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Posts tagged ‘Betz’

2009 Betz Family Syrah La Côte Patriarche – 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 five years ago. Louis Skinner, a longtime assistant of Bob’s, is now the full time Winemaker.

2009 was the third vintage of La Côte Patriarche. The fruit is from Red Willow Vineyard in Yakima Valley. The Syrah at Red Willow was planted in 1986 making it the oldest Syrah vineyard in the state.

Violet in color. 14.7% ABV. Brooding nose of black fruits, coffee, game and flowers. Big, rich and seamless. Full bodies with acidity in spades. Black cherry, blueberry, espresso and white pepper on the palate. The finish is long and plush. This Syrah is the classic iron fist in a velvet glove. Tremendous wine. Drink over the next 6-8 years.

My rating: 93 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 2014 La Côte Patriarche was released to the mailing list several months ago and should be available at retail. I’m a buyer.

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2008 Betz Family Syrah La Côte Patriarche – 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 five years ago. Louis Skinner, a longtime assistant of Bob’s, is now the full time Winemaker.

2008 was the second vintage of La Côte Patriarche. The fruit is from Red Willow Vineyard in Yakima Valley. The Syrah at Red Willow was planted in 1986 making it the oldest Syrah vineyard in the state.

Inky purple in color. 14.8% ABV. Savory nose of black fruits, olives, grilled meats and wild flowers. Full bodied with tons of acidity. Powerful, layered and concentrated with firm tannins. Blackberry liqueur, black cherries, white pepper and olive brine on the palate. The finish is long and unctuous. Timeless Syrah that is delicious now but will easily age another 4-6 years.

My rating: 93 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 2014 La Côte Patriarche was released to the mailing list last month and should be available at retail in the near future. I’m a buyer.

I wrote about the new releases in Betz Family Winery End of Summer 2015 Release Party.

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2008 Betz Family Winery La Serenne – 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 (with Bob Betz remaining on as the winemaker), and I fully expect quality will remain high for years to come.

La Serenne is 100% Syrah from Boushey Vineyard.

Bright purple in color. 14.8% ABV. Awesome nose of black fruits, flowers and espresso. Thick, rich and seamless. Great texture. Blueberries, grilled meat, blackberries, licorice and lavender on the palate. Supple tannins on an extended finish. Great showing. Drink over the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 94 points.

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. The 2012 will be released in early September at a cost of $55. Put this wine on your shopping list.

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2009 Betz Family Clos de Betz – 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 (with Bob Betz remaining on as the winemaker), and I fully expect quality will remain high for years to come.

Purple in color. 14.6% ABV. 65% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 6% Petit Verdot. Primary nose of black fruits, plums and licorice. Great acidity and minerality. The palate is loaded with cherries, currants, chocolate, plums and toasty oak. Supple tannins and a long finish. The wine needs at least another 2-4 years in the cellar.

My rating: 92 points.

I’ve followed Betz from the start and still have bottles dating back to the ’02 vintage. I am confident these wines will age as gracefully as the likes of Woodward Canyon and Quilceda Creek.

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. The 2011 was just released and runs about $55.

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Pick My Next Bottle – Taste Washington Wine Month

The March Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on great bottles from some of the best producers in Washington. 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. The winning bottle will be opened this Sunday and a Bottle Note will be published later that week.

March is Taste Washington Wine Month. Taste Washington Wine Month in March is an annual celebration of Washington State’s award winning industry. The culmination of Taste Washington Wine Month is Taste Washington, a massive tasting of food and wine held at the CenturyLink Field Event Center.

The Contenders:

  • 2006 Betz Family Winery Pere de Famille – The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille is 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, and the balance Petit Verdot and Malbec. Opaque purple, the wine has a brooding nose of wood smoke, earth notes, mineral, spice box, black cherry, and blackberry. This is followed by a layered, opulent wine with superb depth and concentration and 6-8 years of aging potential. This promising effort should be at its best from 2015 to 2030. 95 points from The Wine Advocate.
  • 2006 Cayuse Camaspelo – It is made up of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 8% Cabernet Franc. The already complex perfume reveals mineral, graphite, creme de cassis, and black cherry. In the mouth it offers a lovely combination of power and elegance, along with very ripe tannins, leading to a lengthy, fruit-filled finish. Give it 3-4 years of additional cellaring and drink it through 2021. 95 points from The Wine Advocate.
  • 2006 Leonetti Merlot – One of The Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines of 2008. The 2006 Merlot has 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Carmenere, and 4% Petit Verdot in the blend. This bright, aromatic, vivid wine opens with a bowlful of berries and cherries. There is plenty of acid under the ripe fruit, which takes center stage at the moment. The signifcant additon of Carmenere (from the Seven Hills Vineyard) adds black pepper to the engaging mix of flavors. Despite its youth, the flavors persist for a remarkably long finish. 96 points from The Wine Enthusiast.

