News and Acclaim
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The Betz Team
February 26, 2013
The new Bordeaux-blend releases from Betz Family Winery
are nothing short of extraordinary, as good as anything the winery has done to date. There is a level of freshness as well as precision and separation of the different varieties in the glass that is nothing short of dazzling.....The 2010 Rhone variety releases also do not disappoint with the coolness of the vintage allowing the distinctiveness of each site to truly shine. Winemaker Bob Betz says of his three Syrahs, “Same cellar, same protocol, same barrels. What you get out of these is the uniqueness of the site and the uniqueness of the vintage.”
As much as all of the 2010 wines are pleasing to the palate, they are also pleasing to the eye with dark, gleaming hues. Written in my notes was ‘Color, color, color!’ “I do love color,” Betz says. “Color to me is an invitation to pleasure.” ...read more
January 17, 2013
TOP 100 WINES IN THE WEST
by Jon Bonné
2009 Betz Family Clos de Betz Columbia Valley Red
($52, 14.6%): Bob Betz's Cabernet is an extraordinary thing, but this Merlot-dominant blend (plus Cabernet and Petit Verdot) sourced from a range of Washington regions is a reminder of his brilliant abilities with a Right Bank model. Sappy, opulent fruit, with a manzanita-like accent and toasted spice. Structured and studious, but with generous, deep flavors.
January 17, 2013
David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate
2010 Pere de Famille
, Cabernet Sauvignon: 95pts
Diversely-sourced, and blended with 8% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot, the Betz 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille leads with classic aromatic expressions of its star player: cedar box, juniper berry, arbor vitae, cassis, blackberry, and dark tobacco, all of which reprise on a luscious, savory palate underlain by ultra-fine tannin and possessed of vibratory energy. The sheer abundance of primary juiciness here – like the energetic ping to its enervating, reverberative finish – strikes me as especially typical of the best marriages of cepage and terroir, which happens to be precisely what Betz is wistfully referring to as “something that happens with Cabernet in Washington.” Something indeed! I would go easy on this for a few years and look forward to at least a decade of high performance.
2010 Clos de Betz
, Cabernet Sauvignon: 93pts
Diversely-sourced – its Merlot blended with 35% Cabernet Sauvignon– the Betz 2010 Clos de Betz emphasizes black pepper, pungently resinous herbs, and arbor vitae, characteristics I imagine are in part a reflection of its 7% of Petit Verdot, that grape being demonstrably (I’m tempted to say notoriously ) efficacious. Cassis, huckleberry, and walnut offer bitter-edged but sappy fruit satisfaction; a crushed stone undertone adds a sense of intrigue; and mineral salts savory saliva-inducement in a gripping, palate-staining finish. This ought to be worth following for at least the better part of a decade.
January 17, 2013
2010 Betz Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille Columbia Valley - 94+ pts
(86% cabernet sauvignon, 6% petit verdot and 8% merlot): Bright red-ruby. High-pitched aromas of blackberry, redcurrant, dried mint and thyme. Densely packed, tactile and sweet but youthfully bound-up, with brisk acidity giving terrific cut and precision to the wine's dark fruit and spearmint flavors. Finishes with strong tannic spine and a terrific structure for aging. As young as this cabernet is, with its inner-mouth perfume it's showier today than the Clos de Betz. I'd wait at least five years on this one. Interestingly, Bob Betz told me that the latest pickers got prunes in 2010 waiting for their pHs to go up and acids to come down. "Still, October saved the vintage," he added. (The 2009 Pere de Famille, which I rated 93(+?) last year, had gained in fullness and pliancy with another year in bottle, and merited 94 points. But the 2010 should show an even more eventful evolution in bottle.)
(58% merlot, 35% cabernet sauvignon and 7% petit verdot): Bright, full red. Spicy high notes to the aromas of raspberry, graphite, sandalwood and cocoa powder. Juicy, perfumed and precise; not a fleshy style but elegant, vibrant and extremely young. Today the wine's mid-palate flavors and texture are still a bit suppressed by the bottling, but this long, firm-edged wine has the structure and inherent material to be outstanding. In fact, I retasted the 2009 next to it, and while that wine was silkier and plusher, it is not likely to match the 2010 for complexity a few years down the road.
