Cult Oregon Pinot Noir – Beaux Frères

What makes a cult wine?

Add equal parts exclusivity, elegance and craftsmanship, and you’re doing pretty well. The winery is owned by the world’s most famous wine critic Robert Parker? Even better.

Oregon’s most talked-about winery, Beaux Frères produces some of the most exquisite Pinot Noir outside of Burgundy. The brain-child of Robert Parker and his brother-in-law (or Beaux Frères, en Français), Beaux Frères has been producing world class Pinot from its unique sites since 1990. The two vineyards (known as the Beaux Frères, and the Upper Terrace vineyards, 23 and 10 acres, respectively), are farmed biodynamically, and produce some of the smallest yields in the industry.

The philosophy of Beaux Frères is simple. According to winemaker Michael G. Etzel: ”

“The philosophy is one of minimal intervention, with clean fermentations utilizing indigenous yeast.
The wines are stored in French oak for 10 to 12 months adjusting the percentage of new oak to compliment the wine the vintage has given us. Beaux Frères is never racked until it is removed from barrel for bottling, which occurs without fining or filtration. These non-manipulative, uncompromising methods guarantee a wine that is the most natural and authentic vineyard expression possible. Previous vintages demonstrate that these methods also allow our Beaux Frères to develop significant perfume, weight, and texture in the bottle.”


The Upper Terrace Vineyard

The Upper Terrace Vineyard



BeauxFreres13PinotNoirPinot Noir Willamette Valley 2012

89 points – Wine Spectator

Taut, exhibiting good density to the blackberry and floral flavors, without excess weight. Shows depth and intensity, with fine tannins on the finish. Best from 2015 through 2018. 2,500 cases made.




2012 BFPinot Noir Ribbon Ridge The Upper Terrace 2012

97 points – Wine spectator

Sleek, silky and expressive, full-bodied but not heavy, polished to bring out the glow of the cherry, raspberry sassafras and cinnamon flavors that just won’t quit as the finish sails on. Has depth, wrapped in satiny tannins, and real harmony. Best from 2015 through 2024. 579 cases made.



13 BFPinot Noir Ribbon Ridge The Upper Terrace 2013

96 points – Wine Spectator

Intensely and seductively aromatic, billowing purple plum, blueberry, blackberry and espresso notes that resolve on the velvety palate. The tension between the fruity and savory character persists into the long and vivid finish. Drink now through 2023. 366 cases made.


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Brandon’s Corner – Aging fine and rare wines

Once a winegrower has deemed the right moment to begin harvesting grapes off the vine, the aging process has already begun.  For the sake of this article, we will be focusing on areas for consideration on wine aging from the point of bottling forward, with specific reference to fine and rare wines, both new world and old world.

The plethora of environmental, viticultural and winemaking influences in the fine wine world are well established and consistently adapted to enhance the perceived quality and performance on a wine’s life cycle.  Based on substantial research and experience we know that wine develops and changes occur that lead to the aging processes of wine once it has been bottled.   Furthermore we have certain expectations of how a wine tastes over time as it ages in bottle, the challenge of a wine drinker who appreciates these changes is to determine the right moment to pull the cork, screw the cap or pop the bottle, when the specific wine in question will offer the most pleasure.

With aged wine we need to determine how much age we actually like or how much the wine can handle.  If one does not normally consume wine with long term aging, they may not actually enjoy the flavours and tertiary characters that develop over time.  For example, the aging process may eventually go too far due to oxidation, where the fruit is no longer present, in a say a bottle of pinot noir for example and characters of meat, mushroom and cooked carrot notes take over, the wine is depreciating at this stage.

Depending on the variety, varieties and said influences on these wine styles, the aging potential varies widely.  It is a commonly held notion that red wines have a stronger potential to age long term over whites and in many cases this is true, however ask any die hard Riesling or Chenin blanc collector about that and you might be lucky enough to taste the greatness of these varietals capacity in the cellar.  The environment of a cellar is hugely important, light, humidity, temperature, space, arrangement, all of these factors must be considered on how a wine appreciates.   At Dhall & Nash we have considered all of these factors and initiated an appropriate cellaring regime in our warehouse to ensure that we offer the ideal environment for our fine wines to appreciate and develop for the drinking pleasure for our customers.