Which 2006 Washington wine should I open?

  • 2006 Betz Family Winery Pere de Famille (45%, 38 Votes)
  • 2006 Leonetti Merlot (29%, 25 Votes)
  • 2006 Cayuse Camaspelo (26%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 85

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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 April installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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Betz Family Winery Spring 2013 Release Party

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 the Fall the Syrah-based wines. Located south of the School House district in Woodinville, Betz release parties draw such large crowds that Woodinville Fire and King County Sheriff employees are hired to direct traffic.

We attended the Spring release party this past Saturday, a stunning early Spring afternoon. Tasting and evaluating wine at release parties can be a challenge. You typically get small pours and have just a few minutes to formulate an opinion. That said the Betz lineup is better than ever.

Here are my initial impressions on the new releases:

2010 Betz Family Père de Famille – 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot. Almost black in color. Brooding red fruits. Layers of graphite, leather, chocolate, currant and cassis. The wine, though approachable now, finishes with a wall of tannins. This will age easily for at least a decade. $68 at the winery. My rating: 93 points.

2010 Clos de Betz – 58% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot. Purple in color. Lush and charming. Blackberries, cherry, anise, herbs and a hint of vanilla. The finish, once again, bodes well for a wine that will age for years to come. A super sexy wine that for the first time in recent memory overshadowed the Père de Famille. $55 at the winery. My rating: 95 points.

We had the opportunity to visit with Steve Griessel briefly and his passion for the winery is inspiring. He gave us a heads up that 30 cases of “true” Rosé will be released later in the Spring to local members of the mailing list. With such small quantities you’ll need to act fast!

Steve also shared that Bob has made a barrel of Port-style wine out of Washington Syrah. There are no definitive plans for this wine yet, but I’m certainly intrigued.

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. Both of these new releases are worth searching for.

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The Washington Wine Hall of Fame

I recently read an article about the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and the new inductees to the California Vintners Hall of Fame. Members of the Hall of Fame include iconic California winemakers like Joe Heitz, Robert Mondavi and George de Latour.

This made me wonder: Is there a Washington Vintners Hall of Fame? If so, who’s in it?

As it turns out there is a Legends of Washington Wine Hall of Fame, presented by the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center.

Past inductees include:

  • George Carter
  • Bill Preston
  • John & Ann Williams
  • Jim & Pat Holmes
  • David Lake
  • Stan Clarke
  • John Anderson
  • Bill Powers
  • Myles Anderson

Many of these names are familiar to me, including Lake, a longtime winemaker at Columbia Winery, and the Holmes’ who were pioneers on Red Mountain. I had to do a little research on some of the others.

The list of the California Vintners Hall of Fame literally reads like a Who’s Who of the history of California winemaking. The Washington list, although a good start, clearly misses some names that have been instrumental in placing Washington wine on the radar of collectors around the world. Nominees for the Legends of Washington Wine Hall of Fame need to have been involved in Washington wine and a state resident for at least 25 years.

I’d like to the make the case for some individuals I feel have helped shape the landscape of Washington wine:

  • Bob Betz – Bob and Cathy Betz founded Betz Family Winery in 1997. Prior to founding the winery
    Bob spent twenty-eight years at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates before retiring in 2003 to focus on the winery full-time. During his time at Ste. Michelle, he held a variety of positions, including Vice President of Winemaking Research at the time of his retirement. While Bob never served as winemaker, he was fully integrated into the winemaking and vineyard operations of the business. Bob is also a Master of Wine.
  • Dick Boushey – Dick Boushey, a cherry and apple grower first planted Boushey Vineyard with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in 1980—three years before the Yakima Valley was recognized as an American Viticultural Area. Dick was honored in 2002 by the Washington State Wine Commission as Washington’s “Grower of the Year” and in 2007 by Wine & Spirits as their “Grower of the Year.” He was one of the first Washington wine growers to plant Syrah, after Red Willow Vineyard, which was planted by David Lake,
  • Gary Figgins Leonetti Cellar was founded by Gary and Nancy Figgins in 1977 and was Walla Walla’s first commercial winery. Leonetti Cellar produced its first vintage in 1978. The 1978 Cabernet Sauvignon was entered into a competition and judged by Wine & Spirits magazine to be “the best Cabernet produced in America.” The accolades continue to this day with consistent high scores and frequent appearances on the annual top 100 lists including a number 4 ranking for the 1992 Merlot in the 1994 Wine Spectator Top 100.
  • Alex Golitzin – Alex and Jeanette Golitzin founded Quilceda Creek Vintners in 1978. Alex is the nephew of André Tchelistcheff, the legendary winemaker who put Beaulieu Vineyard at the forefront of Napa Valley Cabernet in the 1960s and ’70s. He credits summer trips to visit his uncle in St. Helena with developing his early interest in wine. Quilceda Creek Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon has earned some of the highest scores of any wine produced in the United States. The 2002, ’03, ’05 and ’07 vintages all scored 100-point ratings from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. The 2003 vintage of Quilceda Creek’s Cabernet Sauvignon was named the No. 2 Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator.
  • Rick Small – Rick Small and his wife, Darcey Fugman-Small founded Woodward Canyon Winery in 1981. Since that time, the winery has consistently produced premium, award-winning Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, Chardonnay and many other varietals. Woodward Canyon is a founding member of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance and of Walla Walla Valley Vinea, the Winegrower’s Sustainable Trust. The 1987 Cabernet Sauvignon placed number 10 in the 1990 version of the Wine Spectator Top 100.

