Southern Rhone Style Blend
“Closer and closer every vintage.” That’s what we say about Bésoleil as it approaches the style of its model, Chateauneuf du Pape, that Southern Rhone gem that captures the heart with charm. Not as powerful as Bordeaux reds, not as mysterious as Burgundy, and not nearly as dark as its Northern Rhone brethren from Cote Rotie or Hermitage, CNDP, for short, brings immediate sensory pleasure yet has the stuffing to be intellectually challenging. That’s our goal for Bésoleil.
And the 2010 comes closer yet. Since 2003, our first vintage of Bésoleil, Grenache has been the dominant grape variety, its sweet, vibrant black raspberry forming the foundation flavor and aroma. Every year since we’ve been able to source small amounts of high quality classic Southern Rhone varieties typically used for CNDP. Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah now all play their part in creating the aromatic layering and palate impression. The 2010 vintage comes closest yet: the concentrated black raspberry is expanded by notes of cream, white pepper, lavender blossom and a toasted earth. Silky and full on entry, the mid palate expands while still remaining plump and supple. And with the cooler vintage characteristics, this vintage will continue to create nuance for another 5-8 years.
Blending Detail and Aging Profile
- 65 % Grenache
- 18% Mourvedre
- 11% Cinsault
- 6% Syrah
- Serve cool, 60-62°F.
- Best from 2013 through 2018
AVA & Vineyard Detail:
- 69% Yakima Valley
- 20% Snipes Mountain
- 11% Red Mountain
Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 93
Bright red. Captivating nose offers strawberry, animal fur, garrigue, black and white pepper and flowers. Wonderfully aromatic and smooth in the mouth, with excellent sappy lift to the raspberry and cherry flavors complicated by wild herbs and pepper. Finishes structured and long, with suave, slowly building tannins. Very Old World in style (and specifically southern French) but with distinctly Washington red fruit flavors. This was the first year Bob Betz added cinsault to the blend, and that variety has certainly added another element of red fruit perfume.
David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate, 91
Representing the sole Betz bottling to incorporate Grenache (here 67%) and inaugurated in 2003, the 2010 Besoleil incorporates also 18% Mourvedre, 11% Cinsault, and 6% Syrah, its sources ranging from the western Yakima across Snipes Mountain to Red Mountain; and was matured for a year in once-used barriques. A tart-edged expression of strawberry and rhubarb preserves is laced with white pepper as well as lemon and orange rind, which contribute delightfully to the sense of invigoration conveyed by this infectiously juicy, polished blend. I suspect that this will show well for at least another half dozen years.