2014 Clos de Betz, Bordeaux Blend
The quality and character of the 2014 Clos de Betz reflects the success we had with the merlot variety in this vintage. Following an August with consistently warm temperatures, the night time temperatures in the vineyard began to fall rapidly during the first full week of September. The first Merlot of the season was picked on September 8th, which included 3 individual blocks at Ciel du Cheval, and 1 block at Klipsun.
This first flush of Merlot provided a picture of what would continue for the remainder of the Season: Remarkably clean, intensely flavored grapes that easily stained our hands and palates. The character of each block was clearly on display- Ciel du Cheval expressing not only the different planting years (including the 1976 planting of Merlot), but the 3 individual clones that are planted here (181,348,3).
Over the following 10 days, four additional blocks of Merlot were harvested including Red Willow, Elephant Mountain, Seven Hills, and Dubrul Vineyard. The trend of compelling Merlot continued, reaching its summit with the Dubrul Vineyard Merlot. The berry size came in smaller than any Cabernet Sauvignon of the season, and the grape skins quickly stained our sorting table a deep shade of maroon. This deeply colored lot aided Clos de Betz reach a new level of density and complexity.
In 2014, Clos de Betz could be mistaken for Père de Famille if judged by appearance only: A vibrant magenta hue on the edge of the glass, leads to an opaque core. Intense aromatics of lavender and thyme share the stage with layers of Black cherry, red currant, pomegranate fruit. In line with our other 2014 Bordeaux wines, Clos de Betz offers weight and richness on the palate, softening the tannic impression, and has a long sweet finish.
Blending Detail and Aging Profile
- 71% Merlot
- 19% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 10% Petit Verdot
- 19 months in 100% New French Oak, all 225 liter barriques
- Serve cool, 60-62°F
- Drink from 2017-2025+
AVA & Vineyard Detail:
- 40% Yakima Valley
- 42% Red Mountain
- 18% Horse Heaven Hills
Stephen Tanzer 94 points: Bright, dark red-ruby. Alluring floral lift to the aromas of blackberry, cassis, Bing cherry, sweet spices and anise. Sweet, plush wine with great sex appeal to its intense, pliant flavors of amarena cherry, flint and spicy oak. Really remarkable--and not at all stewed--for Merlot from a hot year; Betz noted that he picked these vines early, "with tension and vitality." Finishes very long and smooth, with suave, perfectly supported tannins dusting the front teeth. A great, velvety Merlot-based wine from Washington. Betz adds some Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot to wine "to provide more structure, nuance and color.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (92 - 94): The inky colored 2014 Clos de Betz is certainly one of the top Merlot dominated wines in Washington state. Giving up lots of blackberry, plum, bouquet garni and licorice, it’s full-bodied and layered on the palate, with a sexy, hedonistic vibe that’s common in this big, rich vintage. It has good density through the middle and will keep nicely, but it should also put a smile on your face early in its life as well.
While there's a long history of terrific wines from this estate, I think they've hit another level in the past few vintages, and these latest releases show a purity, elegance and textural quality not found in early bottlings. I'm sure this is in part due to the creation of a second wine, and even a stricter selection for all of the top cuvees. In short, don't miss a chance to try these wines.