Library Vintages

2012   |   2011   |   2010   |   2009   |   2008   |   2007   |   2006   |   2005   |   2004   |   2003   |   2002   |   2001   |   2000   |   1999   |   1998   |   1997

2012 Bordeaux-Inspired Wines

The 2012 Vintage---Finally

After two years of challenging harvests, the Columbia Valley was finally blessed with an easy one.  Not only easy, but stunning.  Yes, we love the 2010s and 2011s, but getting to the end result was challenging because of cooler-than-normal growing season temperatures, but 2012 was brilliant right from the start.  A moderate spring and gently building summer heat to a hot August ensured above average heat accumulation for the year.  This was followed by a long gentle autumn creating predictable and satisfying results.  The wines are generous, pure and expressive, reminding me of the fleshiness of the 1998s and the clarity of the 2007s.  These 2012 Rhone-inspired wines are among the best yet from our cellar.

Cuvée Frangin Clos de Betz, Bordeaux Blend Père de Famille, Cabernet Sauvignon Dolce Mio Figlio

2012 Cuvée Frangin

We decided to tighten up our already-strict selection criteria even more and raise the hurdle for any barrel to make it into the final blends of our flagship wines: Père de Famille and Clos de Betz, our three Syrahs and Bésoleil. The new standards have reduced the amount of these wines and provide the ability to take overall quality to the next level. Barrels that don’t make it into our flagship wines have been blended to make Cuvée Frangin; barrels that don’t meet these new rigorous criteria are sold off as usual.

The results are exciting, uniting the classic varieties that we’ve made and matured side by side every vintage. Our new Washington red blend, Cuvée Frangin (koo-vay frahn-jhan), unites the aromatic complexity and structure of our Bordeaux varieties with the supple mouthfeel of Syrah. The individual wines in the blend have long been separate parts of our family portfolio, and now they weave together seamlessly, providing a compelling richness and balance.

We crafted Cuvée Frangin in a more approachable style using multiple varieties, less new oak, and an overall gentler approach. It is designed to be enjoyed younger but will age for several years.

Click here to download a PDF version of the tasting notes




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

Barrel Program:
  • 100% French oak barrels
  • 20% new/80% one fill, for 12 months

Aging Profile:
  • Best Now through 2018
  • 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.

2012 Clos de Betz, Bordeaux Blend

The 2012 Clos de Betz opens with the “wow” color of the vintage: an inky black red core with a striking magenta edge, reflecting the deep sense of ripeness achieved that year.  This concentration of color introduces a profound aromatic impression, a breadth of black cherry, black
currant and plums; its Washington Merlot foundations shining through.  A litany of supporting notes then kicks in to create the real charm of this wine: bay leaf, anise, crushed wet stones, flowers and vanilla cream construct a stunning aromatic impression.

Merlot’s dominance in the blend takes center stage on the mid-palate, with a deep, textural fullness.  It’s the weight of this wine which impresses most, with a depth and breadth that envelop the palate and linger for a long finish. Vibrant black and red fruits abound, while Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot that complete the blend add anise, bay leaf and underbrush to the palate.  Because of the vintage the wine shows attractive up-front development, but don’t be too hasty: a long cellar life awaits.

Click Here to download a PDF version of the 2012 Clos de Betz Tasting Notes
Click Here to download ALL the 2012 Bordeaux Tasting Notes


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
Blending Detail:
  • 67% Merlot
  • 27% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 6% Petit Verdot

Barrel Program:
  • 100% French oak barrels
  • 65% new, 35% one fill, for 16 months

Acclaim
Wine Enthusiast: 94pts

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: 93-95pts (barrel tasting)


"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." Jeb Dunnuck



2012 Père de Famille, Cabernet Sauvignon

This initial question raised by this vintage of Père de Famille is how this wine, with such a depth of color, texture and weight of the New World retains its aromatic complexity and balance of the Old World.  The answer isn’t precise, but is a reflection of a remarkable Columbia Valley vintage, plus small changes in maturation and the varietal concentration of the final blend.  Its inky purple color, muscular structure and plush texture all point to its New World origins.  But the
aromas of pure, layered black fruits, graphite, crushed rock and lavender (think St. Julien?) lead me back to the Old World. 

The 2012 Père de Famille has the highest level (90%) of Cabernet Sauvignon that we’ve ever used in this wine.  Add to that the high concentration of Red Mountain grapes (84%), deep and structured, and it yields a wine as generous as any Cabernet we’ve made.  It showed such density in barrel that we added three months barrel aging to resolve the tannins and body.  It’s weighty and yet balanced, fleshy yet fine grained, powerful yet polished.  And unabashedly
Cabernet Sauvignon, with its black currants, anise/thyme, savory mouth feel and dusty finish.  Its dimension and
precision indicate long aging ability, but you might be
tempted far earlier.

