Cart 0 items: $0.00

Close

Qty Item Description Price Total
  Subtotal $0.00

View Cart

 

Pedigree

Over the years, we've strived to make wines that showcase Washington State as a world class wine producing region. Our focus has always been to grow quality, not quantity. We feel humbled and proud when we look back at the gracious acclaim we have received over the years.
Back to Scores

 All Acclaim

Looking for a specific wine?
Use the links below to jump to a specific vintage.

2015 Acclaim

One of the reference-point estates in Washington is unquestionably Betz Family Winery. Bob Betz still takes a leading role, but the day to day winemaking is more and more being taken up by Louis Skinner, who’s taken up the helm brilliantly. In 2015, the estate made use of an optical sorter to eliminate raisins, and the wines show more freshness and focus, with a touch less voluptuousness and breadth. The 2014s were sensational across the board. Anyone interested in Washington State wines, or just high-quality wines for that matter, owe it to themselves to try these! - Jeb Dunnuck, Robert Parker Wine Advocate

Père de Famille, 2015

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
(93 - 96) Points

"Tasted as a barrel sample, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille is a head turner offering a detailed, mineral-laced, full-bodied, fresh and elegant style that doesn’t lack for oomph or structure. It has classic notes of cassis, smoked tobacco and graphite, with nicely integrated acidity and a great, great finish. The team commented that the use of the optical sorter really helped with this vintage." - Jeb Dunnuck

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93 Points

"(14.5% alcohol; the Cabernet Sauvignon received longer skin contact during fermentation--12 days, or about 50% longer than usual; a blend of Betz's best barrels): Dark ruby-red. Musky currant, blackberry, black cherry, sweet plum and black olive on the nose. A step up in definition and nuance from the Clos de Betz, with its classic Cabernet dark fruit flavors complicated by sexy oak spices from the Taransaud barrels and lifted by a note of black pepper. Boasts a sensual texture with good lift; not a blockbuster like the 2014 version but this may be more complex. This wonderfully supple yet firm wine finishes with creamy, palate-saturating length."

Heart of the Hill, 2015  

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
(95 - 98) Points

"Seeing more and more concrete tank fermentation (30% in 2015), the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Heart of the Hill should be as good as, if not eclipse, the 2014. Loaded with notions of black and blue fruits, espresso, chocolate and loads of minerality, it has sensational purity, building, ripe tannin and integrated acidity, all in a full-bodied, concentrated package. I suspect it will put on weight once in bottle and require a solid 4-5 years of cellaring to show its full potential." - Jeb Dunnuck

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
91 Points

"(Just the second vintage for this bottling from younger Kiona Vineyard plantings on Red Mountain): Bright, dark red-ruby. Very primary aromas and flavors of cassis, blackberry and licorice. Larger-scaled but less detailed than the Père de Famille, as this wine is made from the robust clones 2 and 8 of Cabernet Sauvignon. Juicy and tightly wound; less sweet and less sensual than the Père de Famille. Still, the substantial dusty tannins are nicely integrated. This wine reminded me a bit of a Napa Valley Cabernet."

Clos de Betz, 2015

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
(92 - 94) Points

"Possessing even more Merlot than the 2014, the 2015 Clos de Betz is 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot brought up in a mix of barrels. Its chocolatey plum, tobacco leaf, licorice and damp earth aromatics give way to a medium to full-bodied, polished, pretty style on the palate that shines for its elegance and freshness." - Jeb Dunnuck

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93 Points

Bright medium ruby. Aromas and flavors of kirsch, black raspberry and molten dark chocolate. Plush, round and voluptuous without communicating any undue weight. Comes across as a bit less concentrated than the three 2013 Syrah bottlings--and lower in dry extract than the 2012 Clos de Betz--but boasts lovely energy and finesse. Best today on the subtle, rising finish."

 

Bésoleil, 2015

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
(91-93) Points

"The first vintage where they’ve pushed the bottling back to give the cuvee 16-18 months in barrel, the 2015 Besoleil is a dead ringer for a high-quality Chateauneuf du Pape and offers perfumed notes of herbes de Provence, kirsch, licorice and sweet spice. It’s medium to full-bodied, textured and fruit-forward, with a hedonistic yet elegant profile that’s going to evolve gracefully." - Jeb Dunnuck

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
91 Points

"Moderately saturated medium red. Musky red berries, cherry, spices, smoked meat and tree bark on the nose; I would have picked this as southern French. A captivating supple yet firm blend with an early harmony and sexy saline complexity to its cherry, raspberry, strawberry and pepper flavors. Very suave blend--distinctly easier than the Betz Syrahs in the early going. Finishes with firm acids and tannins but no rough edges. Long on personality."

La Serenne, 2015

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
94 Points

"All from Dick Boushey’s vineyard in Yakima Valley, the 2015 Syrah La Serenne was also all destemmed and brought up in barrel. It’s a more elegant, complex and nuanced Syrah compared to the Cote Rousse and offers classic notes of blackberries, peppery herbs, lavender and spring flowers. Full-bodied, fresh and lively, drink it anytime over the coming 10-15 years." - Jeb Dunnuck

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
91+ Points

"(14% alcohol; all destemmed as the stems were not completely ripe, according to Bob Betz; 40% vinified in a 3,200-liter concrete vessel): Bright ruby-red. Wild, musky scents of blackberry, smoked meat, licorice and garrigue. At once creamy and firm, with lovely harmonious acidity framing the dark berry, flint and game flavors and extending the resounding finish. Very fresh for the year; in fact, this wine held up for days in the recorked bottle."

La Côte Patriarche, 2015

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
95 Points

"Both Bob and Louis commented on the consistency of the vineyard block for this cuvee, and the 2015 La Cote Patriarche is another terrific wine. This cuvee comes from some of the oldest Syrah vines in the state, and I’m sure this has more than a little to do with the consistency, as the old vines are much more resilient to heat spikes and difficult weather. This 2015 shows a perfumed, black and blue fruit, floral and sappy herbs-driven personality to go with full-bodied richness, ripe, silky tannin and fabulous purity. Elegant, fresh, complex and nuanced, it’s a terrific Syrah from this first-rate team, and from Washington State." - Jeb Dunnuck

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
91+ Points

"(made from a 1986 block and a 2000 planting; entirely destemmed): Bright ruby. A note of sexy gamey reduction to the aromas of blackberry, flint, lilac and spices dissipated with air. Concentrated, firm yet pliant wine with considerable power and fruit intensity. Still a bit youthfully stunted but the subtle finishing notes of licorice, menthol and herbs go on and on. This very primary, somewhat clenched wine calls for patience; I wanted a bit more sweetness of fruit but that may yet come. And extended aeration made me optimistic that this Syrah will eventually merit a higher score.

 

La Côte Rousse, 2015

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
96 Points

"The 2015 Syrah la Cote Rousse is a blockbuster Syrah from Red Mountain that’s from the Ranch at the End of The Road and Ciel du Cheval vineyards. It’s a mix of four different clones and is brought up in barrel. This deep, inky, seriously black Syrah gives up Hermitage-like notes of scorched earth, charred meats, graphite and licorice. It’s a big, concentrated effort that’s going to benefit from short-term cellaring and keep through 2035." - Jeb Dunnuck

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92+ Points

"Full ruby-red. Deep, smoky aromas of dark raspberry, animal fur, roasted meat, chocolate and violet. More intense than the Serenne, stuffed with black fruit flavors complicated by musky earthy and saline components. A bit reduced and less about fruit than the Serenne but with no lack of sweetness--and a step up in concentration. Finishes with suave, fine-grained tannins and excellent length. Phenolic management was the most important aspect of making this wine, according to Bob Betz, who noted that the Kiona Ranch portion of this Syrah was harvested on August 26 in this very hot year. Held up very well in the recorked bottle, showing a more exotic, slightly port-like quality to its fruit while maintaining serious tannic clout without dryness."

 

Click here to jump back to top of page.

 

2014 Acclaim

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. - Jeb Dunnuck, Robert Parker Wine Advocate

Père de Famille, 2014

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
97 Points

"A cellar selection from different sites in the Columbia Valley, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille is deeper in color than the Clos de Betz and offers fabulous notes of crème de cassis, graphite, crushed flowers and violets. Just screaming Cabernet, it offers full-bodied richness, incredible purity of fruit, and ultra-fine tannin, all of which make for a sensational Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon that’s going to evolve for upwards of two decades." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
93 Points - Cellar Selection

"Boysenberry, black fruit, bay leaf, plum and spice aromas are followed by intense but still well-balanced dark-fruit flavors. It stretches out on the finish, drinking extremely well now, but its best days are in front of it. Best from 2023–2030" - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
95 Points

"Bright ruby-red. Discreet, very pure aromas of cassis and black cherry complicated by mineral, spice and floral nuances. Highly concentrated and savory, conveying a 3-D texture as well as terrific definition to its flavors of black cherry, saline minerality and dried herbs. Wonderfully elegant, energetic, flavorful wine with real éclat. Really saturates the palate with flavor without leaving any impression of weight. Finishes with substantial dusty but fine-grained tannins and outstanding lingering fruit. This will need time in bottle to unwind."

Heart of the Hill, 2014  

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
97+ Points

"My note for the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Heart of the Hill started, and ended, with a big “Wow.” Unfortunately, there’s a scant ten barrels to go around, but it boasts a sensational bouquet of graphite, crushed rocks, black and blue fruits and lead pencil shavings that just scream Red Mountain. With full-bodied richness, building tannin, a stacked mid-palate and blockbuster finish, it needs to be forgotten for at least 5-7 years." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
93 Points - Cellar Selection

"This aromatic brooder shows notes of dark cherry, barrel spice, pencil lead, vanilla and herb, along with a light floral note. The palate has nuance and detail with balance that is impressive. Give it some time in the cellar to strut its stuff. Best after 2023." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
91+ Points

"Aromas of musky red and darker berries, black plum, dark chocolate, smoky minerality and dried herbs. Broad, glossy and sweet but with less early complexity to its dark berry and licorice flavors than the Cuvée Frangin. This more structured, youthful wine finishes with rather chewy, strong, tongue-dusting tannins."

