Library Vintages

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2008 Bordeaux-Inspired Blends

We love this vintage for its rich aromatic complexity, approachability, and the breadth of the fruit on the palate. Like all vintages, 2008 had its challenges, but after 5-6 months in barrel the wines opened gloriously, becoming supple and very expressive. Quantity of these two wines was short by about 15% in 2008: cool spring temperatures in the vineyards set less fruit, with fewer grapes on each cluster. Density and richness were the results.

Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille Clos de Betz

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille

2008 Pere de Famille
There’s little doubt about this wine’s varietal heritage; Cabernet Sauvignon’s typical black currant, mulberry and black cherry dominate the nose. Petit Verdot plays a strong supporting role, at a full 10% of the blend, bringing a classic, Bordeaux-esque complexity, with anise, Asian spice, mineral and cigar box aromas. A toasty vanilla sweetness hints at the 16 months in 100% French oak barrels aging. 

The 2008 shines on the palate, with a silken entry and mid-palate, a texture that’s more like the 2006 vintage with its approachability and suppleness. Don’t get the wrong impression as there’s an immense amount of Red Mountain tannin that will carry this a decade or two in the cellar. It finishes complete, lively and compelling.


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot
16 months in 100% French oak barrels aging, 65% new, 35% one fill
AVA or Vineyard Detail
70% Red Mountain, 23% Horse Heaven Hills, 7% Yakima Valley
Acclaim
From Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate: “96 points …Betz’s attention to detail is legendary… glass-coating opaque purple color, … an expressive perfume of sandalwood, mineral, truffle, espresso, incense, violets, and blackberry. Suave on the palate with well-integrated fine-grained tannins, this sweetly-fruited, dense, layered offering will benefit from 6-8 years of cellaring, with a drinking window from 2016 to 2038.”

From Steven Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar: 
“… 94(+?) points. Deep, silky and compellingly sweet, … extremely long aftertaste… superb cabernet … a stunning core of sappy fruit, with a licorice note from a bit of petit verdot that gives it a Pauillac-like character … The finishing breadth and spreading tannins are spectacular…”

2008 Clos de Betz

 2008 Clos de Betz
Washington Merlot shines in a vintage like 2008; the cooler, more moderate temperatures favor the development of sweet black cherry, plum and its signature chocolate/coffee note. I’m struck by the dimension and suppleness of the mouthfeel. 

This is what St. Emilion and Pomerol aspire to: rich black fruit, a knockout entry, plump mid-palate and long elegant finish. Along the way, mineral, spice, wet stones, licorice and dried herbs mingle to create a complex, and satisfying, flavor range.   Fleshy, ripe fruits linger but the wine still dances with vitality; the higher percentage of Merlot, mostly from our Red Mountain vineyards, had plenty to do with the stunning impression the 2008 vintage.


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
68% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot
16 months in 100% French oak barrels aging, 65% new, 35% one fill
AVA or Vineyard Detail
45% Red Mountain, 28% Horse Heaven Hills, 27% Yakima Valley
Acclaim
From Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate: “…95 points…. glass-coating opaque purple color, … an expressive nose of pain grille, graphite, Asian spices, a hint of balsamic, black currant, and blackberry. On the palate it admirably combines elegance with power. It has superb concentration, incipient complexity, layers of fruit, and a lengthy finish. Give it 6-8 years of additional cellaring and then drink it through its 25th birthday.”

From
Steven Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar: “93 points. … Dark berries, licorice, bitter chocolate and graphite on the nose and palate. Densely packed but showing superb energy and lift to the flavors of dark berries, cocoa powder and violet. There's nothing rustic about these classy wines. Finishes with terrific clarity and lively minerality.”

2008 Rhone-Inspired Wines

We were reminded in 2008 that Mother Nature can be a fickle dance partner. We had to learn a few new quick-steps, adjusting to unexpected moves in the early days of the vintage, and a minor scare in September.

The year started with a cool spring, delaying development and setting things behind a week or more. By mid-summer we had warmed to typical levels, with a couple heat spikes, and were back on schedule. Overall it was a cooler vintage, but as we approached the end of August a strong system moved into place: warm days, followed by night temperatures 35-40° F lower than the daytime highs: enough sun and heat to build sugar and flavor but cooler temperatures at night to preserve structure. We picked our first fruit September 15, just 2 days behind 2007.

