Don Baumhefner, former CAL Bear footballer, sommelier, winemaker, bon vivant began Chateau Beaux Hauts in the 1980’s while working with Joseph Swan at his namesake winery. Encouraged by the results of these first vintages, Don discovered Russian River Pinot Meunier and produced the first En Tirage with the 1990 vintage and a follow up 1992 bottling. A first, every few months and then year after year, Don would disgorge a bottling to see if it was ready for release. 21 years after that first vintage Don finally felt the wines were ready to release. These first vintages were a landmark, with the great Michael Broadbent equating the 1992 to a late disgorged Bollinger. Fast forward and Don has released his second disgorgement of the 2010 vintages of a Blanc de Blancs sourced from Beckstoffer’s “Las Amigas Vnyd.” in Carneros.
The first disgorgement was in 2016 after resting 6 years on the lees from the secondary fermentation. This 2nd disgorgement just occurred on February 9th of this year which means this sparkling wine has completed 11 years on the yeast! The dosage is also drier at just 4 grams per liter instead of the first disgorgement’s 6 grams. IT IS A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WINE. The extended yeast contact keeps the fruit flavors fresh and lively, while allowing the wine to develop greater complexity and texture. An increase to the cost of the wine is a result of the extended time invested in holding inventory by the winery and what should be an even higher quality finished wine. Buyers or consumers of the first disgorgement should be curious to make a comparison with this second “tranche”. I am hoping there is even a third disgorgement.
UPDATE – November 2022! Tough homework assignment, but last evening we tried another bottle of the second “tranche” of the newly disgorged En Tirage Blanc de Blanc ‘2010! Please note, this Sonoma-Carneros Extra Brut sparkling wine has now been on the lees for 11 YEARS!! Disgorged on February 9th, 2022 with a dosage of only 4 grams. I can report nine months later this wine is really beginning to hit on all cylinders.
The difference? More freshness and mouth filling structure. More energy, but still with brake tapping restraint. More bubbles displaying a multitude of very fine beads at an unrelenting pace. Similar aromas, but perhaps a little more ‘shroom, crushed hazelnut and wet stone. Brioche awaits in the wings!
Yes this rendition of En Tirage was up to the task! Smoked trout, pickled fennel, and briny salmon roe! Or try with roasted bone marrow spread on toasted buttery brioche.
Price? Was up to $54.95, but now back to its introductory $48.95 a bottle and well worth it! But here are the holiday savings and gift giving value – SAVE on 3+ bottles at $44.95. Sincerely, I dare you to find any similar Champagne or methode Champenoise that can compete at this price point value!
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