Clos de Betz, 2014

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
95 Points

"Possessing the highest percentage of Merlot ever for the cuvee (at least until the 2015), the 2014 Clos de Betz is 71% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot that’s just under half from Red Mountain fruit and the rest from Columbia Valley sites. Notes of cassis, licorice, damp herbs, chocolate and earth all flow to a medium to full-bodied, supple, elegant and incredibly polished 2014 that needs 2-3 years of bottle age and will keep for 10-15 years." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
92 Points - Editor's Choice

"Merlot (71%) takes the lead on this blend followed by Cabernet Sauvignon (19%) and Petit Verdot. It opens with aromas of herb, plum, pencil lead, smoke and barrel spice. The palate packs a mouthful of red and black-fruit flavors, showing an impeccable sense of balance and styling, followed by an extended finish." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, 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."

Cuvée Frangin, 2014

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
(89 - 92) Points

"First made in 2012, the entry level 2014 Cuvee Frangin is the result of the estate focus on quality, where they cut the yields for all of their top cuvees back by 30%; all of that newly declassified juice goes into this cuvee. A great introduction into the quality of the estate, with lots of ripe, sexy black fruits, brambly herbs and chocolate, it’s medium to full-bodied, has good freshness, and shows hints of earth and truffle with time in the glass. It will keep through 2024 easily, although there’s absolutely no need to delay gratification either." - Jeb Dunnuck

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
90 Points

"Bright, dark red. Musky raspberry scent with an intriguing smoky note from the addition of Syrah from the Rocks (owners Steve and Bridgit Griessel recently purchased a vineyard in The Rocks and still sell off barrels of this juice). Savory and pliant, with a gamey nuance to its red berry and smoke flavors. Nicely done--and a very successful blend."

Bésoleil, 2014

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
91 Points

Always an enjoyable, outstanding effort, the 2014 Grenache Besoleil offers classic notes of cherries, herbes de Provence, red plums and pepper in a fine, elegant, medium to full-bodied style. Drink it over the coming 7-8 years." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
93 Points - Editor's Choice

"This wine is a blend of Grenache (33%), Counoise (24%), Syrah (20%), Cinsault (17%) and Mourvèdre. Expressive fruit-laden aromas of red plum, raspberry, blue fruit and herb are followed by plump, pure fruit flavors, with the mouthfeel only adding the appeal. It's a gorgeous interpretation of these varieties." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
91 Points

"Medium red. Sexy, high-toned red cherry and red berry aromas showcase the wine's Grenache component (but this vintage features the lowest percentage to date of this variety). Bright, ripe raspberry and cherry flavors are complicated by smoky and peppery nuances. A very graceful red blend with sweet tannins and excellent persistence."

Réseve du Soleil, 2014

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
92 Points

"Incorporating a big chunk of Mourvèdre, the 2014 Reserve du Soleil offers lots of gamey, truffle, white pepper and spice in a medium to full-bodied, polished, beautifully elegant style. While the 2014 vintage yields ripe, exuberant wines, this has a pretty, elegant, polished style that makes it already hard to resist. It should drink well for a decade." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
94 Points - Editor's Choice

"This is the winery's first attempt at a reserve-level Rhône-style wine. A blend of Mourvèdre (51%), Cinsault (27%), Grenache (18%) and Counoise, it leads with fragrant aromas of crushed flowers, thyme, smoke, white pepper and boysenberry. The mouthfeel is seamless and the flavors rich, along with exquisite balance and exceptional length." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93 Points

"Bright red. Musky raspberry, dried flowers and white pepper on the nose, plus a touch of reduction that barely impinges on the wine's perfume. Concentrated, ripe and clean, conveying a totally different flavor and textural profile than the Bésoleil: more pepper, earth and tree bark and sharper definition, but still essentially seamless on the palate. This suave midweight finishes very bright, lively and long, with fine-grained tannins."

La Serenne, 2014

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
93 Points

"The pure, elegant and textured 2014 Syrah la Serenne offers that classic violet and floral characteristics of the cuvee, as well as medium to full-bodied richness, lots of black raspberry fruit, fine, sweet tannin and a great finish. It’s not as powerful or concentrated as the La Cote Rousse, yet it’s a joy to drink and will cruise for a decade or more on its balance and purity." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
93 Points

"Coming from one of the state's most esteemed Syrah sites, this wine opens with high-toned aromas of herb, blue fruit and iron, along with light savory accents. The flavors are full, broad and palate coating, showing an exquisite sense of balance and length that kicks it up a notch. Exquisite stuff." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
91 Points

"(vinified with 10% whole clusters): Bright red. Deep aromas of plum, redcurrant and flint. Concentrated, tight and adamantly dry, with its raspberry, white pepper and flinty mineral flavors conveying a distinctly wild aspect. This fruit was harvested late (September 27) but with reasonable sugar levels, at the same time as Betz's last Cabernets."

La Côte Patriarche, 2014

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
98 Points

"One of the wines of the vintage is the 2014 La Cote Patriarche, and it’s the finest vintage of this cuvee ever made. All from the Red Willow vineyard and some of the oldest Syrah vines in the state, this incredible Syrah yields a layered, awesomely pure bouquet of black and blue fruits, violets, herbes de Provence and graphite, with cool climate notes of olives and violets emerging with time in the glass. Big, rich, layered and more sexy and seamless than the Cote Rousse, it needs 3-4 years of cellaring and will keep through 2034." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
94 Points - Cellar Selection

"Hailing from the state's oldest Syrah vineyard, this wine displays aromas of pure blue fruit, assorted herbs and whiffs of smoked meat. The palate is dense and seamless, with fine-grained tannins providing support. Its best days are far in front of it. Best from 2022–2030." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93 Points

"(from Red Willow fruit, some of it planted in 1986): Bright ruby. Savory scents of dark berries, lavender, brown spices, mocha, violet and game. Plush, rich and mouthfilling without coming across as heavy. This juicy, seamless wine combines compelling richness with a restrained sweetness and outstanding tactile, spicy persistence. The tannins are firm but fully integrated."

La Côte Rousse, 2014

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
96 Points

"From the hot, windswept slopes of Red Mountain, the 2014 Syrah la Cote Rousse is a serious, tight, backwards effort that won’t be for those looking for instant gratification. Possessing classic Red Mountain red and black fruits, dried earth, pepper, dried spice and black olive characteristics, it’s full-bodied, beautifully textured, has flat out awesome purity and impeccable balance. Give it 4-5 years of cellaring and drink it over the following decade or so." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
94 Points

"This wine is a blend of fruit from Ranch at the End of the Road and Ciel du Cheval vineyards. Brooding aromas of dark raspberries, black plum, spice and mineral are followed by ripe generous full-bodied fruit flavors that display a lot of hedonism while retaining a spot-on sense of balance. It's sensational." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92 Points

"(15% vendange entier; harvested on September 3): Bright ruby-red. Shows a distinctly warmer-vintage character on the nose than the La Serenne, with a pungent granitic element to go with its very ripe red berry aromas. Thick and highly concentrated in a distinctly salty style; less about primary fruit and more about stone, earth and saline minerality. Very strong on the back end, with excellent stony thrust calling for at least a couple years of cellaring."

 

Click here to jump back to top of page.

 

 

2013 Acclaim

These latest releases from Betz Family Winery are flat out great, and as I said last year, the 2012s are the greatest wines I've tasted from this estate. While the winery was sold to the Griessel family in 2011, Bob Betz has remained firmly involved and there's certainly been no dip whatsoever in quality; if anything, the wines show another level of texture, purity and structure. While assistant winemaker Tyson Schiffner has moved from making wine to brewing beer, he's been replaced by Louis Skinner, who was the assistant winemaker at Delille for a number of years. In short, readers who want to see the best of Washington State need to check out these latest releases! - Jeb Dunnuck, Robert Parker Wine Advocate

Père de Famille, 2013

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
94 Points

"A cuvee that continues to become more and more Cabernet Sauvignon dominated (Bob Betz loves Cabernet and think it’s the top grape of Washington), the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille (89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot) is utterly seamless and elegant. It is full-bodied and open, with forward notes of cassis, crushed flowers, red currants and licorice. Where the 2014s are more exuberant and dense, this 2013 excels on its pretty, pure and overall elegant style. Drink it anytime over the coming 15+ years." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
91 Points

"Aromas of dried herb, bay leaf, spice, dried flowers and dark fruit are followed by tart, spritely cranberry and cherry flavors. It possesses a real sense of freshness and elegance." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93+ Points

"Dark ruby. Aromas and flavors of blackcurrant, minerals, violet and bitter chocolate. A wine of outstanding finesse, showing great cut and lift but also a wonderfully supple texture. (Bob Betz feels that the effect of the Pulsair treatment is clear in this wine's dimension and weight on the palate.) Finishes with utterly refined, nearly invisible tannins But this wine is still quite backward and will need serious cellaring to fully express itself."

Clos de Betz, 2013

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
94 Points

"The only other 2013 reviewed on this go around (most were reviewed last year), the 2013 Clos de Betz checks in as a blend of 63% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 22% Petit Verdot, mostly from Red Mountain and Yakima Valley, that spent 19 months in French oak. Sexy, supple, perfumed and beautifully complex, with notes of currants, dried flowers and an almost garrigue like perfume, this full-bodied beauty is already impossible to resist, yet will absolutely cruise for another 10-15 years." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
91 Points

"This wine is a blend of Merlot (63%), a whopping 22% Petit Verdot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromas of smoke, cedar, dried herbs, licorice, pencil lead, crushed flowers and red and black berries are followed by soft, plump fruit flavors. It brings an undeniable warm vintage appeal but with a compelling sense of elegance and balance." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93 Points

"Bright medium ruby. Aromas and flavors of kirsch, black raspberry and molten dark chocolate. Plush, round and voluptuous without communicating any undue weight. Comes across as a bit less concentrated than the three 2013 Syrah bottlings--and lower in dry extract than the 2012 Clos de Betz--but boasts lovely energy and finesse. Best today on the subtle, rising finish."