Washington has become one of the premier wine growing regions in the world due in large part to these individuals. They deserve to be recognized as Legends of Washington Wine, and inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center.

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2005 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. Although the winery was recently sold to Steve and Bridget Griessel (with Bob Betz remaining on as the winemaker), I expect quality will remain high for years to come.

The 2005 La Côte Rousse is a Red Mountain blend consisting of 40% Ciel du Cheval Vineyard fruit and 60% Scott Williams’ Vineyard fruit.

Opaque purple in color. Not even a hint of bricking. Blackberries, blood and minerals on the nose. Dark fruits, iodine, game, leather, vanilla, stone and flowers wash across the palate. Grippy, concentrated and still somewhat tannic. The finish lingers for minutes. This is a big wine that could use another year or two in the cellar.

I expected an 8 year old bottle of Washington Syrah to be more resolved than this. The age old question for this particular wine is: Will the fruit outlast the tannins?

My rating: 91 points.

Current vintages are readily available at retail in the Seattle area and through the winery’s mailing list.

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2007 Betz Family Clos de Betz – 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. Although the winery was recently sold to Steve and Bridget Griessel (with Bob Betz remaining on as the winemaker), I expect quality will remain high for years to come.

The composition of the Clos de Betz varies from year to year. The 2007 is 62% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot. The fruit is 39% Red Mountain, 33% Horse Heaven Hills, and 28% Yakima Valley (Ciel du Cheval, Kiona vineyards, Alder Ridge, and Red Willow vineyards). The wine is dark purple, almost inky in color. Cherries, rhubarb, vanilla and a touch of oak on the nose. The palate is powerful and concentrated with flavors of dark fruits, espresso, licorice, cherries and mocha. The finish is long and leaves you wanting for more.

For a wine that is predominantly Merlot I fully expected it to be more approachable. As it turns out, the wine is still somewhat primary and will clearly benefit from more time in the cellar.

My rating: 91 points, with upside potential for a point or two in a few years.

The wine is readily available at retail in the Seattle area and through the winery’s mailing list.

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Betz Family Winery Fall 2012 Release Party

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. Although the winery was recently sold to Steve and Bridget Griessel (with Bob Betz remaining on as the winemaker), I expect quality will remain high for years to come.

Betz is open twice a year for the release of their wines: Spring welcomes their Bordeaux Blends, and the Fall for their Syrah-based wines. Located South of the School House district in Woodinville, Betz release parties draw such large crowds that Woodinville Fire and King County Sheriff employees are hired to direct traffic.

This Fall there were four wines released –  three 100% Syrah and the fourth a Chateauneuf du Pape-inspired Southern Rhone Blend.

2010 Betz Family Bésoleil – 65% Grenache, 18% Mourvedre, 11% Cinsault, 6% Syrah. Raspberries, kirsch, pepper and plums. Dusty tannins and a long finish. Getting closer to a “domestic CdP” but not quite there yet. I have a slight preference for the 09 Bésoleil. 91 points.

2010 Betz Family Syrah La Serenne – 100% Syrah from Boushey Vineyard. Savory, gamey, meat, olives, plums and raspberries. The most approachable in the trio of Syrahs. 91 points.

2010 Betz Family Syrah La Côte Patriarche – 100% Syrah from the Red Willow Vineyard. Red fruits, scorched earth, grilled meats, anise & smoke. 93 points.

2010 Betz Family Syrah La Côte Rousse – 100% Syrah. Ciel du Cheval and Ranch at the End of the Road Vineyards. Dense red fruits, smoke, ash, marinated meats, blood, iodine, band aid. The wine is just packed and needs a ton of time. This stole the show and even out-shined the La Côte Patriarche. 96 points.

Tasting and evaluating wine at release parties can be a challenge. You typically get small pours and have just a few minutes to formulate an opinion. That said the Betz lineup is better than ever. 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. Be warned though – it may disappear quickly after wine publications publish their scores.

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