A bottle of the iconic Inglenook Rubicon, in our temperature-controlled warehouse.

A few wines from our cellar selection:


2010 Inglenook Rubicon – California

93 points – Wine Spectator

“A classy, well-structured effort, with flavors that build and gain depth around a core of loamy earth, espresso, dark berry, cedary oak and tobacco. Most impressive on the graceful, long and persistent finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot. Drink now through 2026.”

2005 Brane Cantenac – Bordeaux 

95 points – Robert Parker

“A sexy, style of wine from the Lurtons at Brane-Cantenac, this wine (a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc) has a stunning nose of forest floor, licorice, blackcurrants, plums and spring flowers. Soft tannin, full-bodied opulence and beautifully textured, lush richness, make for a brilliant wine from this large, 180-acre vineyard. In spite of the wine’s stunning forward fragrance and lushness, the color still looks as if it is 3-4 years old, rather than a decade. This is a big-time winner in 2005 and should drink well for at least another 25+ years.”

2010 Domaine Michel Magnien Morey St. Denis “Les Chaffots” 1er Cru

93 points – Allen Meadow’s Burghound

“This is not quite as ripe though the nose is otherwise quite similar. There is a fine minerality to the medium weight, intense and admirably pure flavors that culminate in a wonderfully complex, balanced, linear and overtly austere finish. This is a very serious effort that again will need plenty of cellar time to reveal its full potential but that patience should be well rewarded.”

2012 Rene Muré Clos St Landelin Riesling

92 points – Robert Parker (Stephan Reinhardt)

“From 46 years old vines, picked with 45 hectoliters per hectare on October 18th and kept on the lees for 9 months the pale yellow colored and bone dry Riesling Clos St Landelin offers a very clear and gentle bouquet of ripe white-fleshed nectarines and pineapples which are transferred onto the buoyant palate which is round, fresh and clear, very well balanced and really fine and elegant. Provided with tension, a long and frisky finish and a lovely mineral expression this Grand Cru should go for up to 15+ years.” 

1999 Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Nicolas François Brut

93 points – Wine Spectator

“Very elegant, ethereal in texture and well-knit, offering flavors of poached pear, black licorice, lemon pâte de fruit, pastry and ground ginger. Shows fine balance and integration, with a fresh, lasting finish of ripe fruit and saline minerality. Drink now through 2027.”

2008 Mountford Estate ‘The Gradient’ Pinot Noir

89 points – Wine Spectator

“Aromatic, with intense spice, forest floor and scorched earth notes, showing a firmness and density to the black cherry and blackberry notes that lead to a spicy, firm finish. Drink now through 2021.”

New Winery – de la terre

de la terre is a small family-owned boutique winery specialising in hand-made wines from an unusual mix of grape varieties. The wines are crafted by Tony Prichard, owner and winemaker, in the small earth-brick winery he built, west of Hastings. Tony is best known for the 15 years he spent at the helm of Church Rd.

de la terre wines have their own ‘signature’ – full-flavoured with elegant and balanced mouthfeel and a touch of complexity. In most cases, the wines are slightly outside what would be regarded as the mainstream style for the varieties. de la terre Reserve wines, which demand extra-special attention from Tony, are estate bottled and hand-labelled in individually numbered bottles.

2013 de la terre Blanc de Blancs



A very clear pale lemon colour which helps to highlight the elegant and persistent mousse. Fresh, clean aromas of green apple, stonefruit and citrus with obvious bready and mineral notes. A real invitation to put the wine in your mouth. A strong flavour ‘attack ’showing a vibrant marriage of fruit and yeast influences. The firm and fresh acidity provides balance and persistence of flavour through to a long, clean finish.



2014 de la terre Chardonnay



Typical pale straw colour of young Chardonnay. An intense tropical fruit spectrum dominates the aroma profile of this Chardonnay – notes of ripe nectarine and peach with hints of pineapple and banana. Fresh, ripe and vibrant. A flavour burst of ripe Chardonnay fruit here with lingering fruit sweetness and a creamy texture.The clean, fresh stone fruit is the essence of this wine. The palate is concentrated but at the same time lively, balanced and elegant.


