Library Vintages

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2013 Bordeaux-Styled Wines

After the cooler vintages of 2010 and 2011, Washington is back to the more typical trend of warmth in 2012 and 2013. Bud break arrived in early April in many areas across the state, a sign that harvest would likely arrive earlier than usuall. Flowering took place anywhere from one week to four weeks early, and in very good conditions. The result was a large crop that could be thinned out to only keep the very best clusters.

The heat stayed constant through the summer months, with just a little cooling over a couple days in July when we experienced a small amount of rainfall. As September arrived, and we began to pick grapes, a cooling trend slowed things down in the second week of September.  Some have called 2013 the tale of two harvests, referring to the period before and after the cooling trend. In 2013, the combination of above average heat, and cool night time temperatures resulted in rich textures combined with the life preserving acidity we value so much for freshness.
  Cuvée Frangin, Blend   Dolce Mio Figlio Père de Famille, Cabernet Sauvignon Clos de Betz, Bordeaux Blend

 2013 Cuvée Frangin, Blend

"Our little brothers blend"

2013 marks the second vintage of our newest wine in the Betz Family line up, Cuvée Frangin. The concept originally came to life in 2012 during our annual blending trials. The perennial question was raised “how do we push quality further? Looking at our efforts in the vineyard and cellar, the decision was made to perform an even stricter selection process of barrels that would make it into our flaship wines. If effect, we raised the bar for quality and character needed to make it into our final blends. At the same time, we utilized barrels that had historically found a home in our premium wines, to create Cuvée Frangin.

This year’s Cuvée Frangin offers a strong introduction to the 2013 vintage. Cut from the same cloth as our flagship wines, the Cuvée Frangin shares the vibrant fruit, silky texture, and sense of freshness that has us all excited about the vintage.

A greater amount of Cabernet Sauvignon was available to us at the blending table in 2013, which is immediately noticeable in the aromatics; Red currants, raspberries, and blackberries all compete for your attention, while more subtle notes of cedar spice and crushed herbs are expressed with time in the glass.

The palate offers plush fruit flavors, and this is where the Rhone varietals show their presence. Flavors of plum, pomegranate, and strawberry are supported by crisp acidity, and velvety tannins. The palate is deep and layered, but above all showing the mouthwatering structure of the’13 vintage. The finish is sweet, and reflects the marriage of Bordeaux and Rhone varietals.

The Cuvée Frangin is certainly capable of improving with bottle age, but is irresistible now.

Click here to download a PDF Version of the Tasting Notes


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
Blending Detail:
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Petit Verdot
  • Merlot
  • Syrah

Aging Profile:

  • Best Now through 2019
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
AVA or Vineyard Detail
The wine is a blend of Bordeaux varieties and Syrah sourced from some of the most famous vineyards in the Columbia Valley, includung Ciel du Cheval, Kiona and Klipsun on Red Mountain, Red Willow, Du Brul, Boushey and Olsen in Yakima Valley, Alder Ridge in the Horse Heaven Hills and Upland on Snipes Mountain. 
Acclaim
91 Points: Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Syrah and aged 15 months in 30% new French oak, 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.

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!

 2013 Dolce Mio Figlio

With each and every vintage, we keep our eyes open for opportunities to present themselves in the vineyard and the cellar. In 2013, Dick Boushey's lower yakima valley Syrah experienced a long hang time, and late harvest date, yielding deeply colored berries. Temptation turned into a plan to craft, for the second vintage in a row, Dolce Mio Figlio.

Following our success with the 2012 Dolce Mio Figlio, the same traditional "Port" methodology was utilized in the cellar : frequent and vigorous "punch downs" to extract the greatest flavor and color over a few short days, addition of neutral grape spirits to "arrest" the alcohol fermentation before even half of the natural grape sugars have been consumed by yeast, and finally a to the basket press for a "firm" pressing into barrel.

The character of the 2013 Dolce Mio Figlio is as singular and unique as the winemaking process itself. Two full years of aging in a single 300 liter barrel have yielded a deep ruby hue, and warm wood spices. The aromatics offer up spicy fruit flavors of blueberry, plum, and pomegranite. Dense fruit flavors on the palate lean toward mulled cherry, red currant, plum, and fig. The freshness of the vintage shines through, and supports the plush, ripe character of this wine. As with our inaugural vintage, the 2013 Dolce Mio Figlio offers plenty of charm for near term drinking, but will certainly reward ample time in the cellar.

