2002 Clos de Betz, Bordeaux Blend
We shifted the Clos de Betz vineyard and variety mix a bit in 2002, and increased its hedonistic personality. There's more Merlot (57%) than the past two vintages, and it shows in the plum, black cherry and bittersweet chocolate notes in both aroma and flavor.
Also, we replaced the Walla Walla Merlot that we used to have with older vine Merlot from the Ciel du Cheval Vineyard on Red Mountain. We were able to carve out an entire acre of 1974 planted vines from this classic vineyard. These 30 year old vines are producing Merlot as fine as any in America: complex, rich and silky. Over the past few decades I've come to appreciate the contribution older vines can make to wine quality, especially when grown under the eye of veteran Jim Holmes of Ciel du Cheval.
Cabernet Franc also plays a more notable role in this blend than in the past. At 10% it adds blueberry notes, and an earthy, dried strawberry character Cabernet Sauvignon (33%) is not so evident in aroma but plays a definite role in mouthfeel. The result is a wine that enters as Merlot and exits like Cabernet. It's soft, supple and fleshy up front, with a silky mid palate. But the finish shows power and length, a full lingering finale, evidence that this has some real cellaring potential. Yet even now it's very satisfying, with layers of complex fruit, saddle leather and earth.