2014 de la terre Reserve Chardonnay



Healthy pale straw colour typical of young Chardonnay. A wonderful marriage of fruit, yeast and French oak with signature notes of minerality and a slight mealy  complexity. A rich and powerful ‘attack’ followed by a luscious mid-palate and great length‘Balance’ is the key here – our aim is for harmony between the key elements – fruit, oak and complexity. 


14 De La Terre Viognier



A healthy, vibrant pale straw hue. Fresh and delicate notes of citrus blossom and lychee with hints of apricot and honey. An elegant and refined balance of ripe, clean Viognier flavours and gentle acidity.
Flavours of honey, lychee and light citrus dominate.  The finish is clean, crisp and long.



14 De La Terre Reserve Viognier


A fresh pale straw colour. As a young wine, the nose is somewhat tight and minerally with fruit sitting nascent in the background.  With bottle-age we expect this wine to follow the same trend as our 2013 – developing fruit  aromatics of dried apricot and citrus alongside the minerality and complexity from the old French oak and yeast influences. A solid attack of vibrant fruit with a seam of fresh acidity keeping the structure tight and focussed as it moves through to the long and persistent finish. The slightly ‘smoky’ oak influence will continue to integrate as it ages.


15 De La Terre Ridgeline Viognier



Pale straw as a young wine. Expect slow evolution to a more golden hue with time in bottle. Strongly aromatic – honeysuckle, lemon-blossom, lychee, white pear, quince and a touch of cinnamon.  Definitively Viognier. A rich, full and fruity attack with a seamless transition through the mid palate and into a long, clean finish.  A nice acid seam and very slight spritz runs alongside the fruit to help balance the touch of residual sweetness. A long, clean finish.


15 De La Terre Late Harvest Viognier



Golden yellow when young with a slow evolution to an even more golden hue with time in bottle. Aromatic and fruity – very expressive.
Lychee, honey-suckle, lemon-blossom. Pretty notes. Lively fresh white fruits in the attack move through a reasonably linear mid-palate and into a long, clean finish.  There is a seam of acidity that runs alongside the fruit to retain freshness and balance.This style needs to be (at least) lightly chilled.


15 De La Terre Noble Viognier



Golden yellow when young with a slow evolution to a more golden yellow with time in bottle. Hugely powerful! Raisin, honey, apricot, lychee – whatever. The nose is primarily about concentration but the key is the clean, fresh aromas – not too heavy. Expect evolution toward vanilla and crème brulee notes with time in the bottle. Very full and concentrated ‘attack’ with a luscious mid-palate and real length.There is a seam of acidity that runs alongside the fruit to retain freshness and balance.


14 De La Terre Montepulciano



Rich deep red/purple/black colour. Dominated by dark fruits – black cherry, black olive, Damson plum with a definite presence of cedary oak. The wine smells like you would expect it to from its colour – dark and brooding. A strong, succulent attack of dark fruit which moves seamlessly through to a vibrant and mouth-watering mid-palate with real structure. A lovely balance between fruit, tannins and acidity with a nice ‘kick’ of French oak at the finish.


14 De La Terre Barbera



Almost pinot noir-like in intensity and appearance. A vibrant crimson/ garnet hue. Elegant and restrained berry fruit with light spice notes and a subtle oak presence. A gentle attack of ripe, clean fruit and silky tannins. Generous mid-palate depth moving through to a clean, lingering finish.



13 De La Terre Syrah



A vibrant blue/black hue of real intensity. Complex aromas of violets and ripe black fruits, layered with floral notes and a dark pepper spice. Nuances of fine-grained French oak support the fruit aromas. An initial burst of dark and rich Syrah fruit is supported by very fine tannins and toasty French oak. The flavour is both long and persistent and highlights the impeccable balance between fruit, tannin and acidity.


13 De La Terre Reserve Syrah



A vibrant blue/black hue of real intensity. Complex aromas of black cherries and olives with, dark pepper spice and fine French oak. Hints of tar, liquorice and cedar add to the complexity. A rich and concentrated burst of ripe, dark fruit is supported by a strong backbone of fine-grained tannins and toasty French oak. The flavour is intense and brooding – highlighting the impeccable balance between fruit, tannin and acidity.


