Skip to content

2010 Betz Family Syrah La Côte Rousse – Bottle Notes

Betz Family Winery was founded in 1997 by Bob & Cathy Betz. Critical acclaim from local and national wine publications has put Betz Family Winery at the forefront of Washington wines alongside Cayuse, Leonetti and Quilceda Creek. The winery was sold to Steve and Bridget Griessel over five years ago. Louis Skinner, a longtime assistant of Bob’s, is now the full time Winemaker.

The 2010 La Côte Rousse is 100% Syrah from Ciel du Cheval and Kiona Vineyards.

Violet in color. 14.4% ABV. Complex nose of black fruits, smoke, saline and white pepper. Medium body with strong acidity. Warm and silky on the palate. Flavors of blackberry, espresso, green olives and bittersweet chocolate. Medium length on the finish. The bar is high for La Côte Rousse and this is somewhat disappointing in the context of previous vintages. Perhaps more time in the cellar is warranted. Give it a try in 2-3 years.

My rating: 90 points.

I understand the mailing list is full, although I suspect the wait isn’t too long. Fortunately, the wines from Betz are readily available all over Seattle almost year-round. The 2015 La Cote Rousse was released to the mailing list last Fall and should still be available at retail. I’ve bought mine!

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

Pick My Next Bottle – 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

The February installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. I plan on opening the winning bottle this Sunday and will publish a Bottle Note shortly thereafter.

Although overshadowed by 2005 and 2007, 2006 was a classic vintage in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The cold but dry winter and lack of rain in the Spring were followed by blistering heat in June and July. Relief came with rain on Bastille day, then again in mid August. A balmy September ensured fruit with balance, elegance, phenolic ripeness and tannic structure. The wines were, and still are, well priced.

The Wine Advocate scores below are from a retrospective tasting conducted in March of 2016.

The contenders:

  • 2006 Clos des Papes – From the normal tiny yields of this estate (on the order of 22 hectoliters per hectare), the 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape from Paul-Vincent has shed its baby fat and now shows a supple, elegant, seamless profile that’s hard to resist. Kirsch, licorice, garrigue and sweet spice all emerge from this medium to full-bodied, beautifully balanced 2006. It benefits from a short decant, and while showing plenty of maturity, it will evolve gracefully for at least another decade. 95 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2006 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe – One of the more youthful wines in the retrospective, the 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape La Crau from the Brunier brothers is a head-turner. Possessing the ever present seaweed/nori character that I almost always find in this cuvee, it has a beautiful core of currants, crushed rocks, tapenade and licorice-like aromas and flavors. Made from 65% Grenache, 15% each of Mourvèdre and Syrah, and the balance Cinsault–all from the famed La Crau lieu-dit–this is as traditional and classic Chateauneuf du Pape as you can get. It’s a gorgeous wine that has another 10-15 years of longevity. 94 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2006 Pierre Usseglio “Mon Aïeul” – One of the gems in the vintage is the 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape Mon Aieul, which in 2006 was 95% Grenache and 5% Syrah. Elegant, seamless and weightless, yet with full-bore intensity in its kirsch liqueur, garrigue and licorice-driven aromas and flavors, this sensational 2006 provides that rare mix of both hedonistic and intellectual pleasure. It’s singing today, but will keep for another decade. 96 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Should I Open?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the March installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

The Week in Zinfandel (2/12/18)

Welcome to the latest installment of The Week in Zinfandel. If I missed your post or story please send me a link and I will be sure to include it next week. Cheers!

 If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Bedrock Wine Co. was founded by Morgan Twain-Peterson in 2007 and focuses on small production wines from many of California’ s most treasured and historic vineyards. The lineup of wines at Bedrock is expanding rapidly, but I think the best of the best are the ancient vineyard Zinfandels, Morgan is clearly passionate about.

Carlisle Vineyard was planted in 1927 by Alcide Pelletti on the eastern bench of the Laguna de Santa Rosa flood plain in the Russian River Valley.

Purple in color. 14.9% ABV. Sensational nose of black fruits, plums and flowers. Full bodied with gobs of acidity. Extremely rich and plush. Black cherry, boysenberry and anise on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long and spicy. Somewhat bigger than I have grown to expect from Bedrock but that is not a bad thing here. Absolutely delicious. Drink over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 93 points.

The mailing list at Bedrock is highly recommended. Exceptional wines, fair prices and great customer service. Put your name on the waiting list.

I blogged about Bedrock in The 2017 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

2012 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – Bottle Notes

Kosta Browne began as a dream shared by Dan Kosta and Michael Browne. In the summer of 1997, while working at John Ash & Co. restaurant in Santa Rosa, California, Dan and Michael decided to pool their tips and venture into winemaking. Twenty years later, Kosta Browne is one of the most sought after Pinot Noirs in all of California. At present time they produce three appellation Pinot Noirs, eight single vineyard Pinot Noirs and a Chardonnay.

Sourced from Gap’s Crown, Griffin’s Lair, Terra de Promissio and Walala Vineyards.

Light red in color. 14.5% ABV. Pretty nose of red fruits, cloves, baking spices and damp forest floor. Medium body with ample acidity. Decadent and fruit forward. Exceptional balance. Cranberry, bing cherry, strawberry and pomegranate on the palate. The finish is long and silky. Simply delicious, well made Pinot Noir. Another home run from Kosta Browne that only bodes well for the single vineyard wines from this vintage. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 93 points.

The 2016 version was recently released at a price of $68. I’m a buyer. Past vintages of this wine frequently show up on WineBid for at or near the original release cost.

