2010 Père de Famille,
A wine of unexpected dimension and pleasure, similar in fruit expression to some of the respected hillside Napa versions of Cabernet, where their altitude plays the cooling influence of our overall cooler season. A densely saturated vibrant black/red color leads to a nose of pure black currants, at once inky yet penetrating. Studded with notes of dried thyme, anise and pipe tobacco, the aroma emerges as pure Cabernet. The entry is plump, supple and refined, enriched by blending with small amounts of Petite Verdot and Merlot.
My consistent notes across months of tasting state, “…perfect balance”, where Cabernet’s power is matched by finesse and fruit. The palate is full and round, and not dumbed-down by heavy over ripeness: it maintains its Columbia Valley cut and precision. And there’s no doubt about this wine’s ageability; the balance of fruit and chemistry is right to take this many years in the cellar.
Blending Detail and Aging Profile
- 86% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 8% Merlot
- 6% Petit Verdot
AVA & Vineyard Detail:
69% Red Mountain:
- Ciel du Cheval
20% Horse Heaven Hills
- Alder Ridge
11% Yakima Valley
- Red Willow Vineyard
Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate: “… 95
points ... Diversely-sourced, and blended with 8% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot, the Betz 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille leads with classic aromatic expressions of its star player: cedar box, juniper berry, arbor vitae, cassis, blackberry, and dark tobacco, all of which reprise on a luscious, savory palate underlain by ultra-fine tannin and possessed of vibratory energy. The sheer abundance of primary juiciness here – like the energetic ping to its enervating, reverberative finish – strikes me as especially typical of the best marriages of cepage and terroir, which happens to be precisely what Betz is wistfully referring to as “something that happens with Cabernet in Washington.” Something indeed! I would go easy on this for a few years and look forward to at least a decade of high performance.
Steven Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar: “… 94+
points. Bright red-ruby. High-pitched aromas of blackberry, redcurrant, dried mint and thyme. Densely packed, tactile and sweet but youthfully bound-up, with brisk acidity giving terrific cut and precision to the wine's dark fruit and spearmint flavors. Finishes with strong tannic spine and a terrific structure for aging. As young as this cabernet is, with its inner-mouth perfume it's showier today than the Clos de Betz. I'd wait at least five years on this one. Interestingly, Bob Betz told me that the latest pickers got prunes in 2010 waiting for their pHs to go up and acids to come down. "Still, October saved the vintage," he added. (The 2009 Pere de Famille, which I rated 93(+?) last year, had gained in fullness and pliancy with another year in bottle, and merited 94 points. But the 2010 should show an even more eventful evolution in bottle.)