14 De La Terre Tannat



Very dark black/ magenta of vibrant hue and massive intensity. A totally unique fruit profile with blackberry/blueberry notes and an underlying earthiness with a hint of French oak. A burst of black cherry fruit in the attack building to a huge flavour concentration in the mid-palate.  Firm, robust tannins with a seam of light acidity that expresses itself as a mild ‘saltiness’.        A succulent and vibrant fruit finish.


14 De La Terre Reserve Tannat


Very dark magenta of vibrant hue and massive intensity. Difficult to describe – a totally unique fruit profile with hints of blackberry/blueberry and an underlying earthiness with nicely integrated French oak supporting the fruit. A burst of black cherry fruit in the attack building to a huge flavour concentration in the mid-palate. Despite the very high concentration of tannins they are supple, fine and powdery in quality – “an iron fist in a velvet glove”. The wine has huge length.


All de la terre wines are available through Dhall & Nash.


Red wine, Resveratrol and the French Paradox

The French Paradox – how a nation that consumes it’s weight in cheese and pastries can have one of the lowest rates of heart disease – has puzzled the medical, and indeed wider community, for decades.

It’s no secret that the French love their food – but their gastronomic love affair doesn’t end there. Wine – and lots of it – is the be-all and end-all of what it means to be French. Why then, with this diet of rich foods washed down with copious amounts of wine – are the French healthier as a nation than say, America or the UK?

Scientists have isolated a particular compound that occurs in the skins and pips of red grapes (as well as in that of dark fruit such as blueberries) which may hold the answer. Resveratrol is a naturally occurring phenol (bitter compound), which acts as a protective antioxidant to both the plant, and to the human body. Foods high in this substance are often considered to be ‘super-foods’, and may protect against coronary heart disease and even cancer.

So red grapes (and the wine which they produce) have high levels of resveratrol – but are all created equal?

Certain grapes contain higher levels of tannins, and therefore resveratrol. One such grape is Tannat – hailing from the south of France. This grape produces wines of great substance, with long aging potential. This is due, in part, to its naturally high levels of resveratrol.

Resveratrol molecule and grapes

Resveratrol molecule and Tannat grapes

Tannat is grown extensively through France, as well as elsewhere in Europe, California and South America – and New Zealand.

Tony Pritchard (of Church Road fame) produces Tannat (as well as other varieties) from his estate in the Te Mata Special Character Zone, in the Hawke’s Bay. This wine is totally unique in it’s fruit profile of blackberry and blueberry, with beautiful underlying earthiness and an ageing potential of 10 years plus. The wine presents as a very dark magenta, bordering on black – indicating very high levels of both tannin and resveratrol.

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See the full de la terre range here, all available through Dhall & Nash.

In the Vineyard with Julianne Brogden of Collaboration Wines

Hi Julianne, Can you tell us what is happening in your vineyard at the moment?


Currently the vines are in the final stage of ripening before harvest. The canes of the grape vines change colour and structure from a fleshy, green to brown and hard. ‘Veraison’ a french term used to describe the ‘change of colour of the grape berries’ is underway and usually takes between 40-50 days.
Berries change from small and green to almost doubling in size as sugars accumulate, organic acids decrease and the berries soften and turn to a red/black  or a yellow/green. The change in colour is due to the replacement of Chlorophyll, which is green to the human eye in exchange  for anthocyanins in red grapes and caratenoids for white grapes……if you can remember back to those Chemistry days??


Merlot grapes in the Collaboration vineyard undergoing 'veraison'

Merlot grapes in the Collaboration vineyard undergoing ‘veraison’


What do you look for in terms of ripeness?