Click here to download a PDF version of the 2012 Père de Famille tasting notes
Click Here to download ALL the 2012 Bordeaux Tasting Notes



Blending Detail and Aging Profile
Blending Detail:
  • 90% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 6% Merlot
  • 4% Petit Verdot

Barrel Program:
  • 100% French oak barrels
  • 65% new 35% one fill, for 16 months

AVA or Vineyard Detail
Vinyard Detail:
  • 85% Red Mountain
Acclaim
Wine Enthusiast: 95pts 

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: 93-95pts (barrel tasting)

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. -Jeb Dunnuck

2012 Dolce Mio Figlio

Since our first harvest of 1997 every wine we’ve made has been a dry red table wine; even those few rosés were dark, sturdy and dry enough to qualify for that description. Enter the newest member of the Betz Family portfolio: Dolce Mio Figlio, a sweet port-like dessert wine.

So much has been written already about the splendid 2012 vintage in Washington, one of my personal top five harvests in the past 40 years. In addition to great fruit across the board, the vintage provided a chance to branch out with some spicy, special Syrah. The Syrah from Dick Boushey’s Vineyard in mid-Yakima Valley (we’ve farmed the same block since 2000) was extraordinary, deeply colored, and thick skinned and jammed with spicy black fruit character, just the sort of material that begged for toying with.

We took a small portion of that fruit and made a sweet wine using a centuries-old method of fortifying fermenting juice to create a “vin doux naturel”, a “naturally sweet wine”. Banyuls, Rivesaltes, Beaumes de Venise and the most famous of the genre, Port, are vin doux naturel.

Grapes destined for vin doux naturel begin life as other red wines do: sorted, crushed and skins/juice/seeds combined in fermenters. Shortly after fermentation begins, 2-4 days in and after 30-40% of the sugar had been consumed by yeast, we added a precisely calculated amount of neutral grape spirits. This immediately raised the alcohol level of the must to 19-20%, killed the yeast and stopped fermentation. This also protected the remaining sugar from further fermentation and preserved the rich intensity of fresh fruit. By that point the wine had turned fabulously spiced and purple black having absorbed all the flavor and pigment from the grapes. After gentle pressing the wine was matured for two years in a single neutral French oak barrel (there’s not much of it!) and recently bottled.

We’re thrilled with the result, a dense, rich, jam packed dessert wine based on Washington Syrah, with so many of the characteristics of Port: black-purple color, a heady, intense aroma, balanced sweetness, a range of spices and black fruits, and that a structure that lingers long and vivid.

We kept our “family” tradition alive when we named it, this time applying an affectionate Italian name, Dolce Mio Figlio, “My Sweet Son”. Available in 500 mls bottles only, it’s one of those dessert wines that is impossible to keep your hands off of, but will evolve in the cellar for years to come.

Click here to download a PDF version of the 2012 Dolce Mio Figlio tasting notes



2012 Rhone-Inspired Wines

The 2012 Vintage---Finally

After two years of challenging harvests, the Columbia Valley was finally blessed with an easy one.  Not only easy, but stunning.  Yes, we love the 2010s and 2011s, but getting to the end result was challenging because of cooler-than-normal growing season temperatures, but 2012 was brilliant right from the start.  A moderate spring and gently building summer heat to a hot August ensured above average heat accumulation for the year.  This was followed by a long gentle autumn creating predictable and satisfying results.  The wines are generous, pure and expressive, reminding me of the fleshiness of the 1998s and the clarity of the 2007s.  These 2012 Rhone-inspired wines are among the best yet from our cellar.

Syrah La Serenne Syrah La Côte Rousse Syrah La Côte Patriarche Bésoleil

2012 Syrah La Serenne

Syrah La Serenne’s character in 2012 reinforces the loose axiom: cooler sites produce their finest wines in warm vintages; think of Mosel Rieslings or Cote Rotie Syrahs, both cooler than other nearby appellations, and how they shine in warm vintages.  So too with the higher altitude, cooler-temperature Boushey Vineyard, for 13 vintages the sole source for La Serenne.  The vineyard made great use of the warm late July and August, yielding small berries with thick skins, providing extraordinary density and richness.  Supple and fleshy are hallmarks of this vineyard in any vintage, butin 2012 pack on more textural breadth, and add more of Syrah’s  wildness, a meaty, spicy, earthy nuance.  It’s inky black, with dark plums, creamy black fruits, generous smoke and anise, and yet it still retains its cool site vitality.  Don’t be deceived by its supple tannins and juicy approachability: this is one that will live a long life in the cellar.



Blending Detail and Aging Profile
Blending Detail:
  • 100% Syrah
  • Boushey Vineyard, mid Yakima Valley

Aging Profile:
  • Best from 2016 through 2023+
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
AVA or Vineyard Detail
Vineyard Detail:
  • 100% Syrah
  • Boushey Vineyard, mid Yakima Valley
Acclaim
Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate, 96

".. As for the Syrah-driven wines, they do two main cuvees, one focusing on Boushey Vineyard, the La Serenne, and the other on Red Mountain, the La Cote Rousse. The 2012 Syrah La Serenne is a 100% Syrah that was 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 creme de cassis, damp earth, graphite, smoke and licorice that flow to a full-bodied, voluptuously textured profile on the palate. Despite all of the richness, it stays thrillingly focused and shows the purity and elegance of the site. Enjoy it anytime over the coming 10-15 years."