August 03, 2012
Red Wine of the Year
Betz Family Winery 2009 Père de Famille cabernet sauvignon, Red Mountain, $65
Last year, Bob and Cathy Betz sold their winery, although Bob will continue to consult on winemaking. It seems fitting that this luscious “Father of the Family” red rose to the top in our blind tastings, because Bob truly has been a mentor for so many other Washington winemakers. The only wine he’s made every year since 1997, this wine tastes of old vines: The Cabernet Sauvignon (82 percent) comes from the 1973 block of Red Willow Vineyard with a bit of Petit Verdot (10 percent) and Merlot (8 percent) “for fleshiness.” The ultimate expression of Betz’s commitment to quality and integrity—and of his refusal to take shortcuts—this rich but balanced red shows aromas of cassis and smoke, sassafras and toast, with firm tannins balanced by ripe fruit for a seamless, lingering finish.
Red Bordeaux-style blend, all prices
Winner: Betz Family Winery 2009 Clos de Betz, Columbia Valley, $52
Paul Zitarelli, one of our tasters and owner of online SoDo-based retailer Full Pull Wines, praises this wine as “dynamite: a laser beam of pristine fruit swaddled in luscious coffee barrel notes. It’s suave and stylish, with class to spare.” It is also able to age, as the 2009 shows such ripe fruit and substantial tannins and acidity to hold for a decade or much more. And at about $50, it is a great buy—a world-class Washington wine for much less than wines similar in quality. Mostly Merlot (65 percent), this wine shows the lushness of the vintage, with Cabernet Sauvignon (29 percent) and Petit Verdot (6 percent) for structure and intensity. It may be hard to find, but worth the search.
August 03, 2012
Syrah over $20
Winner: Betz Family Winery 2009 La CÔte Rousse, Red Mountain, $55
This is a big, dark Syrah made from fruit from two Red Mountain vineyards, Ciel du Cheval and Ranch at the End of the Road, in one of the warmest vintages in recent history. A very cool spring in 2009 gave way to a searing July and August, ripening fruit early, but cool nights in September slowed things down, sealing in the sugars and ensuring balancing acidity. Good thing, too, as an October 11 freeze brought the vintage to a screeching halt. Luckily, Betz had harvested three days before—with a sigh of relief and excellent results. Big black fruit, sweet spice, smoke and a mushroomy note are alluring on the nose, with a lushness on the palate that highlights how complex Washington Syrah can be when handled well, especially by a superb—and charmed—winemaker, in a dramatic vintage.
Red Rhône-style wine, all prices
Winner: Betz Family Winery 2009 Besoleil, Columbia Valley, $45
Setting the bar high for Rhône-syle blends, winemaker Bob Betz and assistant winemaker Tyson Schiffner have made this year’s offering even more of a nod to Old World blends, with the addition of a bit of Cinsault (10 percent), as is the practice in the southern Rhône. This blend is still predominantly Grenache (66 percent), with its big blackberry and spice flavors, but the little-known French grape Cinsault brings freshness and softness to the wine; Syrah (14 percent) does its part, adding flowers, earth on the nose, and Mourvedre (10 percent) is all about color and intensity. With so many decisions to make along the way, Betz makes the right ones, and picking up this bottle to serve with a grilled lamb chop is an enlightened choice.
2013 Industry News
November 22, 2013
Tulalip, Washington — Sommelier Tom Thompson is pleased to announce the Taste of Tulalip’s 5th anniversary wine, a collaboration between honorary winemaker Bob Betz and the Tulalip wine team.
For the first time, Betz Family Winery crafted a distinctive signature wine from their best barrels for a specific event, and worked closely with Tulalip on the process. The commemorative blend will be introduced during the November 8, Friday night Celebration Dinner. This annual 2-day Taste focuses on the enjoyment of food, wine and tradition.
“This blend is a collaboration between two individuals who embrace a true passion for excellence. Bob Betz and Tommy Thompson have a mutual interest for creating an unparalleled wine from Washington’s best grapes, which can be experienced in every sip of this 5th Anniversary wine,” says Lisa Severn, Food and Beverage Director.