Cuvée Frangin, 2013

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
91 Points

"Made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Syrah and aged 15 months in 30% new French oak, the 2013 Cuvee Frangin is a terrific value that gives lots of Betz character in its ripe blackberry fruit, violets, wild herb and underbrush aromas and flavors. Medium to full-bodied, elegant and downright pretty, it's delicious now, but should evolve gracefully as well." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
90 Points

"The second vintage of this declassified barrel wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Syrah. It provides aromas of blackberry, pencil eraser, coffee, strawberry and herbs. The palate boasts plump, flavorful fruit and savory notes before a lingering finish." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
90 Points

"(from Red Mountain and Horse Heaven Hills; aged in 30% new and 70% once-used French oak barrels for 15 months): Healthy red-ruby. Cool aromas and flavors of kirsch, bitter chocolate, espresso, menthol, graphite and brown spices. Not especially thick or fleshy but juicy and brisk. I'd give this wine a year for its acids and tannins to fully harmonize but this is a bottling for relatively early consumption. Finishes with a strong torrefaction quality. Betz notes that the Cuvee Frangin is the winery's largest bottling, adding that "all the others have shrunk. And we still bulk out additional wine that does not make this blend."

Bésoleil, 2013

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
92 Points

"Bottled last November, the 2013 Grenache Besoleil has slightly more Syrah, with the final blend being 49% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 16% Cinsault, 9% Mourvedre and the rest Counoise. Aged 11 months in a combination of different sized barrels, 25% being new, it's a elegant, medium to full-bodied, Provencal-styled effort that has lots of sweet red and black fruits, garrigue and hints of cured meats. It's a total charmer that will have 10-12 years of overall longevity." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
92 Points

"This wine is a blend of Grenache (49%), Syrah (20%), Cinsault (16%), Mourvèdre (9%) and Counoise. Complex aromas of raspberry, blueberry, dried herbs and pepper lead to reserved yet rich fruit flavors that put a premium on purity. Give it time to open up." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92 Points

"(aged in 25% new oak for 11 months): Good dark red. Musky if slightly subdued aromas of redcurrant, raspberry, plum and coffee, with earthy and floral notes adding complexity. Wonderfully smoky and sweet on the palate, offering a plush, seamless texture and noteworthy density to the red fruit and meaty oak flavors. Still a bit reduced and firmly tannic on the aftertaste. Betz noted that he's moving steadily away from new oak."

La Serenne, 2013

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
94 Points

"The estate's Yakima Valley Syrah, the 2013 Syrah La Serenne spent 11 months in barrel before being bottled last November. Schedule to be released this fall, it has intense, yet fresh and lively notes of violets, spring flowers, cracked pepper, iron and sweet black and blue fruits. Full-bodied, pretty, lively and nicely focused, give it a year or two and enjoy bottles through 2028." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
92 Points

"The aromas of dark fruit, mineral, smoked meat, coffee and spice are brooding, not yet fully revealing their charms. Elegant yet penetrating, the fruit and savory flavors coat the palate from end to end with supple-feeling fruit flavors and a lengthy finish." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92+ Points

"Bright medium ruby. Knockout nose combines black raspberry, garrigue and violet, plus a faint gamey quality; conveys an impression of restrained wildness. Densely packed and thick but still a bit reduced, with flavors of purple fruits, licorice, bitter chocolate, mocha and game complicated by a note of Brazil nuts. Quite backward on the finish and in need of at least a couple years of patience. Like La Cote Patriarchis e, this wine is entirely from Phelps clones. But these shy-bearing vines were picked much later than the other two Syrahs here as they're planted in a cooler site."

La Côte Patriarche, 2013

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
97 Points

"Impenetrable inky colored (even by Betz's standards), the 2013 La Cote Patriarche is another blockbuster from this team, and probably the greatest Syrah I've tasted from them. Coming all from the Red Willow vineyard and some of the oldest Syrah vines planted in Washington, it has seriously intense blackberry, wet gravel, licorice and smoked meat aromas and flavors to go with a full-bodied, massive, rich and concentrated style on the palate. A tour de force in Washington State Syrah, it will have 20 years or more of overall longevity." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
93 Points

"Coming from the state's first Syrah vineyard, this wine offers aromas of thistle, smoke, blackberry and blue fruit, along with mineral and pomegranate accents—still seeming to need time to settle in. The flavors show superb delicacy and impressive length. It wins on its subtleties rather than sheer opulence, though it has plenty of both." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
94 Points

"Deep, dark glass-coating ruby to the rim. Outstanding purity to the aromas of blackberry and violet face powder; I might have picked this blind as a top Côte-Rôtie. Wonderfully plush and concentrated, conveying superb inner-mouth perfume to its flavors of dark berries, spices and flowers. Finishes with big but sweet, spicy tannins and lovely aromatic persistence. From high-altitude, pre-flood soils."

La Côte Rousse, 2013

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
95+ Points

"Much more mineral driven than the La Serenne release, the 2013 Syrah la Cote Rousse comes all from Red Mountain and is always 100% Syrah. Like the other Syrahs here, it saw 11 months in barrel and won't be released until the fall of 2015. Exhibiting lots of blackberry, black raspberry, graphite, smoke and crushed rock, it's beautifully concentrated, has top-notch purity of fruit and a great finish. I love its mid-palate density, and while it has a lot of tannins, they're nicely integrated into the body of the wine. Give it 2-3 years in the cellar and enjoy bottles through 2033. It should be one of the longest-lived Syrahs in the vintage." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
93 Points

"Aromas of iron, fresh-roasted coffee beans, high-toned dried herbs, mineral, blue fruit and savory spices explode from the glass. This wine coats the palate from end to end with supple, dense fruit and savory flavors that feel sleek but still show depth. The tannins bring some heft." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
94+ Points

"(a blend of four clones; from Ciel du Cheval and Ranch at the End of the Road; aged in 45% new oak): Bright dark ruby to the rim. Lovely precise aromas of boysenberry, violet, licorice, bitter chocolate, brown spices and roasted meat. A serious spine of acidity and tannins gives a penetrating quality and superb vinosity to the very intense dark berry and violet flavors. Finishes with big tongue-dusting tannins and outstanding purple-fruit intensity. Still quite youthfully imploded and built for a long life in bottle."

Click here to jump back to top of page.

 

2012 Acclaim

As always, my visit with Bob Betz and Tyson Schiffner at Betz Family Winery (which has been owned by the Griessel family since 2011) is always one of the highlights of my trip through Washington. For the tasting at the domaine, we focused on the 2012s, and they are easily some of the greatest wines I’ve tasted from this estate to date. While these wines always have considerable structure and focused profiles, these 2012 have an extra dimension of depth and texture, and should not be missed! - Jeb Dunnuck, Robert Parker Wine Advocate

Le Parrain, 2012

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
99 Points

"A wine that flirts with perfection, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon le Parrain consists of 9 barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon, all from Red Mountain (Ciel du Cheval, Kiona and Heart of the Hill vineyards), that spent 20 months in 100% new French oak. Only made twice since 1997, it offers an extraordinary bouquet of cassis, lead pencil shavings, liquid violets and crushed rock. This gives way to a full-bodied, layered, elegant, yet massively concentrated wine that never puts of foot wrong, is always perfectly balanced and has incredible purity of fruit. Tasting like a first growth Bordeaux from a great vintage, it will need a decade of cellaring and keep for a quarter of a century. Hats off to the team here for this stunner!" - Jeb Dunnuck

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
95 Points

"(100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Kiona and Ciel du Cheval vineyards on Red Mountain; aged for 20 months in all new French barriques, mostly from Taransaud and Seguin-Moreau): Deep medium ruby. Very pure, alluring aromas of black cherry, cassis, brown spices, menthol, herbs and black olive. Offers a rare combination of seamless mouth feel, serious weight and outstanding energy, conveying powerful vinosity to the flavors of dark fruits, spices and dark chocolate. Finishes with big but refined tannins, fully buffered by the wine's very high 30 grams/liter dry extract. Incredibly dense, large-scaled, classic Cabernet with outstanding palate presence and length. This special bottling was only made previously in vintage 2005, when it was Betz's first-ever 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine. "It's got to be better and different," said Betz. "And we won't bottle this fruit separately if that meant compromising our regular wine."

Père de Famille, 2012

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
95+ Points

"Containing the highest percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon ever, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot, with is all from Red Mountain, and saw 19 months in new French oak. It's an inky colored, classic Betz Family wine that's loaded with perfectly ripe black fruits, lead pencil shavings, scorched earth and the searing minerality and dusty earth quality that comes only from Red Mountain. Full-bodied, structured and layered, with rockin' purity and focus, give it 7-8 years of bottle age and drink it over the following two decades." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
95 Points - Editor's Choice

"This arresting wine delivers aromas of fresh-ground coffee, sweet spices, licorice, dark fruit, pencil box, bay leaf, black currant and smoke, showing so much nuance you want to just keep on sniffing. The palate brings inky, dense, seamless dark fruit flavors and beautifully integrated tannins. It's completely irresistible now—a flat out stunner—but promises to have a long life in the cellar." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
94+ Points

"(14.5% alcohol; includes 2.5% each Merlot and petit verdot; aged in 70% new oak): Bright red-ruby. Ineffable wild aromas of blackberry, espresso, licorice, pepper, mint tea and cinnamon, complicated by a whiff of game. Boasts an utterly aristocratic texture and great lift but shows little obvious sweetness in the early going. Great incipient complexity to the suave, fine-grained flavors of red fruits, spices, flowers and minerals. More taut and backward on the end than the Clos de Betz but not at all hard, this seriously structured cabernet displays a slow-building, inexorable finish, with tannins buried in flavor."

