News and Acclaim

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The Betz Team

Bob Givng an overview on Harvest 2012

Recent Acclaim Industry News Video

2016 Acclaim

January 04, 2016

Stephen Tanzer 

2013 La Côte Rousse, Syrah- 94+ Points:
Bright dark ruby to the rim. Lovely precise aromas of boysenberry, violet, licorice, bitter chocolate, brown spices and roasted meat. A serious spine of acidity and tannins gives a penetrating quality and superb vinosity to the very intense dark berry and violet flavors. Finishes with big tongue-dusting tannins and outstanding purple-fruit intensity. Still quite youthfully imploded and built for a long life in bottle.- Stephen Tanzer

2013 La Côte Patriarche, Syrah- 94 Points:
Deep, dark glass-coating ruby to the rim. Outstanding purity to the aromas of blackberry and violet face powder; I might have picked this blind as a top Côte-Rôtie. Wonderfully plush and concentrated, conveying superb inner-mouth perfume to its flavors of dark berries, spices and flowers. Finishes with big but sweet, spicy tannins and lovely aromatic persistence. From high-altitude, pre-flood soils.-Stephen Tanzer 

2013 Père de Famille, Cabernet Sauvignon- 93+ Points: 
Dark ruby. Aromas and flavors of blackcurrant, minerals, violet and bitter chocolate. A wine of outstanding finesse, showing great cut and lift but also a wonderfully supple texture. (Bob Betz feels that the effect of the Pulsair treatment is clear in this wine's dimension and weight on the palate.) Finishes with utterly refined, nearly invisible tannins But this wine is still quite backward and will need serious cellaring to fully express itself.-Stephen Tanzer 

2013 Clos de Betz, Bordeaux Blend- 93 Points:
Bright medium ruby. Aromas and flavors of kirsch, black raspberry and molten dark chocolate. Plush, round and voluptuous without communicating any undue weight. Boasts lovely energy and finesse. Best today on the subtle, rising finish. -Stephen Tanzer 

2013 La Serenne, Syrah- 92+ Points:
Bright medium ruby. Knockout nose combines black raspberry, garrigue and violet, plus a faint gamey quality; conveys an impression of restrained wildness. Densely packed and thick but still a bit reduced, with flavors of purple fruits, licorice, bitter chocolate, mocha and game complicated by a note of Brazil nuts. Quite backward on the finish and in need of at least a couple years of patience. Like La Cote Patriarchis e, this wine is entirely from Phelps clones. But these shy-bearing vines were picked much later than the other two Syrahs here as they're planted in a cooler site.- Stephen Tanzer 

2013 Bésoleil, Southern Rhone Blend- 92 Points:
Good dark red. Musky if slightly subdued aromas of redcurrant, raspberry, plum and coffee, with earthy and floral notes adding complexity. Wonderfully smoky and sweet on the palate, offering a plush, seamless texture and noteworthy density to the red fruit and meaty oak flavors. Still a bit reduced and firmly tannic on the aftertaste. Betz noted that he's moving steadily away from new oak.- Stephen Tanzer

2013 Cuvée Frangin, Red Blend- 90 Points:
Healthy red-ruby. Cool aromas and flavors of kirsch, bitter chocolate, espresso, menthol, graphite and brown spices. Not especially thick or fleshy but juicy and brisk. I'd give this wine a year for its acids and tannins to fully harmonize but this is a bottling for relatively early consumption. Finishes with a strong torrefaction quality. Betz notes that the Cuvee Frangin is the winery's largest bottling, adding that "all the others have shrunk. And we still bulk out additional wine that does not make this blend. -Stephen Tanzer

2015 Acclaim

November 17, 2015

 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

"These latest releases from Betz Family Winery are flat out great, and as I said last year, the 2012s are the greatest wines I've tasted from this estate. While the winery was sold to the Griessel family in 2011, Bob Betz has remained firmly involved and there's certainly been no dip whatsoever in quality; if anything, the wines show another level of texture, purity and structure. While assistant winemaker Tyson Schiffner has moved from making wine to brewing beer, he's been replaced by Louis Skinner, who was the assistant winemaker at Delille for a number of years. In short, readers who want to see the best of Washington State need to check out these latest releases!"- Jeb Dunnuck 

2013 Clos de Betz, Bordeaux Blend (93-95) Points 
Inky colored, it has terrific and classic notes of plums, black raspberry, violets, espresso and scorched earth to go with full-bodied richness, lots of fruit and mid-palate depth, and an overriding sense of elegance and purity that carries through the finish. I wrote "classic" about three time in the note, and this is a beautiful 2013 that will cruise for 15 years or more in the cellar.