Tulalip’s one-of-a-kind anniversary blend is composed of 75% Bordeaux varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon dominant) and 25% Syrah. These grapes were sourced from Washington state’s top AVA vineyards: Red Mountain (52%), Yakima Valley (33%), and Horse Heaven Hills (15%). This wine was matured in 100% French oak barrels (with 80% in new oak), for 16 months. “We are very pleased with this new blend featuring penetrating Cabernet Sauvignon aromatics — yet a supple mouthfeel from Syrah,” says Betz.
Bob Betz, founder, patriarch and guiding light of Betz Family Winery, began his pursuit of winemaking in the early 1970s. He and wife Cathy crisscrossed European vineyards, to better understand the why and how of crafting fine wine. Bob holds the degree of Master of Wine (MW), a designation awarded by the Institute of Masters of Wine in London. His philosophy is pretty simple: focus on what the vineyards have provided, and start with the highest quality fruit you can find. Treat it vigorously when necessary, gently most of the time, and stay out of its way, but watch it closely. Then allow the wines to develop slowly, and make sure they provide exceptional pleasure.
The Art — Les Deux Frères (Two Brothers in French)
The 5th Anniversary artwork, which appears on the bottle of this year’s special blend, is reflective of a well-known Tulalip legend. According to the Tribe’s story-tellers, long ago at Priest Point, there were two brothers who were famous seal hunters. Due to family trouble, the brothers left to live in the ocean and became Killer Whales. One year, there were unusually harsh fall and winter storms as well as temperature changes and the people could not follow tradition by storing food away. By spring, when the early salmon run started, they thought their hunger was at an end. However, hordes of seals invaded the local waters, chasing and devouring the salmon before any could be caught. It was then that “The Two Brothers” were remembered. The people called out to them for help, recalling that they had been experts at food gathering. Hearing their cry, the Killer Whales (Two Brothers) arrived and caught every seal, saving the people from starvation and preserving the salmon run for coming generations.
Jason Gobin has been creating Coast Salish artworks since he was a young boy. As the honored artist for the 5th annual Taste of Tulalip, Gobin has created a special anniversary piece. This signature creation will be showcased throughout the weekend and will be engraved on the anniversary wine bottle. Many of his works, inspired by Tribal history are on display at the Tulalip Resort Casino, Stevens Pass Ski Resort and numerous installations around the Pacific Northwest. With a deep appreciation for nature, Jason can be found working as the Forestry Manager for Tulalip while caring for the Tribes Timber Resources on the 11,000 acre reservation. Caretaker for the Tribes’ traditional dugout canoe, he is also the Vice Chairman for the Tulalip Fish & Wildlife Commission and a commercial fisherman.
The 5th annual Taste of Tulalip takes place November 8 and 9. For Grand Taste tickets, go to www.tasteoftulalip.com or www.ticketmaster.com
About Tulalip Resort Casino
Award winning Tulalip Resort Casino is the most distinctive gaming, dining, meeting, entertainment and shopping destination in Washington State. The AAA Four Diamond resort’s world class amenities have ensured its place on the Condé Nast Traveler Gold and Traveler Top 100 Resorts lists, as well as Preferred Hotel & Resorts membership. The property includes 192,000 square feet of gaming excitement; a luxury hotel featuring 370 guest rooms and suites; 30,000 square feet of premier meeting, convention and wedding space; the full-service T Spa; and 6 dining venues, including the AAA Four Diamond Tulalip Bay Restaurant. It also showcases the intimate Canoes Cabaret; a 3,000-seat amphitheater. Nearby, find the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve, Cabela’s; and Seattle Premium Outlets, featuring more than 110 name brand retail discount shops. The Resort Casino is conveniently located between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. just off Interstate-5 at exit 200. It is an enterprise of the Tulalip Tribes. For reservations please call (866) 716-7162.
January 17, 2013
The no-family dilemma
If children aren’t interested in taking over the family farm, you need a succession plan.
You’ve invested your life in building a vineyard, winery, or other agricultural enterprise, producing a high-quality product with a topnotch reputation. For some, the business can be left to children to continue the family legacy. But what if you don’t have children interested in the family farm or winery? read article ...