Clos de Betz, 2012

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
(93 - 95) Points

"Tasted as a barrel sample and Betz’s take on a right bank Bordeaux, the 2012 Clos de Betz is 67% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon and the balance Petit Verdot. Inky-purple in color (has anyone seen a Betz wine not inky purple?), if offers impressive cassis, plum liqueur, spring flowers and underbrush-style aromas and flavors to go with a mouth-filling, layered and voluptuous style on the palate. I love the mid-palate here, and the tannin builds through the finish, so, while it should have plenty of up-front appeal, it should also evolve for 15+ years. As always, my visit with Bob Betz and Tyson Schiffner at Betz Family Winery (which has been owned by the Griessel family since 2011) is always one of the highlights of my trip through Washington. For the tasting at the domaine, we focused on the 2012s (I tasted the 2011s from bottle at my office in Colorado), and they are easily some of the greatest wines I’ve tasted from this estate to date. While these wines always have considerable structure and focused profiles, these 2012 have an extra dimension of depth and texture, and should not be missed!" - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
94 Points - Editor's Choice

"Just over two-thirds Merlot with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and a pinch of Petit Verdot, this thoroughly delicious wine opens with a complex assortment of aromas, including incense, toast, crushed flowers, spice, bay leaf, licorice and red and black fruit. The palate is deft but brings waves of layered fruit flavors that show great density and richness. It's hedonistic but doesn't sacrifice one iota of balance. It drinks best at 62 degrees." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93+ Points

"(14.5% alcohol; 66% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% petit verdot): Dark red-ruby. Aromas of blackcurrant, cocoa powder, bitter chocolate, licorice and burnished oak, lifted by a violet topnote. Densely packed but light on its feet, with perfectly integrated acidity energizing the fine-grained flavors of black raspberry, black cherry, cocoa powder and violet. Boasts a rare combination of bullet-proof, youthfully impenetrable tight grain and outstanding floral, white-peppery lift. Superb noble tannins dust the front teeth on the very young, long, juicy finish. An outstanding 2012 blend built for a long and graceful evolution in bottle. This is the first vintage of this wine to include Merlot from DuBrul Vineyard; incidentally, Betz noted that Merlot on Red Mountain was extremely successful in 2012."

Cuvée Frangin, 2012

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
91 Points

"The 2012 Cuvee Frangin is a new cuvee that’s playing in the value-end of the spectrum, and it does a damn good job of it. A blend of 36% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Syrah and the balance Petit Verdot that spent a year in 20-25% new French oak, it offers knockout aromas and flavors of plum, tobacco leaf, dried herbs, and spice to go with a medium to full-bodied, supple and downright sexy profile on the palate. Up-front and ready to go, it will nevertheless have close to a decade of longevity and is a perfect intro into the style of this estate. It also represents a superb value." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
91 Points

"A new wine for this winery, this comes from declassified barrels from its other programs. This blend of Merlot (36%), Syrah (26%), Cabernet Sauvignon (23%) and Petit Verdot delivers a whole lot of immediate appeal with its notes of smoke, char, black currant, huckleberry and plum. The flavors are full and lush with a creamy, supple feel and soft tannins." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
90 Points

"Good dark red. Red fruits and flowers on the claret-like nose. Shows more Syrah influence in its texture, offering ripe acidity and good spicy lift to the dark berry flavors. A bit of counoise adds juiciness. This bright, spicy wine delivers the Betz touch at a gentle price."

Bésoleil, 2012

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
94 Points

"A Rhone-styled blend, the 2012 Besoleil is made from 50% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 15% Syrah and 15% Mourvedre that’s aged all in neutral oak. Gorgeous on all accounts, it has fantastic density and depth, with medium to full-bodied richness, beautiful freshness and classic Grenache-driven aromas and flavors of raspberry, black raspberry, pepper, herbs de Provence and flowers. Already hard to resist, it should evolve gracefully for over a decade." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
91 Points

"A blend of Grenache (50%) and Cinsault (20%) along with equal parts Mourvèdre and Syrah, this wine draws you into the glass with notes of smoked meat, bark, raspberry, blue fruit and peppery spices. It brings a rich, mouthful of generous fruit flavors that hit the delicious gong and then linger to hear it resonate." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92+ Points

"(a blend of 50% Grenache, 20% cinsault, 15% Mourvedre and 15% Syrah; bottled in November of 2013): Musky, brooding nose offers deep black fruit and pomegranate aromas complicated by smoke and game elements that carry through onto the palate. Boasts urgent dark fruit intensity with outstanding retention of acidity for this ripe year. This serious, densely packed wine shows a strong old-viney Grenache sweetness. Less aromatically complex today than the outstanding 2011 but deeper and riper. Very sexy wine with a long aftertaste. Betz recommends waiting three years, noting that the 2003 version is great right now."

La Serenne, 2012

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
96 Points

"As for the Syrah-driven wines, they do two main cuvees, one focusing on Boushey Vineyard, the La Serenne, and the other on Red Mountain, the La Cote Rousse. The 2012 Syrah La Serenne is a 100% Syrah that was aged in 50% new French oak prior to bottling. I think the greatest vintage of this cuvee to date, it boasts an incredibly inky purple color to go with notions of creme de cassis, damp earth, graphite, smoke and licorice that flow to a full-bodied, voluptuously textured profile on the palate. Despite all of the richness, it stays thrillingly focused and shows the purity and elegance of the site. Enjoy it anytime over the coming 10-15 years." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
93 Points - Cellar Selection

"Aromatically still in its shell, this wine offers notes of mineral, pepper, smoked meat, barrel spices and dark-blue fruit. However, flavors are already singing, with waves of rich, intense fruit that almost overwhelm the senses. This velvet hammer of a wine should only reveal more charms with additional time in the bottle. Best from 2017 to 2022." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93 Points

"(from a Phelps clone): Bright, deep medium ruby. Wonderfully floral aromas of cassis, dark chocolate, game, violet and lavender. Juicy, savory and sharply delineated, delivering terrific energy to its inviting black fruit and violet flavors; still showing a bit of smoky, earthy reduction. This wine, too, shows lovely ripe acidity for the vintage—no surprise as this is a cool site. Finishes classically dry, lightly saline and very long, with no sign of its 14.2% alcohol. Beginning with this vintage, Bob Betz added some 500-liter barrels to the mix."

La Côte Patriarche, 2012

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
96 Points

"A cuvee that’s not produced in every vintage, the 2012 Cote Patriarche comes all from the Red Willow vineyard and mostly from the oldest Syrah vines planted in Washington. Inky purple in color, with mineral-laced blackberry, cassis, crushed flowers, smoked earth and licorice, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness and depth, a seamless texture and an overriding sense of elegance that carries through the finish. Knockout stuff, it too will have 15+ years of longevity." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
93 Points - Cellar Selection

"Coming from the oldest block of the oldest Syrah vineyard in the state (1986 plantings), this wine brings a pleasing assortment of herbs, blue plum, mineral and spice along with a kiss of smoked meat. It's focused and rich with densely packed fruit flavors and tannins that show a surprising amount of heft. Best after 2017." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92+ Points

"Bright, deep medium ruby. Musky, feral aromas of blackberry, violet, licorice pastille, wild herbs and fruity black peppercorn. Tight, high-pitched and penetrating, even ungiving today, with powerful blueberry and blackberry flavors accented by black pepper. Almost hard-edged for a wine from this producer and in need of substantial patience. Will the tannins soften?"

La Côte Rousse, 2012

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
95 Points

"More mineral-driven, with savory spices, dried earth and floral notes balanced by a rocking core of fruit, the 2012 Syrah La Cote Rousse is more backwards and reticent than the La Serenne, and will need short-term cellaring to unwind. Possessing full-bodied richness, beautiful concentration, high, yet sweet tannin, and a terrific finish, this awesome Syrah will be at its best from 2017-2027." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
92 Points

"This aromatically appealing wine brings aromas of blue fruit, barbecue briquettes, herbs, mineral and assorted spices. The fruit flavors are lithe yet intense, with a squeeze of tannins that lead to a supremely long finish." - Sean Sullivan

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93+ Points

"(from a crop level of two tons per acre, according to Betz; from a warm site in a warm vintage): Bright medium ruby. Subtle, slightly candied red berry and floral aromas convey a distinctly savory quality plus a suggestion of nutty oak. Then distinctly soil-driven in the mouth, with red raspberry and spice flavors joined by a saline quality and a strong impression of granitic minerality. And yet this wine boasts excellent energy and comes across as very young. The tannins are serious but broad and ripe and the finish is sweet and long. Again, this is very different in style from the more sinewy 2011 bottling but at an equally high level of quality—and potential."

Click here to jump back to top of page.

 

2011 Acclaim

Always one of my favorite visits, Betz Family Winery is owned and run by Steve and Bridgit Griessel (since 2011), with Washington State veteran Bob Betz and assistant winemaker Tyson Schiffner making the wines. While I’ve been drinking this estate’s Rhone blends for years, this was my first experience with the Bordeaux blends, and certainly, I came away impressed. Across the board, everything showed the classic Betz characteristics of inky colors, solid concentration and clean, overall age-worthy and beautifully made profiles. Looking at 2010 and 2011, 2010 is a slightly stronger vintage with additional concentration and depth, where the 2011s should be more approachable early on. - Jeb Dunnuck, Robert Parker Wine Advocate

Père de Famille, 2011

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
92 Points

"Made from 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 3% Merlot that comes mostly from Red Mountain, the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille is slightly more reserved and backwards, with notions of dried spices, cured meats, black currant, spring flowers and tobacco leaf reluctantly emerging from the glass. Medium to full-bodied, with solid concentration, especially in the vintage, it has ample tannin that emerge on the mid-palate and focus the finish. It also needs another 2-3 years in the cellar and will have 10-12 years of total longevity at a minimum." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
95 Points

"Intriguing scents focus upon chamomile and Mediterranean herbs, while the fruit flavors are wild and brambly. Cherry candy and red licorice play broadly across the palate, lingering through a beautifully balanced and extended finish." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
94+ Points

"Good bright red-ruby. Musky red berries, licorice, thyme, rosemary and pepper on the scented nose. Creamy-sweet, suave and deep but at the same time precise and youthful, offering lovely perfumed flavors of red berries, cocoa powder (from the Taransaud oak?) and anise. Very intensely flavored cabernet with terrific lift and aromatic persistence and remarkably suave, dusty tannins. Betz describes 2011 as a year with lower total polyphenols, higher acidity and lower pHs than 2010."

Clos de Betz, 2011

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
91 Points

"Moving to the Bordeaux blends, the 2011 Clos de Betz (67% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot) shows the vintage profile with its mid-weight, lively and overall fresh feel. Black currants, spring flowers, mint and hints of lead pencil and cedar flow from the glass and this medium-bodied, lively and balanced red has bright acidity that’s balanced by good concentration and depth. Give it another 2-3 years in the cellar and enjoy bottles through 2023." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
93 Points - Cellar Selection

"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." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93 Points

"(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."