Click here to download a PDF Version of the Tasting Notes



Blending Detail and Aging Profile
 Blending Detail: 
  • 100% Syrah 
Barrel Program:
  • 300L used French Oak

Aging Profile:
  • Drink: 2016-2024+
AVA or Vineyard Detail
 Vineyard Detail:
  • 100% Boushey Vineyard
Acclaim
 

2013 Père de Famille, Cabernet Sauvignon

In reviewing the 2013 vintage, it became clear to us that this years’ Père de Famille benefitted noticeably from what we describe as “The Tale of Two Vintages”. Following a warm growing season with an early start, the weather cooled down in mid September allowing additional hang time for our classic Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot (4% of the blend).The Merlot vineyards destined for Père de Famille enjoyed steady warm weather from bud break, through verasion, and into an early September harvest. They showed all the density, richness, and generosity one would expect from such a warm season, (the warmest since 2003) with extra dimensions of aromatic complexity that has come to exemplify the 2013 vintage.

Just as we finished picking the Merlot blocks, the weather cooled down. This cooling slowed down the ripening for Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot: the extra time on the vine brought complexity and character to both varieties. The cooler weather also preserved the vital acidity of the grape and freshness in the wines, while allowing the tannin to ripen further. The result is a wonderfully integrated mouth feel, layers of fruit, with tension and dramatic length.

The high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon (89%) gives the 2013 Père de Famille a vibrant, ruby-purple hue. The breadth of aromatics is exciting, expressed as red currant, blackberry blossom, crushed herbs, and leather, with creamy bay leaf, thyme and star anise notes. The palate is dense and penetrating, offers an elegant, vibrant structure, with a finish that reflects red fruits and spice. This vintage of Père de Famille is quite unique, with the readiness of a warm vintage, but the aromatics and aging ability of a cool growing season.

Click here to download a PDF Version of the Tasting Notes


Blending Detail and Aging Profile

Blending Detail:
  • 89% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 7% Merlot
  • 4% Petit Verdot
Barrel Program:
  • 100% New French Oak Barrels

 Aging Profile:
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
  • Drink: 2016- 2025+
AVA or Vineyard Detail
 
Acclaim
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Barrel Sample: (92-94)

"More approachable than the 2012, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Pére de Famille has a 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."

Click here to read Historical Acclaim 

2013 Clos de Betz, Bordeaux Blend

If the story of Washington’s vineyards in 2013 was focused on the “Tale of Two Harvests” (early September harvest of Merlot and later harvest of Cabernet Sauvignon), the story in the cellar revolved around the exceptional quality of our Merlot blocks: from our coolest sites in the Yakima Valley, to our warmest blocks on Red Mountain, the resulting merlot wines show density, vibrant fruit flavors, and sweet tannins.
While Père de Famille highlights the later picking dates of this year’s Cabernet Sauvignon, this year’s Clos de Betz reflects the uninterrupted warmth and earlier harvest that Merlot enjoyed in 2013. Merlot showed a “completeness” in 2013 that can be hard to achieve every year from a single variety.

In the glass, the 2013 Clos de Betz displays a deep ruby hue, but the real excitement begins with the aromatics: black cherry, damson plum, and cocoa bean lead the charge, while leather, tobacco, sage, and truffle all show up with time in the glass. The palate offers merlot’s weight and density, yet faithfully expresses the freshness and detail of the vintage. This is further enhanced by the highest percentage ever of Petit Verdot in this blend (20%): dried thyme and pencil lead nuances add stunning complexity. This vintage of Clos de Betz reminds me of a classic, warmer, Right Bank wine, with both readiness and structure, and notable cellaring capacity.

Click here to download a PDF Version of the Tasting Notes


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
 Barrel Program:
  • 100% New French Oak 

 Aging Profile
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
  • Drink from 2016-2024+
AVA or Vineyard Detail
 
Acclaim
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Barrel Sample (93-95)

"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." 

Click here to read Historical Acclaim


2013 Rhone-Inspired Wines


After the cooler vintages of 2010 and 2011, Washington is back to the more typical trend of warmth in 2012 and 2013. Bud break arrived in early April in many areas across the state, a sign that harvest would likely arrive earlier than usual. Flowering took place anywhere from one week to four week early, and in very good conditions. The result was a large cropThat could be thinned out to only keep the very best clusters.

The heat stayed constant through the summer months, with just a little cooling over a couple days in July when we experienced a small amount of rainfall.  As September arrived, and we began to pick grapes, a cooling trend slowed things down in the second week of September.Some have called 2013 the tale of two harvests, referring to the period before and after the cooling trend. In 2013, the combination of above average heat, and cool night time temperatures resulted in rich textures combined with the life preserving acidity we value so much for freshness.
  Bésoleil   La Serenne La Côte Patriarche   La Côte Rousse  2012 Le Parrain 

 2013 Bésoleil

Grenache speaks loudly in the Bésoleil with notes of pomegranate, red raspberry, and strawberry leaf. The Counoise and Cinsualt bring bing cherry fruit and blueberry notes to the table, complicated by pepper and garrique. Mourvedre donates a wild meatiness to the blend, and a purple hue. Syrah rounds things out, adding texture, and flesh to the palate.

