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 (with Bob Betz remaining on as the winemaker), and I fully expect quality will remain high for years to come.
Betz is open twice a year for the release of their wines: Spring welcomes Bordeaux Blends, and Fall the Syrah-based wines. Located south of the Schoolhouse District in Woodinville, Betz release parties draw such large crowds that Woodinville Fire and King County Sheriff employees are hired to direct traffic.
I attended the Fall release party this past Sunday, a scorching hot late Summer afternoon. Despite the weather, and this being the opening day of the NFL season, the winery was simply packed. Bob and Steve made themselves available all afternoon to mingle with visitors.
Here are my initial impressions on the new releases:
- 2012 Betz Family Bésoleil – 50% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 12% Counoise, 15% Mouvedre and 15% Syrah. Great floral and garrigue aromas with strawberries and kirsch on the palate. Young, primary, tight and brooding. The components are all there but this wine needs a few years in the cellar. My rating: 92 points.
- 2012 Betz Family Syrah La Serenne – 100% Syrah from Boushey Vineyard. Black fruits, smoke, grilled meats, graphite and spice. Solid wine but my least favorite of the three Syrahs. This is the bottle to open, of the current releases, if you are so inclined. My rating: 91 points.
- 2012 Betz Family Syrah La Côte Rousse – 100% Syrah from Ciel du Cheval and Ranch at the End of the Road Vineyards on Red Mountain. Black fruits, olive brine, stones and violet. I’d stick this wine in a Northern Rhone tasting as a ringer. Hands off for the forseeable future. My rating: 94 points.
- 2012 Betz Family Syrah La Côte Patriarche – 100% Syrah from Red Willow Vineyard. Dark, tight and inky. Exceptionally concentrated. Black fruits, coffee, game and pepper. This needs a ton of time in the cellar. Côte Patriarche is the best wine being made at Betz. A worthy follow up to the stellar 2011. My rating: 96 points.
I’ve been buying the Betz wines for a decade now. I can’t emphasize enough that the entire lineup needs extended time in the cellar. These current releases will be no exception.
I understand the mailing list is full, although I suspect the wait isn’t too long. Fortunately, the wine is readily available all over Seattle almost year-round. All of these new releases are worth searching for.
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