Bésoleil, 2011

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
91 Points

"I was able to taste the 2011s from bottle at my office in Colorado. The 2011 Grenache Besoleil is made from 54% Grenache, 15% Cinsault, 12% Counoise, 12% Mourvedre and the balance Syrah, with most coming from Yakima Valley, and 27% from Red Mountain and 12% from Snipes Mountain. Beautifully perfumed, with sweet red and black berry fruit, herbs de Provence, licorice, hints of pepper and gaminess, it flows onto the palate with a medium-bodied, juicy, lively profile that has mouthwatering acidity, sweet fruit and a solid finish. Up-front, delicious and drinking beautifully already, it will evolve gracefully through 2019." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
91 Points

"This new vintage of the Southern Rhône-style blend dubbed “Bésoleil”, is half Grenache, 18% Cinsault, with Counoise, Mourvèdre and Syrah making up the rest. Immaculate, spicy and bursting with delicious raspberry flavors, its purity is impressive, and the peppery details are wondrously curious, inviting prolonged consideration between sips. An excellent blending exercise melds all five grapes in perfect proportion." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92+ Points

"(54% grenache, 15% cinsault, 12% each counoise and mourvedre and 7% syrah): Moderately saturated bright medium red. Sexy aromas of red berries, cherry, lavender and rose petal, plus a faint rocky quality. Suave and weightless in the mouth, with bright red fruit and floral flavors complicated by dried thyme, lavender and pepper nuances. Lovely juicy wine with excellent intensity and saline grip. This is the first vintage of this bottling to include counoise, which Bob Betz says has contributed spiciness."

La Serenne, 2011

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
92 Points

"Coming from the Boushey Vineyard, which is the highest elevation vineyard of the three Syrahs, the 2011 Syrah La Serenne is 100% Syrah that was aged in a combination of new and neutral barrels. As with the Besoleil, it’s beautifully perfumed and elegant, with Cote-Rotie-like pepper, game and bacon fat to go with notions of blueberry, blackberry and violets. Medium-bodied, juicy, lively and pure, it’s a fabulous and elegant effort to enjoy over the coming decade." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
91 Points

"Sourced entirely from the Boushey Vineyard, this is light but complex. A mix of rhubarb, pomegranate, earth and mushroom, it has a suggestion of savory umami flavors and even a hint of stable, all in good balance." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93+ Points

"(100% Boushey fruit planted to the Phelps clone in a higher-altitude site; aged in 45% new oak): Lucid red-ruby color. Aromatic scents of boysenberry and graphite. Lovely spicy, peppery lift and energy to the brooding, primary dark berry flavors. Intense and impeccably balanced wine with a light touch and lovely lingering perfume. This is a moderate 13.8% alcohol, with a relatively low pH (for this wine) of 3.62 and 6.1 grams per liter acidity. Owing to its serious inner-mouth tension, I'd wait a couple years before pulling the cork on this beauty. Incidentally, winemaker Betz cut the percentage of new oak aging from 65% to 45%, and noted that his crop level in 2011 was a good 15% lower than the previous year, partly due to the damaging frost in November of 2010."

La Côte Patriarche, 2011

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
93 Points

"Coming from the Red Willow Vineyard, on the western side of the Yakima Valley, and from the old Syrah vines planted in the state, the 2011 La Cote Patriarche is more similar to the La Serenne, with its vibrant, lively perfume of blueberry, violets, olive and underbrush. More concentrated on the palate however, it has medium to full-bodied richness that’s cut nicely by juicy acidity and additional minerality that comes through on the finish. Beautifully proportioned, with a rock mid-palate, this lively, elegant and seamless beauty will be better in another 2-3 years, and thrill over the following decade." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
93 Points - Cellar Selection

"Sourced from old vines at the Red Willow Vineyard, this deep, purple-hued wine is a compelling riot of scents and flavors. Black cherry and cassis, anise and pepper, iron ore and compost—and even a streak of fresh cut tobacco—all waft out of the glass. The wine's lovely balance creates a generous confluence of sensory delights." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
94+ Points

"(14.3% alcohol; from a 1986 planting in Red Willow Vineyard; 2011 was a relatively early year for these vines): Highly nuanced nose combines dark berries, smoke, stony minerality, pepper and flowers. Floral, cool and precise yet silky too; delivers outstanding intensity without weight thanks to ripe, harmonious acidity. Captivating, soil-driven notes of lavender, smoke and garrigue add nuance to the dark berry fruit. Finishes very long, with noble tannins and clear projection of terroir. This can be enjoyed now owing to its utterly seamless texture, but has the depth and energy to enjoy a slow and graceful evolution in bottle."

La Côte Rousse, 2011

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
93 Points

"Darker in color, the opaque-purple 2011 Syrah La Cote Rousse is a richer, fuller Syrah that offers up plenty of chocolaty black fruits, crushed rock, pepper, liquid smoke and iron to go with a medium to full-bodied, balanced, concentrated, yet elegant and classy feel on the palate. Made from 100% Syrah and coming from 65% Ciel du Cheval and 35% Ranch at the End of the Road Vineyards, it has juicy acidity, but also excellent concentration and depth. It should evolve gracefully for 10-12 years." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
92 Points

"Red Mountain vines bring tight, sharply-etched fruit flavors of cranberry and raspberry into fine focus, with an underpinning of iron and rock. There's a slight suggestion of barnyard at the back of the finish." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93+ Points

"Bright ruby-red. Complex nose melds cranberry, licorice, minerals and smoke. Sappy, smooth and light on its feet, showing terrific lift to its sexy flavors of red berries, flowers, pepper and game. Youthfully sinewy and complex wine with a rising, perfumed finish showing great class. Really high-quality barrels here! Betz noted that he's now working to "take down the overall astringency of the wines through reduced skin contact, generally gentler extraction, and more seed removal." He explained: "Red Mountain fruit does not need any more seed phenolics."

Click here to jump back to top of page.

 

2010 Acclaim

Père de Famille, 2010

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
95+ Points

"More firm and structured than the 2011, the Cabernet Sauvignon- dominated 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille is a classic Washington State Bordeaux blend and has notions of black currant, pencil shavings, tobacco and mineral all showing on both the nose and palate. Full-bodied, concentrated and rich, it too leans towards the elegant end of the spectrum with superb purity of fruit, clean acidity and ripe, polished tannin. Give it 2-3 years in the cellar and follow over the subsequent 15 years or more. Drink 2016-2025." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
97 Points - Cellar Selection

"As good as any Père de Famille to date, this brilliantly crafted wine jumps from the glass immediately with a rainbow of blue, purple and black fruits. The scents and flavors are dense and seamless, the tannins polished and graceful, and the barrel aging puts the last dabs of paint on a winemaking masterpiece." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
94+ Points

"(86% cabernet sauvignon, 6% petit verdot and 8% merlot): 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.)"

Clos de Betz, 2010

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
94 Points

"Stepping back a vintage, the 2010 Clos de Betz is a blend of 58% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petit Verdot. Ripe, voluptuous and supple, it offers up a black cherry, currant, tobacco, cedar and bouquet garni aromatic profile to go with a medium to full-bodied, mouth-filling and beautifully textured personality. More elegant than powerful, it nevertheless has ample polished tannin emerging on the finish and should evolve nicely for 10-15 years. Drink now-2025." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
90 Points

"Betz Family's Merlot-based blend offers sleek plum and cassis fruit, with a tart, sappy, yet penetrating presence. Despite some years in bottle, the acids seem to out-run the fruit, though that may bode well for cellaring." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93+ Points

"(58% merlot, 35% cabernet sauvignon and 7% petit verdot): Bright, full red. Spicy high notes to the aromas of raspberry, graphite, sandalwood and cocoa powder. Juicy, perfumed and precise; not a fleshy style but elegant, vibrant and extremely young. Today the wine's mid-palate flavors and texture are still a bit suppressed by the bottling, but this long, firm-edged wine has the structure and inherent material to be outstanding. In fact, I retasted the 2009 next to it, and while that wine was silkier and plusher, it is not likely to match the 2010 for complexity a few years down the road."

Bésoleil, 2010

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
91 Points

"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." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
92 Points - Cellar Selection

"Bésoleil gains complexity with each new vintage. Grenache makes up the bulk of the blend, plus 18% Mourvèdre, 11% Cinsault and 6% Syrah. Deliciously spicy with cranberry, raspberry and other red fruit flavors, this tightly wound wine will reward decanting. The minerality and supple tannins suggest that it may be cellared as well." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93 Points

"(65% grenache, 18% mourvedre, 11% cinsault and 6% syrah): 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."

La Serenne, 2010

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
92 Points

"Originating in Boushey Vineyard, Betz’s 2010 Syrah La Serenne is scented with cassis and blackberry, sage and fennel. As it takes on air, a delightfully bitter-sweet, iris-like floral dimension emerges. Palpably dense and finely tannic, it displays a sense of constriction and firmness, although its dark berry flavors are very ripe and its herbal aspect expressively pungent. Saliva-inducing salinity, an invigorating bite of black pepper, and a note of tar complement tart-edged, juicy fruit and herbs in a finish more exuberantly energetic, expansive and engaging than this wine’s mid-palate presence had led me to anticipate. This should be a delight to follow over the next 6-8 years and I would advise simply leaving it untouched for the first couple as it works through a relatively reduced (and, metaphorically-speaking, tightly-wound) condition." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
90 Points

"This is a difficult wine to analyze: Even after some hours of breathing time, it seems resolutely shuttered, tart and actually a bit on the thin side. Given the track record of both the producer and the vineyard, it was unexpected. Another taste on the second day showed promise. With time, the score could improve." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
94 Points

"Bright nose features musky black raspberry, smoke, minerals, chocolate and a whiff of tar. Bright, delineated and intense, conveying terrific acidity for syrah. Proprietor Betz describes 2010 as "a return to structure in syrah" and this wine is also extremely primary, with tarry minerality and a cracked pepper quality adding nuance. Finishes with firm but suave tannins, excellent grip and terrific peppery lift. In texture, this wine is midway between Cote-Rotie and Saint-Joseph, and wonderfully fresh."