As I walk the blocks I think about the final wine, how do I want it to taste,  flavours, acidity, richness, complexity. For Collaboration Wines, each vineyard site is chosen for a reason be it clonal, site selection or soil, all these factors will affect the grapes at picking and in turn the final wine.
I look and feel the softening of the berries, taste the flavours which can be variable from row to row or vine to vine. I shake the vines to see how vulnerable the grapes are, do they fall off easily or are they hanging in there and finally, I sample the berries uniformly  across the block and take the grapes to the lab. The grapes are dejuiced using a strainer, and the juice is extracted from the skins.  I look at the percentage of brown to green seeds, smell the skins and look at the colour of the juice.
I test for sugar levels and acid levels, these results will give me a guide to the final alcohol and potential acid in the resulting wine once fermentation has occurred in the winery.
Finally, I go on gut feeling and experience.


How does this vintage look in terms of ripeness and quality thus far?


 Coming up to my 23rd vintage and I as far as I’m concerned we are in the hands of mother nature, the weather can change at the drop of a hat! 4 weeks ago I would have said we are behind and late for what would be considered a normal season . Now, with intense heat over the last couple of weeks, veraison has rocketed through and we are looking to be back on schedule. If the warm dry weather continues as predicted we could be looking at another stunning vintage.   But, who knows a cyclone may come through, or extreme humidity, a snap of cold weather and the game changes, we are forced to pick dependent on the weather. If anything I’ve learnt just go with the flow and learn from experience and be prepared with your bag of tricks. The only factor that is consistent is the person that guides the wines but even then we are for ever learning and evolving.


What are some of the viticultural techniques you apply that influence fruit ripeness and quality?


Site selection, clonal selection, pruning, shoot thinning, leaf removal, fruit thinning and hand picking are all techniques that are essential to ensuring consistency and quality year after year.  For me you need to step back and look at the whole picture and guide the vines and sites accordingly to achieve your final outcome.


What are some of comparisons and contrasts of growing fine wine grapes in Hawkes bay compared to california where you made wine for many years?


8 years winemaking  in the Napa Valley and I have to say viticulture and winemaking over there is simpler in comparison to Hawkes Bay. California is  spoilt for beautiful, rich, luscious, riper wines year after year, each day seems to  deliver calm warm dry weather which makes the jobs both in the vineyard and winery easier. Another side to California is the intense heat day after day which results in climbing sugars and declining acids with physiological ripeness and flavours not in balance. High sugars and thus high alcohols are the outcome, definitely a challenge in itself. In all, California Wines are in a league of their own and I certainly developed a love for these wines. The depth of knowledge and experience in Napa Valley is impressive  and I appreciate the layers of complexity that California offers.
Hawke’s Bay’s weather is more variable which can pose challenges so we need to be ready to  deal with the various weather patterns and accommodate both in the vineyard and winery. Hawke’s Bay obtains physiological ripeness of the grapes at lower sugar levels meaning lower alcohol levels in the wines. The result is  beautiful elegant wines, lovely acidity, richness and elegance that suits an array of cuisines.
For a young region and country in the world of wine, we are fast to learn and accommodate both in the vineyard and winery. In comparison the vineyards and resulting wines are just as good as California but a fraction of the price and Hawkes Bay wines like California certainly reflect their own sense of place.


Fingers crossed – I’m looking forward to seeing what challenges the 2016 Harvest brings to Hawkes Bay and Collaboration Wines.


Current vintages:



2011 Argent Cabernet Sauvignon
2012 Impression Red
2013 Ceresia Merlot Cabernet Franc
2014 Aurulent Chardonnay



Collaboration blog post

2005 Bordeaux Selection – Robert Parker Reviews

All reviews from, #219, June 2015.


2005 Chateau Calon Segur, Saint-Estephe


The 2005 is a beautiful Calon Ségur, with sweet mocha, black cherry, leathery fruit, medium to full body, attractive purity, a gorgeous texture, and serious nobility, gravitas and density. Drink it over the next 20-30 years, yet it is surprisingly accessible. 93 points.


2005 Chateau Giscours, Margaux


The 2005 Giscours is a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot and the rest tiny dollops of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot from this huge estate. It has loads of blue, red and black fruits, licorice, spice, a touch of background oak and earth. It is medium to full-bodied, offering up sweet, velvety tannins and impressive purity and length. This wine is already showing quite well and should continue to evolve gracefully for another 12-15+ years. 91 points.


