum, currant and earthy mineral aromas and flavors, which linger against a burr of tannins. Gains richness and complexity with every sip. (HS)  (6/2008)

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright red. Lively strawberry and raspberry aromas are complicated by fresh flowers and mocha, picking up baking spices with air. Then deeper in pitch on the palate, with medium-bodied blackberry and blueberry flavors lifted by vibrant mineral snap. Clings seductively on the aftertaste while maintaining focus. This bottling, formerly known as Belles Soeurs, is sourced from five vineyards spread across the valley. (JR)  (6/2008)

K&L Notes

The 2006 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is the winery's most approachable wine, a cuvée that blends fruit from such praised Willamette Valley estates as Carabella, Shea, Zena Heights, Ana and Amalie Robert Vineyards. As hedonistic as the Beaux Frères Vineyard, the Willamette Valley is a bit more approachable for near-term drinking, boasting a nose of sweet cherry, raspberry, spice and wildflower. Tons of fruit, this is a fleshy-styled Pinot that balances acid, oak, fruit and tannin seamlessly on the palate. Delish!

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Price: $54.99
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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- Highly touted for its Pinot Noirs, Oregon is part of the up-and-coming winemaking industry in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Most of Oregon is directly affected by the climate coming off of the Pacific Ocean, giving it mild winters and wet summers. This makes it a difficult place to ripen grapes, but some say that the harder grapes have to struggle, the more complex they will turn out to be. Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are two important and successful grapes grown in Oregon.