La Côte Patriarche, 2010

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
95 Points

"Even better and tasted from bottle, the 2010 La Cote Patriarche is a 100% Syrah, from vines planted in 1986, that’s all from Mike Sauer’s Red Willow Vineyard in the Yakima Valley. More tannic, concentrated and firm than the 2011, it offers up a mineral-drenched bouquet of black pepper, blackberry, licorice and bloody meat. In need of cellar time, it has brilliant purity of fruit, integrated acidity and masses of tannin that clamp down on the finish. Give bottles another 3-4 years and enjoy over the following decade or more. Drink 2016-2026.  " - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
94 Points - Editor's Choice

"This is made from fruit sourced from the oldest block of Syrah in Washington, which was planted in 1986. The nose expresses complex varietal character, with a mix of blue and purple berry, a dusting of earth and accents of cinnamon and incense. Subtle and expressive, this is the best vintage to date for the Patriarche." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
95 Points

"Good full red-ruby. Pungent aromas of black raspberry, flint and licorice, lifted by an exotic white fruit quality. Very dense and pliant but with a light touch to the flavors of dark berries, tar and smoke lifted by minerals, peach and orange peel. Extremely closed and youthful but balanced from the start. Very elegantly styled and impressively intense wine with exotic high notes that remind me of a top Cote-Rotie."

La Côte Rousse, 2010

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
92 Points

"Originating half each in Ranch at the End of the Road (source of this bottling’s first appearances in 1999 and 2000) and neighboring Ciel du Cheval (tapped since 2001) on Red Mountain, the Betz 2010 Syrah Le Cote Rousse features ripe but tart-edged dark cherry and plum accented by smoky, carnal, saline, mouthwateringly savory notes that (idiosyncratically, granted!) put me vividly in mind of pan scrapings from a roasting goose. This feels firmly tannic but that doesn’t keep it from displaying generous primary juiciness in a sustained finish. As with a number of wines tasted on this occasion, I’d be inclined to leave it in peace for a couple of years and then anticipate at least 6-8 years of bottle development." - Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Enthusiast
93 Points

"Once again, this cuvée blends grapes drawn equally from the Ciel du Cheval and Ranch at the End of the Road vineyards on Red Mountain. Imposing minerality underscores a tight, raspberry-flavored wine that seems like it's soaked in liquid rock. A teasing barrel note adds threads of coffee liqueur and dark chocolate to the finish." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93+ Points

"Bright red-ruby. Black raspberry, flowers, minerals and spices on the nose, plus a hint of black walnut that reminded me of Hermitage. Juicy on entry, then sinewy and penetrating in the middle, and clearly less pliant and sweet today than the La Serenne. The dark fruit and bitter chocolate flavors are supported by obvious Red Mountain structure. For all its power, the minerally, spicy, peppery finish displays very fine-grained tannins and lovely subtle persistence. Actually a bit higher in pH than the La Serenne but this is likely to need at least as much time in the cellar--say five or six years."

Click here to jump back to top of page.

 

2009 Acclaim

"Like so many of Washington’s most influential and successful wine personalities, Bob Betz is a veteran of Ste Michelle, for whom he directed promotion and educational outreach, in the process earning an M.W. Betz and his wife, Cathy, commenced their own operation in 1997, committed to blending across a range of the state’s best vineyards, and they built an attendant facility in 2005. “Since 2005,” he noted as we toured historic Red Willow Vineyard with its owner-manager Mike Sauer, “things are pretty constant – same rows, same blocks” not only from Red Willow but from the other growers with whom Betz works. Betz exudes self-consciousness and meticulousness, and in traveling around viticultural Washington, one quickly realizes that his advice is eagerly sought by and generously accorded colleagues of all ages and levels of experience. In April of last year, the Washington wine world was shocked by the news that the Betzes had sold their winery to South Africans Steve and Bridgit Griessel, whose backgrounds are in marketing. The plan is apparently for things to otherwise go on as before, with Betz calling the shots in winemaking indefinitely. He works very closely with all of his suppliers; fruit is subjected to sophisticated and stringent sorting; and fermentation is by inoculation with a wide range of specialized yeasts – like other aspects of winery protocol guided, Betz is eager to make clear, by an experimental spirit and scientific rigor. “We’re fans of efficient fermentations,” he elucidates, “so 7-10 days on the skins, and we’ll often press before dryness. We like efficient malolactic, too, so lots of stirring and we keep the temperature at 68-70 F. until it’s done.” The wines from Rhone varietals are raised in close to half new barriques for 12 months – except for Chapitre 3, which, like the four months longer-matured wines from Bordelais varieties, sees two-thirds new wood; the balance of barrels are exclusively second year; and wines aren’t racked from barrel until bottling unless deemed to show signs that they are demanding it. The Betz Syrahs are typically released around their second birthdays, while the wines from Bordelais bottlings aren’t released until six months later." - David Schildknecht

Père de Famille, 2009

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
93 Points

"More sweetly ripe and expansive if less energetic and slightly grainier than its 2010 counterpart, the Betz 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille incorporates what, for this blend, is a very typical 10% Petit Verdot and 8% Merlot. A pungent bite of juniper berry offers some counterpoint to creme de cassis and mocha on a darkly rich mid-palate, leading to a long, sappy finish. Tannin is never far from the surface here even though that surface is almost thickly mouth-coating. Where the 2010 had me reaching for musical metaphors to express its dynamic personality, the analogy here is to the plastic arts, and the wine seems to have monumental potential. It will be interesting, though, to see whether further complexity and flavor definition emerge with time in bottle and the tannin smoothly integrates. How long this might take, I won’t speculate, as my experience of mature Betz wine from Bordelais varieties is thus far (though I hope not for too much longer!) fleeting and inconclusive." - David Schildknecht

Wine Enthusiast
96 Points - Cellar Selection

"A portion of the Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from vines planted in 1973, with additions of 10% Petit Verdot and 8% Merlot. It's an exceptionally fine-tuned blend, with pinpoint fruit flavors, sappy acids and complementary barrel notes. The classic structure, which is the hallmark of all Betz wines, suggests a long life ahead." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93+ Points

"(82% cabernet sauvignon, 10% petit verdot and 8% merlot): Bright ruby red. Cassis, crushed blackberry and violet on the nose. Intensely flavored and juicy, with terrific cut and lift to the flavors of blackberry and licorice. Boasts plenty of acidity but there's nothing hard about this cabernet. Finishes quite tight, though, with firm, peppery tannins that call for at least six or seven years of bottling aging."

Clos de Betz, 2009

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
92 Points

"Its diversely-sourced Merlot mingled with 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 6% Petit Verdot, the Betz 2009 Clos de Betz is virtually as low-toned as its 2010 counterpart, but displays less sense of energy, primary juiciness, or herbal pungency, instead leading its plum and dark berry concentrate in the direction of confection, with suggestions of milk chocolate, brown spices, caramel and vanilla – marking one of the few instances in the two collections of Betz wines I tasted on this occasion where new oak becomes noticeable as such. Broad and sweetly ripe yet palpably if finely tannic, this clings tenaciously and promises to perform sumptuously over the course of the coming decade." - David Schildknecht

Wine Enthusiast
95 Points - Cellar Selection

"A blend of 65% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot, this is slightly more open and accessible than the companion Cabernet Sauvignon, but it's clearly structured for cellaring. The plump, expressive midpalate opens generously and spreads fully across the tongue, offering notes of cherry, cassis, licorice and pepper." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92 Points

"(65% merlot, 29% cabernet sauvignon and 6% petit verdot; aged in 65% new oak and 35% once-used barrels): Good bright red-ruby. Rather withdrawn nose hints at cassis, licorice and aromatic oak. Broad, sweet and tactile on entry, then plump and sweet in the middle, showing a distinct cocoa powder quality from its very ripe merlot component. Not quite as expressive as the syrahs, but then this was bottled more recently (April of 2011, vs. November of 2010). Finishes with very suave, fine-grained tannins."

Bésoleil, 2009

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
91 Points

"Faintly smoky black tea, resinous green herbs, sweaty salinity and animal allusions as well as an intriguing fish oil note mingle with strawberry jam in the nose of Betz’s 2009 Besoleil. This blend of Grenache with 14% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, and 9% Cinsault is sappy and plush though less vibrant than the corresponding 2010. A berry seed-like bitterness serves for invigoration and the herbal and animal dimensions ad umbrated in the nose collaborate for a fascinating degree of complexity in a lasting finish. Based on my very limited experience (I found the inaugural 2003 Besoleil, when tasted alongside, sweaty, cooked fruit-dominated and attenuated), I suspect that this will be best enjoyed over the next half dozen years." - David Schildknecht

Wine Enthusiast
91 Points

"Bésoleil remains Grenache-dominated, but this new vintage includes 14% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, and (for the first time) 9% Cinsault. Bright and penetrating, the brilliant raspberry fruit is the star here, tart and fresh, with the juiciness of a young Zinfandel." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
91 Points

"(a southern Rhone blend based on 66% grenache; aged in once-used barrels): Medium red. Slightly high-toned aromas of liqueur-like red berries, cherry, sage and flowers. Seamless and sweet in the mouth, with immediately accessible flavors of candied red fruits. The firm but ripe tannins will not get in the way of enjoying this wine right now."

La Serenne, 2009

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
91 Points

"The Betz 2009 Syrah La Serenne gives a real shout-out from the glass, with intense scents of sassafras, creosote, licorice, smoky black tea, sour cherry, and Maine blueberry, all of which anticipate the flavors on a dense, almost thickly-rich palate underlain by abundant – and abundantly-evident – if fine-grained tannin. For all of the obvious ripeness of fruit and the emergence of textural richness, this 2009 emerges as less expressive, energetic, or sappy than the corresponding 2010. Here, too, I would suggest one wait a couple of years before revisiting and expect at least half a dozen years of satisfaction, but I’m skeptical that the results will keep pace in quality with that 2010." - David Schildknecht

Wine Enthusiast
93 Points - Cellar Selection

"The best of the new Syrah releases from Betz, this massive wine, sourced from the outstanding Boushey Vineyard, packs tart black fruit into a tight frame of licorice-soaked tannins. There are traces of clean earth, light mineral and smoked meat, while the tannins are kept in close check. There's terrific structure and poise in a wine of substantial power." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93 Points

"(100% Phelps clone, from Boushey Vineyard; the crop load was low in 2009 due to a poor set): Bright ruby-red. Pungent, musky aromas of blueberry, cocoa powder and flowers. Juicy and light on its feet, with lovely definition and grip to its berry and floral flavors. An intriguing wild streak runs through this wine from start to very long, firmly tannic finish. Not at all a thick style of syrah, but has the backbone to develop more nuance with bottle age."