Click here to download a PDF Version of the Tasting Notes



Blending Detail and Aging Profile
Blending Detail:
  • 49 % Grenache
  • 20% Syrah
  • 16% Cinsault
  • 9% Mourvêdre
  • 6% Counoise
 
Aging Profile:
  • Best from 2016 through 2022+
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
AVA or Vineyard Detail
AVA & Vineyard Detail: 
  • Columbia Valley 
Acclaim
Robert Parker's WIne Advocate 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 Serenne

Situated in the Lower Yakima Valley, just North East of Grandview, Boushey Vineyard is our “coolest” site for Syrah.This means potentially more hang time to develop complex game and spice notes for the grape.Our La Serenne typically expresses the “wild” side of Syrah, and 2013 was no exception.Wild Blueberry, Damson plums, purple snap dragons, and lilacs are all present.While its common for La Serenne to be closed down aromatically and brooding at this age, in 2013 the wine shows more generous flavors, and a refined texture already.Of our 3 single site Syrah’s, look for Boushey to offer the most pleasure early on.

Click here to download a PDF Version of the Tasting Notes


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
Blending Detail: 
  • 100% Syrah

Aging Profile:
  • Best from 2017 through 2024+
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
AVA or Vineyard Detail
AVA & Vineyard Detail:  
  • Yakima Valley
Acclaim
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 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.

2013 La Côte Patriarche

Red Willow vineyard is the most westerly vineyard Betz Family sources fruit from in Washington.Situated southwest of Yakima, the site is so distinctive, and isolated from the rest the state, it could be seen as its own AVA. Red Willow has a long, storied history of wine quality. David Lake and Mike Sauer had the foresight in 1986 to plant the states first Syrah vines on the treacherously steep slopes of what is known today as the “Chapel Block” Today we reap the benefits of their work. How does one describe La Côte Patriarche? Deep, layered, structured, with the ability to evolve and open with time in the glass.Blackberry, blueberry, and black cherry fruits mingle with spice notes of sage and crushed herbs. Black olive and lavender are unleashed with time in the glass La Côte Patriarche may just be the longest lived Syrah we craft.

Click here to download a PDF Version of the Tasting Notes


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
 Blending Detail:
  • 100% Syrah 

Aging Profile:
  • Best from 2016 through 2025+
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
AVA or Vineyard Detail
AVA & Vineyard Detail:
  • 100% Red Willow Vineyard, west end of the Yakima Valley 
Acclaim
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 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.- Jeb Dunnuck

 2013 La Côte Rousse

Red Mountain is the Source of our “biggest” Syrah, which is often described as Brooding, structured, and inky.La Cote Rousse is not necessarily made from a single vineyard, instead hailing from 2 different vineyards adjacent to each other in the very heart of red mountain. But this wine may be our strongest case for the uniqueness of site expression in Washington Syrah.

The non fruit aromas are strong here: Smoke, roasted meat, dusty gravel, and bacon fat all ride above the fruit. Blackberry and black cherry come through in waves.The wine is full bodied, with a palate impression of great power.The elegance of the 2013 vintage has endowed La Côte Rousse with an unusual combination of power and refinement.

Click here to download a PDF Version of the Tasting Notes


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
Blending Detail:
  • 100% Syrah
  • Clones: 99,383,174

Aging Profile:
  • Best from 2017 through 2024+
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
AVA or Vineyard Detail
 AVA & Vineyard Detail:
  •  Ceil du Cheval, Red Mountain 
Acclaim
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 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.

 2012 Le Parrain 

Our 2012 Le Parrain is a historic wine. Yes, we made it once before in our 18 harvests, in 2005, but never have we created a blend that’s quite like this. We reserve the name Le Parrain (“The Godfather”) for a wine that achieves an extraordinary expression of Washington’s Bordeaux varieties. The 2012 vintage is unique in its blend and origin. Never before have we produced a wine that is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and 100% from Red Mountain. But that’s what we did for the 1012 Le Parrain: the vintage, vineyards and variety impeccably merged for this 9 barrel blend.

The result is a stunning example of Washington Cabernet. Black red in the glass, all the way to a vibrant magenta edge. Descriptors of its powerfully sweet aroma needs a page of their own: black currants, minerals, crushed rock, dried herbs, Asian spice and India ink, underlain with barrel scents of vanilla, toast and creamy talc. The mouthfeel is complete and compelling: rich, dense yet balanced. The purity of Cabernet fruit beams through with crème de cassis, cedar, anise and bay leaf. But it’s the texture that compels, so Cabernet-ish but without excess astringency. Its phenolic “package” is complete and poised.

Click here to download a PDF Version of the Tasting Notes


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
 Blending Detail: 
  • 100% Cabernet Sauvignon 

 Aging Profile:
  • Best from 2025- 2050
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
AVA or Vineyard Detail
 AVA & Vineyard Detail: 
  • 100% Red Mountain 
  • Ceil du Cheval, Kiona, and Heart of the Hill
Acclaim
99 POINTS
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate


"A wine that flirts with perfection, 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 a 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
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