However, the alarms sounded the night of Monday September 22, as temperatures hit 35° F, and dipped dangerously close to freezing just before sunrise Tuesday. Fortunately temperatures weren’t low enough to damage vines or fruit, but many of us slept poorly Monday night. The weather improved and held throughout harvest; Washington seldom disappoints and 2008 turned out classic.
Besoleil Syrah La Serenne Syrah La Cote Rousse Syrah La Cote Patriarche

2008 Besoleil

2008 Besoleil
This is the deepest colored and densest Grenache-based wine we have made, very much in the style of our classic southern Rhone inspiration. We dropped yields on a couple blocks of Grenache this vintage to about ½ ton/acre. The low yields gave us some heady, deep and powerful blending material. On its own it seemed unbalanced, but combined with our other Grenache blocks and a little Syrah and Mourvedre, 9% each, we preserved the fruit intensity of Grenache but achieved a fine equilibrium on the palate.

Bésoleil 2008 is very dark ruby, with a dense core and a hint of magenta on the edge. It sports an expressive aroma of sweet, penetrating black raspberry and strawberry, with layers of cream, lavender, thyme and licorice. It has a fuller palate impression than past years, with a bit more grip to help it age in the cellar.

Serve cool, 58-62°F. Best from 2011 thru 2016.



Blending Detail and Aging Profile
82% Grenache, 9% Syrah, 9% Mourvedre

100% French oak, 100% 1 fill
AVA or Vineyard Detail
Ciel du Cheval, Olsen, Alder Ridge Vineyards

2008 Syrah La Serenne

2008 La Serenne
The Syrah berries for this wine were 15% smaller than in 2007, an early clue that the final wine would be rich and concentrated.  With ten years of data/experience farming these same rows at the Boushey Vineyard we were able to focus in the cellar to optimize color, density and depth from the smaller berries.

And the wine shows it in its black purple color, all the way to the edge, penetrating aroma and depth of favor. And like the previous years, La Serenne shows the same sauvage (wild) character that Syrah from a cooler site can take on: blackberry and black cherry are accented by anise, rocks, spice and leather. It’s dense and yet supple, with the usual La Serenne seamlessness, and has a lift that keeps it bright and sailing through to the finish.


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
100% Syrah

12 months 100% French Oak barrels, 50% new oak, 50% one fill
AVA or Vineyard Detail
100% Boushey Vineyard (Yakima Valley)

2008 Syrah La Cote Rousse

2008 La Cote Rousse
Red Mountain vineyards once again put their signature on this wine. Despite the blend of four clones from two vineyards, 2008 La Côte Rousse ultimately is strongly influenced by its origin. The firm palate grip, slower evolution of tannins and great breadth ultimately distinguishes this from our other Syrahs, and those characteristics are because of its Red Mountain origins.

This year’s blend is nearly equal portions of the two vineyards so it meshes the sinewy complexity of Ciel du Cheval with the sweet pure fruit of Kiona Vineyards. The result is a black red core with a deep edge. Blackberry, earth and licorice dominate the aroma, while a penetrating meaty, blue/black fruit note dominates the flavor. It has the typical La Côte Rousse dimension and with its additional tannin should cellar for years to come.

Serve cool, 60-62°F. Best from 2012 through 2018.


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
100% Syrah

12 months 100% French Oak barrels, 50% new oak, 50% one fill
AVA or Vineyard Detail
Ciel du Cheval, Kiona Vineyard (Red Mountain)

2008 Syrah La Cote Patriarche

2008 La Cote Patriarche
So many factors combine to make this wine extraordinary.  The old block Syrah (oldest in Washington), the steep slope due south to uninhibited sunshine, the pre-Missoula Flood sandstone soil, and the precision and care in the vineyard by the Sauer Family at Red Willow Vineyard come together to form a unique Syrah expression.

With 2008 we realized we could treat the small, thick skinned berries more aggressively in the cellar, pulling out even more “stuffing” than we did with 2007. This is the blackest and most opaque of our Syrahs in 2008. It’s thick and broad, a massive combination of blackberry, blueberry, earth, meat and leather aromas. Same on the palate, yet with a plump, mouth-filling suppleness. This is the one to cellar long term, if you can keep your hands off it.

Serve cool, 60-62°F.  Best from 2012 through ???


Blending Detail and Aging Profile
100% Syrah

12 months 100% French Oak barrels, 50% new oak, 50% one fill
AVA or Vineyard Detail
100% Red Willow Vineyard (Yakima Valley)
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