La Côte Patriarche, 2009

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
92 Points

"Intensely ripe yet fresh dark cherry and plum mingle with mouthwateringly savory veal stock in the Betz 2009 Syrah La Cote Patriarche, whose typically carnal personality is also revealed in the way its tannic chew seems to segue into suggestions of rare but charred red meat. Crushed stone, salt, and black pepper in a sustained finish add to the interest and metaphorically sinister personality of a Syrah that conveys an exceptional sense of energy and freshness for its vintage, and is likely to be more expressive in a couple of years as well as to perform rivetingly for the better part of the decade. “I don’t think I have ever seen a relationship between grower and winemaker in Washington like what (Red Willow proprietor) Mike Sauer had with the late Dave Lake,” notes Betz, “and I don’t think anyone’s going to replace that, but what Mike’s team does brings to what we do an attention to detail (whereby) nothing happens by chance.” That certainly fits the image Betz conveys of his own approach and explains what led him to name this cuvee with Sauer in mind." - David Schildknecht

Wine Enthusiast
91 Points

"As before, this is 100% Syrah from the Red Willow Vineyard's oldest vines. It can seem rather light when first opened, with pretty raspberry scents that carry delicate hints of herb. Complexities emerge with airing: more subtle whiffs of earth and flower and flavors that don't overwhelm, but seem to keep adding interesting threads of blueberry, black cherry, Asian spice and game." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93 Points

"(from Red Willow Vineyard vines planted in 1986): Bright red-ruby. Wild, musky aromas of strawberry, flint, roasted meat, bacon fat, iodine and fresh blood. Lush and sweet in the mouth, with a wonderfully fine-grained texture that almost hides the wine's intensity and complexity today. The long, youthfully imploded finish features sweet tannins and a piquant note of white pepper."

La Côte Rousse, 2009

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
91 Points

"Lightly-salted cooked plum and blackberry as well as charred red meat dominate Betz’s 2009 Syrah Le Cote Rousse, whose impressions of mid-palate density and fine-grained tannin are even more pronounced than in the corresponding 2010, yet at the same time the sheer ripeness and richness of fruit here more than compensate for anything that could resemble austerity. Piquant fruit pit and a bite of black pepper add to the stimulation of a sustained finish. Betz maintains that his Cote Rousse bottling is nearly always his most reticent, and this could use a couple of years undisturbed before being revisited over the remainder of the present decade." - David Schildknecht

Wine Enthusiast
89 Points

"Sourced equally from Ciel du Cheval and Ranch at the End of the Road vineyards on Red Mountain, this offers bright, fresh berry-laden fruit flavors, leading into a black cherry core enhanced with pretty spices and a whiff of chocolate. The tannins are proportionate but relatively light for this appellation." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
94 Points

"Good bright medium ruby. Tight, pure aromas of black raspberry, strawberry, white pepper and flowers, complicated by a sexy apricot quality. Suave on entry, then spicy and aromatic in the middle, with firm acidity and a repeating note of white pepper contributing to the impression of sharp definition. This dense, supple wine is very long on the aftertaste."

Chapitre 3, 2009

 

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
93 Points

"A bottling from selected barrels of Ciel du Cheval, Ranch at the End of the Road, and Boushey vineyards (such as was also rendered in 2005), Betz’s 2009 Syrah Chapitre 3 displays formidable tannins and a tight, almost tense character – flatteringly high glycerol notwithstanding – that easily explains why he didn’t release it until a year later than his other wines of this vintage. If the Cote Patriarche from this year merits my adjective “sinister,” this Chapitre 3 is playing bass notes way below the bar line. Blackberry and cassis mingle with soy, bitter chocolate, and charred roasted red meat. The berry juiciness here is strongly marked by bitterness of pit and invigorating crunch of seeds, contributing to a profound, reverberative finish at once brooding and energetically charged. This is going to be quite something to follow over the next ten or a dozen years." - David Schildknecht

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93 Points

"Bright, saturated medium ruby. Aromas of blackberry, bitter chocolate, licorice and black pepper. Lush and sweet on the front half, with deep dark fruit flavors that will require time in bottle to show more complexity. Most impressive today on the expanding, firmly tannic back end, which conveys a strong impression of dry extract and comes across as less phenolic than the Cote Rousse or La Serenne. Winemaker Bob Betz notes that his criterion for this wine is energy, rather than sheer volume."

Click here to jump back to top of page.

2008 Acclaim

"Bob Betz, MW, and his family continue to make some of Washington’s finest wine. Betz’s attention to detail is legendary; everything is done for a reason. He sources great fruit, oversees the farming, and his fine-tuned palate ensures the correct call on all the blends." - Jay S Miller

Père de Famille, 2008

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
96 Points

"The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, and 5% Merlot sourced from 3 regions and 4 vineyards. A glass-coating opaque purple color, it gives up an expressive perfume of sandalwood, mineral, truffle, espresso, incense, violets, and blackberry. Suave on the palate with well-integrated fine-grained tannins, this sweetly-fruited, dense, layered offering will benefit from 6-8 years of cellaring and will have a drinking window extending from 2016 to 2038." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
95 Points - Cellar Selection

"Seductive and complex, the inviting aromas mix incense, blueberries, cassis, licorice and threads of herb and graphite. Flavors are wrapped tightly and unfold gracefully through a long finish. The herbal side of Cabernet is noted without being intrusive. Classic, deep and expressive." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
94+ Points

"Good deep ruby-red. A slight element of reduction quickly dissipated to reveal aromas of cassis, minerals, mocha and licorice. Deep, silky and compellingly sweet, but with brisk acidity that's a bit intrusive today. Best today on the firmly tannic, extremely long aftertaste. This superb cabernet boasts a stunning core of sappy fruit, with a licorice note from a bit of petit verdot that gives it a Pauillac-like character. It would be infanticide to open this anytime soon. The finishing breadth and spreading tannins are spectacular for Washington wine. A retaste of the superlative 2007 Pere de Famille indicated that this wine was beginning to shut down in bottle, but its acid/tannin structure gives it the sheer grip for a long and positive evolution in bottle. It will be fascinating to compare these two vintages side by side in seven or eight years."

Clos de Betz, 2008

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
95 Points

"The Bordeaux-styled wines begin with the 2008 Clos de Betz, a multi-regional blend from four renowned vineyards, and composed of 66% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 9% Petit Verdot. It was aged for 16 months in 65% new French oak. A glass-coating opaque purple color, it surrenders an expressive nose of pain grille, graphite, Asian spices, a hint of balsamic, black currant, and blackberry. On the palate it admirably combines elegance with power. It has superb concentration, incipient complexity, layers of fruit, and a lengthy finish. Give it 6-8 years of additional cellaring and then drink it through its 25th birthday." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
94 Points - Cellar Selection

"Tight and precise, with sharply defined edges, this needs hours of breathing time. Dense black fruit, pretty herbal grace notes, supple, slightly grainy tannins. Built for the long term." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93 Points

"Deep, full ruby-red. Dark berries, licorice, bitter chocolate and graphite on the nose and palate. Densely packed but showing superb energy and lift to the flavors of dark berries, cocoa powder and violet. There's nothing rustic about these classy wines. Finishes with terrific clarity and lively minerality."

Bésoleil, 2008

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
92 Points

"The latest collection begins with the purple-colored 2008 Besoleil, a multi-regional blend from four renowned terroirs. It is composed of 82% Grenache, 9% Mourvedre, and 9% Syrah aged for 12 months in one-fill French oak. Aromas of herbs, underbrush, lavender, black cherry, and blueberry lead to a medium to full-bodied, layered, savory wine with loads of spice, excellent volume, intense flavors, and a lengthy, pure finish. Give it 2-3 years to fully blossom and drink it through 2020." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
93 Points - Editors' Choice

"Happily, each new vintage of Bésoleil is a bit larger than the previous year, so more people can taste what a joy this wine is. In 2008 it's 82% Grenache, 9% Syrah and 9% Mourvèdre. As with all the Betz wines, it is intensely aromatic. The wine glass fairly explodes with scents of grape, plum, raspberry and cherry. In the mouth grace notes offer hints of leaf and fresh herb. Plush and irresistible." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
91 Points

"(82% grenache and 9% each mourvedre and syrah) Medium red. Complex, expressive aromas of smoky red fruits, licorice and musky spices. Sweet and lush in the mouth, but with good grip to the spicy, minerally flavors. A juicy, soil-driven midweight with considerable early appeal. Finishes with a suave dusting of fine tannins and a whiplash of red fruits and spices, with surprising lift. Winemaker Bob Betz described 2008 as a cross between 2007 and 2005. Partly because the growing season had a few more heat spikes than 2007, he added, the pHs in 2008 are a bit higher. "The 2008s have structure," he said, "but also a juicy roundness, and some wines can be a bit blowsy."

La Serenne, 2008

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
93 Points

"The 2008 Syrah La Serenne is sourced entirely from the Boushey Vineyard in Yakima Valley. It is aged for 12 months in 50% new French oak. A glass-coating opaque purple color, it delivers a brooding bouquet of smoke, Asian spices, incense, lavender, game, blueberry, and plum. Dense, layered, and powerful, it manages to maintain a sense of elegance and balance. It has enough structure to evolve for several years and should drink well through 2023." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
92 Points

"Among all the new releases from Betz Family, the La Serenne is the least approachable. Almost enigmatic in its reluctance to open, the wine remains stubbornly tight after a full 24 hours of breathing. The nose shows the barrel influences in a range of toast, coffee and mocha scents. Flavors bring black cherry, cassis, hints of black olive and a little brown sugar, but overall the wine seems shortened, almost dumb. At this point, the score is a best guess, and could go even higher as the wine ages." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92+ Points

"Bright medium ruby. Crushed blackberry, pomegranate, bitter chocolate and flinty minerality on the rather wild nose. Dense and vibrant on the palate, conveying an impression of serious phenolic content. Very dark flavors of blue and black fruits, licorice and violet. Highly complex wine with a firm tannic underpinning for aging. Betz notes that these Boushey Vineyard vines are planted on very old pre-flood soils, which are more minerally and less loamy than soils rich in flood sediments."

