2011 Clos de Betz, Bordeaux Blend
Our first Merlot grapes ripened nearly two weeks later than average this vintage, and the longer hang time benefited Merlot’s intrinsic rich fruitiness. As the traditional foundation of Clos de Betz (67% this bottling), Merlot always provides its substance and texture, and with the additional hang time, these are highlighted in 2011. The delayed ripening led to a supple mouthfeel, characterful aromas and fine depth of flavor. Ripe black cherry, mocha and wood spice are the hallmarks of this wine and are reflected in the wine.
The additional dimension of this vintage is its ageability. It reminds us of the Clos de Betz from 1999, another cool vintage, which at 12 years old is drinking beautifully. Both the 1999 and 2011 are reminiscent of a well-crafted, top flight St. Emilion. This 2011, with the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, certainly has the vitality and structure to go the distance. During future cellaring, look for emerging aromas of cherry, dark plum and cocoa powder, while the palate softens to a harmonious, creamy texture.
Blending Detail and Aging Profile
- 7% Merlot
- 28% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 5% Petit Verdot
- 100% French oak barrels
- 65% new/35% one fill (one year neutralized oak), for 16 months
- Best from 2016 through 2036
- Serve cool, 60-62°F
AVA & Vineyard Detail:
35% Red Mountain
35% Horse Heaven Hills
- Alder Ridge
30% Yakima Valley
- Red Willow Vineyard
Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast 93
A fine effort in this cool vintage, this Merlot-dominated Bordeaux-style blend is aromatically arresting, with complex flower and herb scents suggesting appealing delicacy. It delivers that in a focused, wine with pretty berry and chocolate flavors.
Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate, (barrel tasting), 92
Looking at the Bordeaux-styled releases from barrel, the 2011 Clos de Betz is the estate’s take on a right bank Bordeaux and will be a blend of roughly 63% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot. Lacking the weight of the 2010, it is a softly textured, elegant effort that has notions of flowers, black fruit, pepper and incense to go with a medium to full-bodied, balanced mouthfeel. Already reasonably approachable, it will be interesting to see how this shows from bottle; if it puts on weight, the score and drink window will be conservative.
Steven Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar: “… 93
(67% merlot, 28% cabernet sauvignon and 5% petit verdot; aged in 65% new oak): Good bright, deep red. Redcurrant, cocoa powder and musky tobacco on the nose. Gentle and creamy in the mouth for 2011, with harmonious ripe acidity framing the sweet red berry, cherry and cocoa powder flavors. This floral merlot-based wine is supported by firm acids and tannins but comes across as quite feminine in style. Betz notes that 2011 was a very good year for merlot.