2004 Clos de Betz
With the hot summer months of 2004 it would have been easy to over ripen Merlot, the foundation variety of Clos de Betz. We worked in the vineyard to achieve full flavor development but without the baked, prune notes that the variety can take on when left to hang too long. Our decision to harvest slightly earlier than past years paid off, yielding a wine with pure red/black fruit aromas and brilliant balance.
Certainly this Clos de Betz has all the black cherry, baking spice and leather notes of Merlot (60% of the blend), and they sing in harmony, not dominated by the dried fruit aromas possible in a hot vintage like 2004. Add to this foundation the complex character of the additional varieties that were blended in (23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petite Verdot and 4% Malbec) and the wine turns satisfyingly complex.
My November 2006 tasting notes reflect this balance: “Pure, penetrating aromas of cherry, raspberry, slight vanilla, baking spice, with an overwhelming sense of berry. A great sense of harmony; supple and fine.”
The 2004 vintage is a more “serious” wine than previous vintages, with a structure and length that will reward aging. Its weight and density develop in the glass, adding layers of berry fruit and supple, sweet tannin The same vineyard and cellar practices we use with the Cabernet Sauvignon went into making the Clos de Betz. Grapes varieties and the vineyard sources account for the difference in character and flavor between the two wines.
Blending Detail and Aging Profile
- 60% Merlot
- 23% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 7% Cabernet Franc
- 6% Petite Verdot
- 4% Malbec
Steve Tanzer, International Wine Cellar newsletter, also tasted this wine last summer just after bottling, awarding it his highest score ever for this wine, and wrote:
“92(+?) Bright, deep red. Musky, sweet aromas of dark cherry, roasted red berries, graphite, leather, roast coffee, herbs and treebark. Sweet, concentrated, very ripe and floral but showing less early opulence and more structure than recent vintages of this bottling. With aeration, though, this showed compelling sweetness and noteworthy depth. This builds impressively toward the back finishing with strong, juicy fruit; firm, fine-grained tannins; and excellent lift.”