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2006 Bordeaux-Styled Wines

Cabernet Sauvignon Père de Famille Clos de Betz

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Père de Famille

Cabernet Sauvignon Père de Famille
Achieving a final blend for any of our wines takes me months; trial blends, barrel by barrel, are made “in the lab”, assessed and recorded. Starting with a blank slate for each blend helps keep things focused on the completeness of flavor, mouthfeel, complexity and balance. We were somewhat surprised when the final blend for the 2006 Père de Famille was almost identical to the 2005, within 0.5% for any of the four varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec.

The blend yielded a wine of serious proportion, lush and silky structure, and a complex tangle of fruit, spice and wood notes. There’s a deep core of black currant, with plum and black cherry beneath, then the sweet pipe tobacco, black olive and sandalwood set in. It’s full bodied, with a fundamental grip of tannin for longevity (79% of the fruit comes from Red Mountain), but a lifted and plush texture (composed of equal parts from the Horse Heaven Hills and Yakima Valley).


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec
AVA or Vineyard Detail
79% Red Mountain, 10.5% Horse Heaven Hills, 10.5% Yakima Valley
Acclaim
The Wine Advocate (Parker) reviewed the 2006 about 3 months after bottling and had this to say:
“…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…” 95 points

2006 Clos de Betz

Clos de Betz
During the months of barrel aging and evolution we began referring to the 2006 Clos de Betz as the “black hole” wine, somewhat for its color, but more for the character of its fruit: black, blue and a little red. Black cherry, kirsch, blueberry, plum, espresso and bitter chocolate. With barrel aging it took on an added creaminess to soften a massive mouthfeel, yet it retains a vibrant, intense personality.

The reason, we think, is in not “dumbing down” the Merlot fraction (47% of the blend) to just a smooth, pleasant quaffer. By focusing on low yields, careful fermentation and maturation techniques and not over-oaking, Merlot can achieve a deep pure fruit expression. Blending with selected barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec created a complex, complete wine, with a depth and power beyond previous vintages. Perhaps we like calling it the “black hole” wine because of the way it draws us in and doesn’t let go.


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
47% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec
AVA or Vineyard Detail
41% Horse Heaven Hills, 31% Yakima Valley, 28% Red Mountain
Acclaim
Wine Advocate (Parker) also reviewed the Clos de Betz at the same time:
“…Purple/black in color, it reveals a fragrant nose of pain grille, pencil lead, scorched earth, black cherry, blackberry, and plum. This leads to a smooth-textured, intense, layered wine with superb depth and concentration…” 93 points

2006 Rhone-Inspired Wines

Coming on the heels of Washington’s great 2005s most of us raised an eyebrow about the 2006 vintage. Could it compete? While the two years saw different weather and growing season patterns the 2006 reds are equal or superior to 2005s. Different of course: at this point the 2006s are juicier and have a purer fruit expression. The 2005s are slightly sturdier and may cellar for a couple extra years, but for sheer hedonism the 2006s have it.
Besoleil Syrah La Serenne Syrah La Côte Rousse

2006 Besoleil

Besoleil
For those who loved the penetrating fruit of the first wine in this series, 2006 is your vintage. It returns to sheer Grenache dominance, evident in the nose and flavor, and certainly in its persistent finish. The blend ended up at just over 75% Grenache, half from Alder Ridge Vineyard in the Horse Heavens (a Grenache Noir clone) and half from Ciel du Cheval on Red Mountain. The remaining 25% is split equally between Ciel du Cheval Mourvedre and Boushey Vineyard Syrah. The aroma is all candy shop---penetrating black raspberry, sweet strawberry and spice. Black pepper and a slight touch of roasted meat complete the profile. While it dances smartly on the palate with the vitality that Grenache brings to the blend, its structure and weight defy its Grenache dominance.


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
75% Grenache, 25% Syrah

Acclaim
From Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, June 30, 2008:
"...a splendid bouquet of garrigue, black cherry, and spice box. It offers a silky texture, layered sweet fruit, great concentration, and a 60-second finish..."  93 points

2006 Syrah La Serenne

Syrah La Serenne
Syrah La Serenne is the only one of our wines that clearly reflects a single clone of one variety from a single vineyard. So its style and character take the same direction every year. And the dominant “marker” for this terroir-driven wine is texture: this Syrah from Dick Boushey’s mid Yakima Valley vineyard has a seamlessness that none of our other wines have: it enters plush and stays that way through to the finish. Its rich black berry and black cherry aroma is enhanced by notes of smoked meat, cream and roasted earth. Black cherry, licorice and pepper flavors dominate the palate, with glimpses of tobacco, smoke and wood. Despite its supple texture La Serenne has the stuffing to cellar for many years.


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
100% Syrah

Acclaim
From Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, June 30, 2008:
"... enticing aromas of mineral, earth, crushed stone, pepper, and blueberry jam. This is followed by a massive but seamless wine with superb blue fruit and blackberry preserve flavors..."  94 points

2006 Syrah La Côte Rousse

Syrah La Côte Rousse
While made from a single variety, Syrah La Côte Rousse represents the “yang” to La Serenne’s “yin”. It’s made from four different clones from two different vineyards, Ciel du Cheval and Scott Williams. This mix of sites and clones endows it with a layered complexity and extraordinary dimension. Yet it’s the overall appellation that ultimately drives this wine: exclusively from Red Mountain fruit, La Côte Rousse reflects the power and muscle of this warmer site. Black red in the glass, and deeply scented with black fruits, spice, black pepper, minerals and smoked meats, it presents a full spectrum of aromatic and palate impressions. While more powerful, this is the most integrated vintage yet of La Côte Rousse, with a juicy sweetness and suppleness.


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
100% Syrah

Acclaim
From Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, June 30, 2008:
"... bacon, sausage, spice box, smoke, pepper, and tar reminiscent of a Guigal La Landonne. Dense, layered, and opulent..."  95 points
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