 

2012 Syrah La Côte Rousse

We get to play a lot (read “challenging”) with Syrah La Côte Rousse at the blending table. In the months following harvest we taste through the barrels of four different Syrah clones from four distinct blocks, all within a stone’s throw of each other on Red Mountain. Each clone gives its unique signature to the mix, contributing various shades of texture, color, aroma or taste. This diverse blending material ultimately gives a more complex wine, especially from a “terroir –dominant” region like Red Mountain. The 2012 comes across with classic Red Mountain signature: a powerful, dense nucleus of black fruits, supported by layered complexity of violet, dusty gravel, leafy underbrush, spice and black olive. The palate is bold, vigorous and persistent, jammed with blackberry, black plum and spice. It’s the sturdiest of our three 2012 syrahs, most demanding of cellaring; its concentration and sheer power will easily support a decade or two in your cellar.


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

Aging Profile:
  • Best from 2016 through 2023+
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
AVA or Vineyard Detail
Vinyard Detail:
  • 65% Ciel du Cheval, Red Mountain
  • 35% Ranch at the End of the Road, Red Mountain
Acclaim
Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate, 95

More mineral-driven, with savory spices, dried earth and floral notes balanced by a rocking core of fruit, the 2012 Syrah La Cote Rousse is more backwards and reticent than the La Serenne, and will need short-term cellaring to unwind. 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.

2012 Syrah La Côte Patriarche

This old block of Syrah at Red Willow Vineyard (Washington State’s oldest) provides amazing “dark” consistency regardless of the year’s growing conditions. We always net a black/purple wine, rich texture and subtle power, but the brooding profile in 2012 is another step up. It’s the darkest color of our three syrahs (no small feat), its darkness all encompassing: aroma, flavor and texture are consistently “black”. Sweet blackberry, plum, spicy pepper and smoke lead the aromatics, with a bit of wild roasted meat. Despite the sheer volume of fruit, there’s a charming presence of subtle blueberry, crushed dried herbs, roasted grain. The palate is huge, concentrated yet with fine grain tannins. This seeming dichotomy of size and yet delicacy must be soil driven: the ancient, pre-Missoula Flood soils provide a challenging, low fertility medium for the vines and, to this observer, deliver finesse and elegance to the wine. Hard to resist now, tuck this away as well; long cellaring will reward with increased complexity.


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
Blending Detail:
  • 100% Syrah from the Red Willow Vineyard, west end of the Yakima Valley

Aging Profile:
  • Best from 2015 through 2024+    
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
AVA or Vineyard Detail
Vinyard Detail:
  • 100% Syrah from the Red Willow Vineyard, west end of the Yakima Valley
Acclaim
Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate,  96

A cuvee that’s not produced in every vintage, the 2012 Cote Patriarche comes all 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 an overriding sense of elegance that carries through the finish. Knockout stuff, it too will have 15+ years of longevity.

2012 Bésoleil

Washington southern Rhone varieties continue their winning streak, proving to excel in cool and hot vintages. Fans of this Southern Rhone-inspired wine will note that there’s no Counoise in the 2012 blend as there has been in recent vintages; that variety ripened fine, but they lacked the penetrating character needed to complement the final wine. The Mourvedre fraction (15%) stepped right up to fill its place, its deep, brooding and sweet ink character carrying through in the wine, making the 2012 deeper, more structured yet finely layered. Grenache (50%) still dominates the blend, with its creamy black raspberry, wild dried strawberry, dried herbs and floral notes. Cinsault (20%) fills in with its dusty blue notes, and Yakima Valley Syrah (15%) provides more backbone. This is a Bésoleil for the cellar, dense and full, and a few years of aging will expand its Chateauneuf-like appeal.


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
Blending Detail:
  • 50 % Grenache
  • 20% Cinsault
  • 15% Mourvedre
  • 15% Syrah

Aging Profile:
  • Best from 2015 through 2021+    
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
AVA or Vineyard Detail
Vineyard Sources:
  • 75% Yakima Valley
  • 15% Red Mountain
  • 10% Snipes Mountain
Acclaim
Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate, 94

A Rhone-styled blend, the 2012 Besoleil is made from 50% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 15% Syrah and 15% Mourvedre that’s aged all 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 raspberry, black raspberry, pepper, herbs de Provence and flowers. Already hard to resist, it should evolve gracefully for over a decade.
© 2015 Betz Family Winery. All rights reserved.   425 861.9823  |  info@betzfamilywinery.com
Betz Family Winery Facebook   Betz Family Winery Twitter   Betz Family Winery Vimeo  |  Home  |  Site Map  |  Privacy Policy  |  Site Credits