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Wineman’s Toast | Beaumont Cellars continues early excellence

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Pete Beaumont at Beaumont Cellars' tasting room in Quincy.

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Beaumont Cellars has staked its fortune on young, fruit-forward wines that show off the best qualities of Ancient Lake and Wahluke Slope viticultural areas.

Well, that’s not completely true. Yes, Beaumont’s wines are fabulous. Long rows of wine bottles decorated with medals in their rural Quincy tasting room attest to that. The wide selection — 21 different wines this year — offers all the intense fresh fruit flavors and bright acidity that vineyards in the Quincy to Mattawa area are known for.

Pete and Katie Beaumont, however, are still relatively new to the North Central Washington wine industry. Pete didn’t make his first wine until 2006. He didn’t go commercial until 2010.

The couple’s fortunes, for the past 38 years, have been tree fruit, mainly apples, along with pears and cherries.

Making and marketing their own wine, however, has been the work that has fanned the fires of their passion for agriculture, said Pete.

Wine gave me a chance to be enthused again,” he said. While tree fruit has paid for the land, wine has more than paid for itself while allowing the couple to control a creative business from start to finish and engage directly with customers.

We’ve met so many great people,” he said.

Beaumont had help from the Jack Jones family and Butch and Jerry Milbrandt, who grow thousands of acres of vineyard in the area. Most of the grapes for his wines still come from Jones and Milbrandt vineyards, and Dick Shaw’s vineyard on Red Mountain. He tributes local winemakers Mike Scott, owner of Martin-Scott Winery, and Al Mathews, owner of Malaga Springs Winery, among others, as his teachers.

So many people have helped me. It’s been neat to be involved as the industry develops,” he said.

The winery has grown from about 320 cases and three wine varieties in 2010 to 2,400 cases and 21 wine selections this year. He doesn’t expect to grow much larger, he said, so he and Katie can maintain the level of handcrafted quality and customer service for which they’re known.

We want to stay small so we can stay connected to our customers,” he said.

Beaumont ferments all his red wine grapes in large, plastic T-bins, before transferring to French and American oak barrels. The winery is “all about reds,” he said, but he’s been enjoying the challenge of making a wider assortment of white wines too.

His newest addition to his line of whites is Pete’s Crush Pad Blend, a delightful marriage of Riesling and Viognier. He also makes oak-aged and non-oaked naked Chardonnays, a Riesling, a Pinot Gris and a crisp Rosé of Sangiovese.

New reds include the 2015 Reserve Mouvedré and the 2015 Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon, made from grapes grown in the Wahluke Slope’s oldest vineyard, planted in 1982.

I appreciate the subtleties of good red wine,” he said.

Here are my notes from two new Beaumont releases:

Beaumont Cellar 2016 Pete’s Crush Pad Blend: This delightful blend of 70 percent Riesling and 30 percent Viognier opens with a fragrant burst of orchards in full bloom and tropical fruit followed by tastes of pineapple, Braeburn apple, golden raisin, honeydew and peach. A perfect cooler for a hot summer deck party.

Beaumont Cellars 2015 Mourvedre: Here’s a red wine that offers all the depth and intensity offer by by the Columbia Basin’s Wahluke Slope wine grape growing area. Very drinkable young, but bound to be better with a few years cellar time. Save this baby for a serious steak.