2013 Pére de Famille, Cabernet Sauvignon (92-94) Points

Full-bodied, sexy, yet still focused and pure style to go with pretty and expressive notes of red plums, cassis, black raspberries, violets, graphite and spring flowers. It has a great finish and sweet tannin, and while it has plenty of fruit, I suspect it will firm up once in bottle and require short-term cellaring.

July 29, 2015

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

2012 Le Parrain, Cabernet Sauvignon 99 Points:
A wine that flirts with perfection, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon le Perrain consists of 9 barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon, all from Red Mountain (Ciel du Cheval, Kiona and Heart of the Hill vineyards), that spent 20 months in 100% new French oak. Only made twice since 1997, it offers an extraordinary bouquet of cassis, lead pencil shavings, liquid violets and crushed rock. This gives way to a full-bodied, layered, elegant, yet massively concentrated wine that never puts of foot wrong, is always perfectly balanced and has incredible purity of fruit. Tasting like a first growth Bordeaux from a great vintage, it will need a decade of cellaring and keep for a quarter of a century. Hats off to the team here for this stunner!- Jeb Dunnuck 

July 07, 2015


"These latest releases from Betz Family Winery are flat out great, and as I said last year, the 2012s are the greatest wines I've tasted from this estate. While the winery was sold to the Griessel family in 2011, Bob Betz has remained firmly involved and there's certainly been no dip whatsoever in quality; if anything, the wines show another level of texture, purity and structure. While assistant winemaker Tyson Schiffner has moved from making wine to brewing beer, he's been replaced by Louis Skinner, who was the assistant winemaker at Delille for a number of years. In short, readers who want to see the best of Washington State need to check out these latest releases!"- Jeb Dunnuck

2013 Cuvée Frangin, Washington Blend 91 Points:

The 2013 Cuvee Frangin is a terrific value that gives lots of Betz character in its ripe blackberry fruit, violets, wild herb and underbrush aromas and flavors. Medium to full-bodied, elegant and downright pretty, it's delicious now, but should evolve gracefully as well. 

2013 Besoleil, Grenache 92 Points:
It's an elegant, medium to full-bodied, Provencal-styled effort that has lots of sweet red and black fruits, garrigue and hints of cured meats. It's a total charmer that will have 10-12 years of overall longevity. – Jeb Dunnuck

2013 La Côte Patriarche, Syrah 97 Points:
Impenetrable inky colored (even by Betz's standards), the 2013 La Cote Patriarche is another blockbuster from this team, and probably the greatest Syrah I've tasted from them. Coming all from the Red Willow vineyard and some of the oldest Syrah vines planted in Washington, it has seriously intense blackberry, wet gravel, licorice and smoked meat aromas and flavors to go with a full-bodied, massive, rich and concentrated style on the palate. A tour de force in Washington State Syrah, it will have 20 years or more of overall longevity.

2013 La Côte Rousse, Syrah 95+ Points:
Exhibiting lots of blackberry, black raspberry, graphite, smoke and crushed rock, it's beautifully concentrated, has top-notch purity of fruit and a great finish. I love its mid-palate density, and while it has a lot of tannins, they're nicely integrated into the body of the wine. Give it 2-3 years in the cellar and enjoy bottles through 2033. It should be one of the longest-lived Syrahs in the vintage.

2013 La Serenne Syrah 94 Points:
Scheduled to be released this fall,it has intense, yet fresh and lively notes of violets, spring flowers, cracked pepper, iron and sweet black and blue fruits. Full-bodied, pretty, lively and nicely focused, give it a year or two and enjoy bottles through 2028.

June 10, 2015

2012 Pére de Famille, Cabernet Sauvignon- 95 pts: Editors' Choice
Columbia Valley

2012 Clos de Betz, Bordeaux-style Red Blend- 94pts: Editors' Choice
Columbia Valley

2014 Acclaim

December 03, 2014

Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate

2012 La Cote Rousse, Syrah - 95pts

Possessing full-bodied richness, beautiful concentration, high, yet sweet tannin, and a terrific finish, this awesome Syrah will be at its best from 2017-2027.While these wines always have considerable structure and focused profiles, these 2012s have an extra dimension of depth and texture, and should not be missed!

2012 La Cote Patriarche, Syrah - 96pts

Produced from the Red Willow Vineyard and mostly from the oldest Syrah vines planted in Washington. Inky purple in color, with mineral-laced blackberry, cassis, crushed flowers, smoked earth and licorice, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness and depth, a seamless texture and overriding sense of elegance that carries through the finish.