As I mentioned in the Fab 5 of Mailing Lists, Kosta Browne is one of hardest lists to crack. Maybe so, but you’ve got nothing to lose by putting your name on the waiting list. Good luck!

Kosta Browne fared well in The 2017 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

2008 Force Majeure Collaboration Series IV Merlot – Bottle Notes

Force Majeure was founded in 2004 by Paul McBride and made its name pairing some of Washington’s highly acclaimed winemakers with fruit from one of Washington’s highly acclaimed vineyards, Ciel du Cheval.  The winery recently transitioned from Collaboration wines to Estate wines. Todd Alexander, formerly of Bryant Family Vineyards, is the winemaker for the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. There is also a second label that was introduced last year named Parabellum. Even more changes are in the works including a new label and a Force Majeure Tempranillo.

The CS IV is 60% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Carolyn Lakewold made the wine.

Violet in color. 13.8% ABV. Breathtaking nose of cassis liqueur, scorched earth and molten licorice. Plush and exceedingly concentrated. Black cherries, cassis, currants and chocolate truffle on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long with silky tannins. Fantastic Merlot that is in the conversation for the best version of this variety made in Washington. Drink over the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 93 points.

Force Majeure is one of the most exciting wineries in the state. The winery is still accepting names for the mailing list.

I’m going to miss the CS wines and in particular the Merlot dominant CS IV but am excited about the direction Paul McBride has in mind for Force Majeure.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

2004 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Hirsch Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Williams Selyem Winery began when Ed Selyem and Burt Williams started making wine as a hobby in 1979 in Forestville, California. Their first commercial release was in 1981, and in less than two decades they created a cult-status winery of international acclaim. Setting a new standard for Pinot Noir winemaking, they put Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley at the forefront of the best Pinot Noir regions in the world.

Today, John and Kathe Dyson, who purchased the winery from Burt and Ed in 1998, work with winemaker Jeff Mangahas to carry on the passion for Pinot Noir without compromise. Other varieties bottled at Williams Selyem include Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Chenin Blanc.

Hirsch Vineyard was planted in 1980 and is perched on a ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Fort Ross

Dark red in color. 14.1% ABV. Ripe nose of red fruits, roses and baking spices. Medium body with ample acidity. Big and powerful with a sense of elegance. Bing cherries, mushrooms, cola and spearmint on the palate. The finish is very long. Solid Pinot Noir but the ripe characteristic that I think defines the ’04 vintage is slightly off putting. Drink over the next year or so.

My rating: 90 points.

Williams Selyem can periodically be found at retail, but the mailing list is highly recommended.

I wrote about Williams Selyem previously in Reflections on Two Days in Russian River Valley and The 2017 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

The Week in Zinfandel (2/5/18)

Welcome to the latest installment of The Week in Zinfandel. If I missed your post or story please send me a link and I will be sure to include it next week. Cheers!

 If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

2016 The Pines 1852 Old Vine Zinfandel – Bottle Notes

The Pines 1852 was founded in 2001 by Lonnie Wright. Wright learned the craft of viticulture when he and several others planted 2,000 acres in two years; the first vineyards at Columbia Crest. Wade Wolf and Clay Mackie, experts in vineyard management, directed the operation as Wright soaked in all the knowledge these legends had to offer. Wright became the area manager for 650 acres of grapes and supervised the first harvest. The first wines from the The Pines 1852 included a Young Vine Zinfandel, Old Vine Zinfandel and Merlot. Today they make 19 different wines. Peter Rosback, of Sineann, is the winemaker.

The grapes for this Zinfandel come from a vineyard planted in the late 1800’s situated in The Dalles, Oregon.

Maroon in color. 14.5% ABV. Succulent nose of brambly black fruits, baking spices and pepper. Medium body with juicy acidity. Extremely elegant and plush. Blackberry, black cherry, chocolate and pepper on the palate. The finish is long and smooth. Flawless Zinfandel that will be at it’s best over the next 4-6 years. For my money the best Zin producer in Oregon.

My rating: 93 points.

The tasting room for The Pines 1852 is in the beautiful city of Hood River, Oregon. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. The 2016 Old Vine Zinfandel was recently released at a price of $50. It won’t be easy to come by but is definitely worth the search. Good luck!

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email

Zinfandel of the Month – 2015 Sobon Estate Old Vine Zinfandel Amador County

Zinfandel of the Month is a regular feature on Zinfandel Chronicles. Keep in mind that although the Zinfandel of the Month might be an older bottle, the current vintage will be one you can find at retail or via the mailing list.

The February Zinfandel of the Month is the 2015 Sobon Estate Old Vine Zinfandel Amador County.

The Sobon Estate winery started in 1989 when Leon and Shirley Sobon bought each other a second winery for their 30th wedding anniversary present. They purchased the historic D’Agostini Winery, one of the oldest in the state. This winery has been designated as California State Historic Landmark #762. This site was chosen not only for its historical winery, but also for its vineyards and vineyard land. The old vine Zinfandel was retained, and the other vineyards replanted with the best varieties and clones.

Light crimson in color. 14.9% ABV. Delightful nose of black fruits, cocoa powder, pepper and earth. Medium body with just the right amount of acidity. Bright fruits burst from the glass on this claret style Zinfandel. Blackberry, black cherry ad pepper on the palate. The finish is long and spicy. Completely over delivers at the $13 price point. Delicious and easy to drink. Best over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 89 points.

Certainly one of the best Zins under $15 from California rivaling the Marietta OVR and Ravenswood Appellation Series. I’d consider buying this by the case.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare via email