Andrew and Annedria Beckham have a charming vineyard property in Sherwood, Oregon, in the Chehalem
Mountains, where they grow grapes for their wines that reflect the site and individuality of the vintage. Their
tasting room, constructed by Andrew, is inviting and the hosts are very warm people. Both Andrew and
Annedria are energetic people with him managing the vineyard and crafting the wine, and she, with three
children in tow, managing sales and marketing. This is a family winery in the truest sense of the word.
Andrew never set out to grow wine grapes or become a winemaker. The property, surrounded by heavily
forested Chehalem Mountain woods on the flank of Parrett Mountain, was originally acquired by the Beckhams
to allow Andrew, a ceramist and ceramics teacher, to have a large clay workshop for his craft. A neighbor
across the street had a small vineyard and drew Andrew into the romance of winegrowing. The Beckhams
soon had a 6.5-acre vineyard of their own adjacent their home. The south, southwest and southeast facing
vineyard was planted to Pommard, Wädenswil, 115 and 777 Pinot Noir clones at an elevation of 412-568 feet
in volcanic and Loess soils. Andrew learned about viticulture from neighbors and volunteering to work in other
local vineyards. The harvests from the first two vintages in 2007 and 2008 were sold.
Andrew’s winemaking mentors were Mike Halleck of Carabella Vineyard and Jim Sanders of Aubichon who
made their wines at Union Wine Co. in Tualatin. The first Beckham Estate Pinot Noir was produced in 2009.
Andrew is one of several winemakers in California and Oregon who are experimenting with fermenting and
aging wine in clay vessels or terracotta amphoras. Annedria had seen an article in a magazine several years
ago about vinification in amphoras and this not only piqued Andrew’s interest, but seemed a perfect fit given his
accomplished background as a ceramist. A recent article in Wines & Vines, “Winemakers Give Clay a Close
Look,” May 2014, featured Andrew as well as other proponents of amphora vinification. Fermenting and aging
wine in amphoras is exposing the wine to earth (clay), and not unexpectedly, gives wines a distinct mouthfeel.
Andrew’s amphoras are still in the experimental stage, but he is quite enthusiastic about the future prospects.
Andrew plans a second label, A.D. Beckham for wines vinified in amphoras and the first release will be a Pinot
Gris in July 2014.
In 2013, Beckham Estate Olivia’s Rosé of Pinot Noir was released (<70 cases, $18) and is nearly sold out. A
Beckham Estate Pinot Noir Blanc, a saignée of Pinot Noir, was also released (<70 cases, $22).
In 2011 and 2012, three Pinot Noirs were produced from estate fruit: Sophia’s, Estate and Dow’s. The wines
are reasonably priced considering the high quality. Visit the website to buy wines at
www.beckhamestatevineyard.com., or better yet, visit on Saturdays 11:00-5:00 and by appointment for an
intimate tasting experience.
2011 Beckham Estate Estate Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
13.3% alc., 350 cases,
$30. Released September 2013. Nearly sold out. Aged 18 months in French oak, the last 6 months
in neutral French oak. All clones in vineyard including Pommard, Wädenswil, 115 and 777. 100%
de-stemmed and berry fermented. Aged 15 months in 40% new French oak.
Light in color and
weight, with tannins slightly dominant over fruit concentration. Still quite appealing, with wellperfumed
red cherry and cranberry fruits with a hint of raspberry and sassafras. Driven by crisp
acidity, the wine has a sweet cherry, soprano finish.
2011 Beckham Estate Dow’s Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
50 cases, $40. Since 1857, more
than 20 sons in the Beckham family have carried the name Dow and this wine honors Andrew’s father,
grandfather and now Andrew’s son. A barrel selection of clone 777 and Pommard aged in 40% new French
Light reddish purple color in the glass. Elegant, but packs plenty of flavor including Bing cherry, spice and
mocha. Highly aromatic with a hearty backbone of tannin and a pleasing finish.
2012 Beckham Estate Sophia’s Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 70 cases,
$35. May 2014 release. Dijon 115. 100% de-stemmed and whole berry fermented. Aged 15 months
in 40% new French oak.
Deeper reddish purple color reflective of the vintage. Expressive aromas of
fresh cherry pie glaze and rose petals. Mid weight core of tasty red fruits with a complimentary touch
of oak and spice. Balanced tannins and quite forward.
2012 Beckham Estate Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 225 cases, $30. Contains all four clones from
the estate vineyard. 100% de-stemmed and whole berry
fermented. Aged 15 months in 40% new French oak.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The vibrant
nose picks up intensity and nuance over time in the glass,
offering a rainbow of aromas including black cherry, ripe strawberry, black
raspberry, spice and rose. Delicious well-sustained attack of black cherry fruit
accented with clove and cola, carrying over to a magnificent finish of impressive
fruit concentration. Very smooth in the mouth with the structure to age many
years. This wine has a racy personality.
2013 Beckham Estate Olivia’s Rosé of Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 60 cases, $18. Released January
22, 2014. Nearly sold out. Named for the family’s youngest daughter. Dijon 115 and Pommard grown
especially for this wine. Fermented in neutral French oak. No malolactic fermentation.
color and clear in the glass. Lovely aromas of fresh strawberry, watermelon and blood orange are
echoed in the flavor profile. Bright and crisp with gossamer tannins.