2012 La Serenne, Syrah - 96 pts

The 2012 Syrah La Serenne is 100% Syrah aged in 50% new French oak prior to bottling. I think the greatest vintage of this cuvee to date, it boasts an incredibly inky purple color to go with notions of crème de cassis, damp earth, graphite, smoke, and licorice that flow to a full bodied, voluptuously textured profile on the palate. Despite all the richness, it stays thrillingly focused and shows the purity and elegance of the site.

2012 Besoleil, Grenache - 94pts

A Rhone- styled blend, the 2012 Besoleil is made from 50% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 15% Syrah and 15% Mourvedre that's aged in neutral oak. Gorgeous on all accounts, it has fantastic density and depth, with medium to full-bodied richness, beautiful freshness and classic Grenache-driven aromas and flavors of Provence and flowers. Already hard to resist, it should evolve gracefully for over a decade.

2012 Cuvee Frangin - 91pts
The 2012 Cuvee Frangin is a new cuvee that’s playing in the
value-end of the spectrum, and it does a damn good job of it. A blend of 36% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Syrah and the balance Petit Verdot that spent a year in 20-25% new French oak, it offers knockout aromas and flavors of plum, tobacco leaf, dried herbs, and spice to go with a medium to full- bodied, supple and downright sexy profile on the palate. Up-front and ready to go, it will nevertheless have close to a decade of longevity and is a perfect intro into the style of this estate. It also represents a superb value.

2012 Clos de Betz 95pts 

Tasted as a barrel sample and Betz's take on a right bank Bordeaux, the 2012 Clos de Betz is 67% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance Petit Verdot. Inky-purple in color (has anyone seen a Betz wine not inky purple?), it offers impressive cassis, plum liqueur, spring flowers and underbrush-style aromas and flavors to go with a mouth filling, layered and voluptuous style on the palate. I love the mid-palate here, and the tannin builds through the finish, so, while it should have plenty of up front appeal it should also evolve for 15+ years.

2012 Pere de Famille, Cabernet Sauvignon 95+pts

More Cabernet dominated, the 2012 Pere de Famille incorporates 6% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot. This knockout effort has masculine, earthy notes of black currants; smoke, graphite, crushed rock and dusty soil to go with a full-bodied, powerful and focused feel on the palate.

December 03, 2014


2012 Betz Family Vineyards La Cote Patriarche, Syrah - 92+pts

Bright, deep medium ruby. Musky, feral aromas of blackberry, violet, licorice pastille, wild herbs, and fruity black peppercorn. Tight, high-pitched and penetrating, even un-giving today, with powerful blueberry and blackberry flavors accented by black pepper.

2012 Betz Family Vineyard La Cote Rousse, Syrah - 93+pts

Subtle, slightly candied red berry and floral aromas convey a distinctly savory quality plus a suggestion of nutty oak. Then distinctly soil-driven in the mouth with red raspberry and spice flavors joined by a saline quality and a strong impression of granitic minerality. And yet, this wine boasts excellent energy, the tannins are serious, but broad and ripe and the finish is sweet and long.

2012 Betz Family Vineyard La Serenne, Syrah - 93pts

Wonderfully floral aromas of cassis, dark chocolate, game, violet, and lavender. Juicy, savory and sharply delineated, delivering terrific energy to its inviting black fruit and violet flavors. This wine too, shows lovely ripe acidity for the vintage-no surprise as this is a cool site. Finishes classically dry, lightly saline and very long.

2012 Betz Family Winery Besoleil - 92+pts

A blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 15% Mourvedre and 15% Syrah. Musky, brooding nose offers deep black fruit and pomegranate aromas complicated by smoke and game elements that carry through onto the palate. Boasts urgent dark fruit intensity with outstanding retention of acidity for this ripe year. This serious , densely packed wine shows a strong old-viney Grenache sweetness. Very sexy wine with a long aftertaste.

2012 Betz Family Cuvee Frangin- 90pts

Good dark red. Red fruits and flowers on the claret-like nose. Shows more Syrah influence in its texture, offering ripe acidity and good spice lift to the dark berry flavors. A bit of Counoise adds juiciness. This bright, spicy wine delivers the Betz touch at a gentle price.

January 04, 2014

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 2011 Betz Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille Columbia Valley - 94+ pts

Good bright red-ruby. Musky red berries, licorice, thyme, rosemary and pepper on the scented nose. Creamy-sweet, suave and deep but at the same time precise and youthful, offering lovely perfumed flavors of red berries, cocoa powder (from the Taransaud oak?) and anise. Very intensely flavored cabernet with terrific lift and aromatic persistence and remarkably suave, dusty tannins. Betz describes 2011 as a year with lower total polyphenols, higher acidity and lower pHs than 2010.