2005 Chateau Grand Puy Ducasse, Pauillac


Pure crème de cassis, licorice and spice are all present in this wine from Xavier Borie. Medium to full-bodied and ripe, with sweet tannin and a nicely textured mouthfeel, this is a beauty that should continue to drink well for another 15 or so years. 92 points.


2005 Chateau Pontet Canet, Pauillac


Possibly the youngest wine of all the 2005 Médocs in terms of its evolution, at age 10 the inky purple 2005 Pontet-Canet tastes more like a two-year-old wine. Loads of pure blueberry, blackberry and cassis fruit are present along with a hint of licorice and background oak. It is full-bodied, ripe, and excruciatingly fresh, vigorous and exuberant. This is a tour de force, and a sensational effort that rivals the first growths. Give it another 5-10 years of cellaring, and drink it over the following 30-40 years. 97+ points.


2005 Alter Ego de Chateau Palmer, Margaux


The medium to dark ruby 2005 Alter Ego is a sexy, lush, up-front style of 2005, with loads of cedar wood, a fragrant and perfumed personality, and silky tannin. It is moderately endowed, but lusciously suave and seductive. Close to being an outstanding second wine, it will drink well for another 7-10 years. 89 points.


2005 Chateau Branaire Ducru, Saint-Julien


Floral nuances combined with lots of mulberry, raspberry and sweet blackcurrant fruit are followed by a medium to full-bodied, beautifully pure, textured, complex wine with soft tannin. It should drink well relatively early on (2-3 years) and last 15 or more. 93 points.


2005 Chateau Brane Cantenac, Margaux


A sexy, style of wine from the Lurtons at Brane-Cantenac, this wine (a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc) has a stunning nose of forest floor, licorice, blackcurrants, plums and spring flowers. Soft tannin, full-bodied opulence and beautifully textured, lush richness, make for a brilliant wine from this large, 180-acre vineyard. In spite of the wine’s stunning forward fragrance and lushness, the color still looks as if it is 3-4 years old, rather than a decade. This is a big-time winner in 2005 and should drink well for at least another 25+ years. 95 points.


2005 Domaine de l’A, Cotes de Castillon


The home estate of Stéphane Derenoncourt has produced a major sleeper of the vintage in 2005. This dense plum/ruby/purple wine displays beautiful cassis, black cherry liqueur and earth in a full-bodied, opulent, multi-dimensional style. Deep, pure, rich and impressive, this is a beauty that can be drunk now or cellared for another 10-15 years. 91 points.


2005 Chateau du Tertre, Margaux


This attractive deep ruby/plum/purple wine is supple, with notes of loamy soil, earth, underbrush and black and red currants. Very fragrant and medium-bodied, with relatively sweet tannin, this wine should continue to drink well for another 10-15+ years. 90 points.


2005 Chateau Haut Bages Liberal, Pauillac


The 2005 Haut-Bages Libéral offers loads of blackcurrant fruit, licorice, spice and forest floor. It is medium to full-bodied, with supple tannin and an expansive, textured mouthfeel and finish. Drink it over the next 15-20 years. 90 points.


2005 Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estephe


The 2005 Montrose has a saturated purple color. As backward as one would expect of a St.-Estèphe, it offers notes of sweet blackcurrant and black cherry fruit, earth, graphite and spice. It is medium to full-bodied, moderately tannic, and still a decade away from prime-time drinkability. This 30+ year wine is clearly outstanding. 94+ points.


2005 Chateau Leoville Barton, Saint-Julien


Léoville Barton’s 2005 has an inky ruby/purple color and shows fairly high tannin levels, but the balance is slightly better that the Langoa Barton, which is very hard. This is probably a 30-year wine and needs at least another 20 years of cellaring, and while the tannins are high, they are balanced more thoroughly and competently. With deep cassis and red currant fruit, the wine is earthy, spicy, medium to full-bodied, and needs at least another decade. Drink it between 2025 and 2050. 92 points.


2005 Domaine de Chevalier, Pessac-Leognan


A glorious wine from Domaine de Chevalier, this 2005 reveals notes of graphite, subtle charcoal, blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, silky tannins, and a long, multi-dimensional finish. This is a killer effort from the Bernard family, who own this famous terroir in Pessac-Léognan. Drink it over the next 20-30 years. 95 points.

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