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Library Vintages

A blend of the best elements of the new and the old worlds; wines of dimension and pleasure, wines that allow the character of Washington to shine through.

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2003 Clos de Betz, Bordeaux Blend

Merlot showed the influence of the warm 2003 weather more so than any other variety in our cellar, and at 58% of this blend it boldly states its case. I find that in warm vintages like 2003 Merlot develops an even deeper chocolate richness on top of its black cherry fruit. That's true for the 2003 Clos de Betz where a Merlot "chocolatiness" mingles with black cherry, plum and leather aromas. There's also a hint of camphor and Asian spice in the aroma.

At this point of development, the 2003 is a fuller bodied wine than past vintages. It's inky-crimson, tannic and powerful, with rich layers of black fruit. Yet there is a vibrancy and vigor to its balance. Part of this textural vitality is due to less Cabernet Sauvignon (30%) and Cabernet Franc (6%) in the blend than last vintage. Petit Verdot at 6% deepens the color and spine.

Earlier bottling also contributes to this liveliness. Over the years we've moved up the bottling date of these wines a few months to mid March, after 16 months in barrel. This length of time in French barriques provides ample opportunity to marry wine elements, soften tannins and add the subtle complexities of vanilla and creamy oak flavors, without robbing the vigor and lushness of the younger fruit notes. We've been pleased with the results: the wines seem truer to their blends, with more vivid fruit definition.

The 2003 is enjoyable right now, but easily capable of 5-8 years of additional evolution in the cellar.

Blending Detail and Aging Profile

Blending Detail:

  • 58% Merlot
  • 30% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 6% Cabernet Franc
  • 6% Petit Verdot


Aging Profile:

  • Best from 2003 through 2011
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F