2011 Betz Family Vineyards Clos de Betz Red Wine Columbia Valley - 93 pts

(67% merlot, 28% cabernet sauvignon and 5% petit verdot; aged in 65% new oak): Good bright, deep red. Redcurrant, cocoa powder and musky tobacco on the nose. Gentle and creamy in the mouth for 2011, with harmonious ripe acidity framing the sweet red berry, cherry and cocoa powder flavors. This floral merlot-based wine is supported by firm acids and tannins but comes across as quite feminine in style. Betz notes that 2011 was a very good year for merlot.

January 04, 2014

 Robert Parker

Jeb Dunnuk, Wine Advocate

2011 Pere de Famille, Cabernet Sauvignon: 93-95pts (barrel tasting)

As with the 2011 Clos de Betz, the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille is a softer, more approachable version of its 2010 counterpart. A Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated blend, it offers up a pretty, perfumed bouquet of jammy raspberry, cassis, tobacco and assorted floral nuances to go with a full-bodied, seamless and elegant profile on the palate. Where the 2010 will require cellar time to become civilized, this should be reasonably approachable on release; nevertheless, it should evolve gracefully given its overall balance and purity.

2011 Clos de Betz, Cabernet Sauvignon: 92pts (barrel tasting)

Looking at the Bordeaux-styled releases from barrel, the 2011 Clos de Betz is the estate’s take on a right bank Bordeaux and will be a blend of roughly 63% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot. Lacking the weight of the 2010, it is a softly textured, elegant effort that has notions of flowers, black fruit, pepper and incense to go with a medium to full-bodied, balanced mouthfeel. Already reasonably approachable, it will be interesting to see how this shows from bottle; if it puts on weight, the score and drink window will be conservative.  

2014 Industry News

December 19, 2014

 Great NW Wine

Betz Family Estate Vineyard

December 16, 2014 By Andy Perdue

One of Washington’s most storied wineries is planting its first estate vineyard – and it will be in the southern Walla Walla Valley.

Betz Family Winery, launched in 1997 by Master of Wine Bob Betz, has purchased land in SeVein, a young vineyard region near Milton-Freewater, Ore., that already is producing grapes for some of the world’s finest red wines.
“It’s the next logical step for Betz Family Winery,” said Steve Griessel, who purchased the winery with his wife, Bridgit, from Bob and Cathy Betz in 2011. “It’s the natural progression that Bob and Cathy had in their minds.”

Bob Betz got into the wine industry when he took a job with Chateau Ste. Michelle in January 1976. He and his wife launched Betz Family Winery in 1997 in a Woodinville warehouse. After retiring from Ste. Michelle in 2003, he focused all of his attention on the winery, ultimately building a winemaking facility near Chateau Ste. Michelle. Betz remains the head winemaker for his namesake winery and will continue to serve in that role for at least the next two years.

Betz told Great Northwest Wine that he and Cathy made a conscious decision in their early days to focus on building a winery for Betz Family Winery rather than planting a vineyard.

“We saw that for what we needed to do, investing our nest egg into a winery was the best thing for us,” he said. “I have enormous respect for everyone who is growing grapes for us. They are terrific growers and will continue to be for us.”

Read More:

Releated Articles:
Wines & Vines By Peter Mitham, December 16th, 2014
Puget Sound Business Journal By Patty Payne , December 18th, 2014
Woodinviille Wine Update By Shona Milne, December 17th, 2014
March 06, 2014



March 6, 2014 By 
While a relatively young winery, founded only in 1997, Betz quickly joined the upper echelon of producers in Washington State. Propelled by the enthusiasm and experience of Bob Betz, who had spent nearly three decades with Chateau Ste. Michelle prior to founding Betz, the winery emerged as a leader particularly with their Bordeaux styled blends. The wines stand out as Washington styled if for no other reason than their Appellation. Columbia Valley is on the label because Bob draws from the top vineyards throughout the state blending varietals from the finest vineyard to create wines that truly are greater than the sum of their parts.

In 2011 Bob and Cathy Betz sold the Betz Family Winery to Steve and Bridgit Griessel with Bob agreeing to remain on as winemaker for a five year period. Seeing as they are now releasing the first set of wines that were made in the post-Betz ownership period I thought it would be a fine time to pay a visit and see what has changed. It seems very little has in fact changed and these remain among the very finest wines in both Washington State and the world. Hard to find, but worth tracking down if you can these continue to be stunningly fine, powerful, and refined wines.

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