La Côte Patriarche, 2008

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
93 Points

"The 2008 Syrah La Cote Patriarche was sourced from the Red Willow Vineyard in Yakima Valley, site of the oldest Syrah planting in Washington dating from 1986. It, too, was aged for 12 months in 50% new French oak. Dense purple in color (like the La Serenne), it sports a nose of brooding black fruits, lavender, Asian spices, smoked meat, blue berry, and plum. This leads to a plush, full-figured Syrah with well-concealed tannins, excellent depth of flavor, and a lengthy, fruit-filled finish." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
91 Points

"Pure Syrah from the oldest planting in the state (at Red Willow). At first the barrel spices, notably cumin, dominate; but with some hours of breathing time a core of brambly fruit, accented with roasted earth, comes into play. An elegant and polished wine, it has the structure to age for at least a half decade longer." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93+ Points

"Deep, full bright ruby. Very primary aromas of blackberry and cocoa powder. Dense, thick and very intense, with wonderfully pure fruit-driven flavors of blackberry and loganberry. Offers a superb balance of fruit, acids and tannins. Finishes very long and pure, with lovely aromatic lift and nuance. An outstanding wine in the making. These 2008 syrahs aged in 50% new oak, but Betz noted he's now using a higher percentage of slightly larger 300-liter barrels, and more Burgundy barrels."

La Côte Rousse, 2008

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
94 Points

"The 2008 Syrah La Cote Rousse was sourced from the Ciel du Cheval and Kiona Vineyards in the Red Mountain AVA and was aged for 12 months in 50% new French oak. A bit lighter in color but with more mineral and earth notes as well as meaty blue and black fruit aromas, on the palate it is more structured (something for which Red Mountain fruit is noted) but the tannins are nicely integrated behind layers of concentrated, spicy fruit. This lengthy offering will benefit from 5-7 years of additional cellaring and should easily see its 20th birthday in fine form." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
94 Points - Cellar Selection

"This Red Mountain Syrah spent a year in French oak, half new, half once-used. The fruit is wrapped in smoke and coffee, graphite and mineral scents and flavors. Crystal clear and densely packed, this shows none of the funk common in many Washington Syrahs, but an almost claret-like structure and grip. It should age well for a decade or longer." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92+ Points

"Medium ruby. Fresh blackberry, licorice and spices on the nose. Begins bright and intense, then expands in the mouth to show more breadth than the La Serenne, with Cornas-like flavors of very ripe black cherry, graphite and dusty minerality. Finishes with a firm tannic spine. This gripping, rather high-pitched wine is still youthfully tight and needs time in bottle. Betz agrees that this wine needs time in bottle to expand "but less than in past years."

Click here to jump back to top of page.

 

2007 Acclaim

"Betz Family Winery remains one of Washington’s benchmarks for top quality wines from Rhone and Bordeaux grape varieties. Bob Betz’s 2007 collection shows him continuing at the top of his game (with plenty of help from his family)." - Jay S Miller

Père de Famille, 2007

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
95 Points

"The 2007 Pere de Famille is made up of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, and 7% Petit Verdot sourced predominantly from the Red Mountain AVA with small contributions from Horse Heaven Hills and Yakima Valley. Purple/black in color it reveals a brooding aromatic array of wood smoke, scorched earth, pencil lead, violets, black currant and blackberry. Full-bodied on the palate, it is a bit more dense, opulent, and succulent than the Clos de Betz, admirably combining elegance and power. The pure finish lasts for over 60-seconds. It will offer a drinking window extending from 2013 to 2027." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
97 Points - Cellar Selection

This Père de Famille is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the rest split between Merlot and Petit Verdot. Sweet, pure fruit—black currants and black cherry and blackberry—is packed tight, concentrated and polished, but needing hours to breathe open. Dense, dusty, complex, complicated, this wine is sophisticated beyond description." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
95 Points

"Bright, deep ruby-red. Pungent cabernet aromas and flavors of red, black and blue fruits complicated by dried thyme and a floral topnote. The extremely intense yet silky palate offers a stunning wave of sweetness that will take several years to express itself fully. Most impressive today on the rising but wonderfully subtle finish, which is supported by serious tannic spine and goes on and on. These 2007 reds combine the structure of the 2005s with the added juiciness of the 2006s, says Betz, who appears to have made his finest set of wines to date."

Clos de Betz, 2007

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
94 Points

"The 2007 Clos de Betz is a blend of six grape varieties (56% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Mourvedre, and Petit Verdot) sourced from several Columbia Valley AVAs. It was raised in 70% new French oak for 12-14 months. Purple-colored, it reveals an alluring bouquet of spice box, violets, incense, black currant, and blackberry. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, it displays an elegant personality along with considerable complexity. Expressive black fruits mingle with earth and spice notes, plenty of ripe, fine-grained tannin, and a lengthy finish. Give this rich, substantial effort 4-6 years of additional cellaring and drink it from 2013 to 2027." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
93 Points - Editors' Choice

"Bob Betz continues to refine his Bordeaux blends. This new Clos de Betz is much more forward than the monumental Père de Famille and sports ripe, dark, round, appealing fruit flavors of luscious raspberry and cassis, swathed in beaucoup de barrel. Toasty oak dissolves into polished tannins, finishing with black tea, licorice, smoke and charcoal." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93+ Points

"Good bright ruby-red. Black raspberry and licorice on the nose. Large-scaled and mouthfilling but with superb floral lift and an added element of density and structure from the petit verdot component. Not yet expressing itself but this young wine boasts terrific verve and energy for aging. Betz notes that his 2007 Bordeaux blends were racked only a total of three times during their elevage."

Bésoleil, 2007

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
92 Points

"The 2007 Bosoleil is Betz Family’s take on Chateauneuf-du-Pape with a blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, and 5% Syrah sourced from three AVAs. Dark ruby-colored, it offers up a fragrant perfume of cigar box, lavender, sage, black cherry, and black raspberry. Layered on the palate, it has a silky texture, layered, savory red and black fruit, spice and earth notes, and a sweet, lengthy finish. It will benefit from 1-2 years of additional bottle age and offer prime drinking from 2011 to 2019." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
92 Points

"This new release of Bésoleil is 80% Grenache; 5% Syrah and 15% Mourvèdre. Intensely aromatic, bursting with black cherry, strawberry and raspberry aromas, its luscious palate is replete with black fruits. There are streaks of tree bark, a whiff of smoke and above all intensity of fruit." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
91 Points

"Good medium red. Sexy nose combines raspberry, black pepper, licorice, smoke and garrigue Juicy, spicy and sweet, with lovely peppery lift to the juicy red fruit flavors. Conveys an impression of breadth without any excess weight and finishes long and scented, with the spice character carrying through."

La Serenne, 2007

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
93 Points

"The 2007 La Serenne is 95% Yakima Valley Syrah from the Boushey Vineyard with the balance coming from the Kiona Vineyard in Red Mountain. A saturated purple in color, it has a brooding but delectable nose of smoked meat, saucisson, spice box, incense, and blueberry. Dense yet suave on the palate, this ripe, intensely flavored Syrah is impeccably balanced with enough structure to evolve for 4-6 years. It will offer a drinking window extending from 2013 to 2022." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
94 Points - Cellar Selection

"This is 100% Syrah from the Boushey vineyard. It's so compact that it's almost impenetrable, but the gorgeous aromas portend a glorious wine given appropriate bottle age and/or breathing time. A dark, dusty mix of black fruits, black olives, black coffee and licorice, this has such density that it's almost impossible to separate out all the fruit layers, let alone the earthier components that make it so distinctive. At 14.8% alcohol, this may be the biggest Betz Boushey Syrah ever." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92+ Points

"Bright ruby. Musky raspberry, smoked meat, violet pastille and charred oak on the nose. Wonderfully fresh and deep, with a distinctly primary quality to its intense dark berry flavors complicated by dried herbs. A seamless and very youthful syrah with lovely purity of fruit and terrific energy. Small-berry tannins are present but perfectly integrated with the wine's fruit. This wine stayed on its gross lees until July of 2008, noted winemaker/proprietor Bob Betz."

La Côte Patriarche, 2007

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
94 Points

"The 2007 La Cote Patriarche is composed of 80% Syrah, 19% Grenache, and 10% Mourvedre sourced predominantly from Yakima Valley. Purple/black in color, it displays a super-fragrant aromatic array of smoke, spice box, bacon, lavender, black cherry, and blueberry. Already complex on the palate, it has layers of sweet fruit, splendid integration of oak, tannin, and acidity, and a lengthy, pure finish. Drink this powerful effort from 2013 to 2027." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
91 Points

"This new Syrah from Betz is medium-bodied and displays light details of herb, olive, sage, a hint of lemon verbena, and tight red currant and berry fruit flavors. There is a pretty, finishing kiss of caramel and toasted almonds." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93+ Points

"Bright medium ruby. Wild aromas of dark berries, smoked meat, lavender and black pepper. Sharply delineated and superconcentrated, with lovely aromatic lift in the middle palate; this silky, large-scaled wine is much more than simply a fruit bomb. Perhaps most impressive today on the broad, rising back end, which features a strong spine without any aggressiveness, and subtle lingering perfume."

La Côte Rousse, 2007

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
93 Points

"The 2007 La Cote Rousse is 100% Syrah primarily from Kiona and Ciel du Cheval Vineyards. Purple/black in color with legs that ooze slowly down the glass, the nose reveals aromas of balsam wood, mineral, earth notes, blueberry and blackberry. Dense, layered, and youthful, the wine has enough structure to evolve for 6-8 years. This Hermitage-like Syrah will drink well from 2014 to 2027." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
94 Points

"This is the Betz Family winery's Red Mountain Syrah. Supple, firm, compact, with black olive, mineral, red licorice, currant and pomegranate fruits. It adds bass notes of rock, iron and clay rather than the more earthy, composty flavors of the La Serenne, with a finish that's dusty, tannic, herbal, earthy and slightly metallic." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
94 Points

"Good bright ruby. Inviting aromas of raspberry, anise and smoked meat are lifted by a floral element. Sweet, lush and very intense, with an element of minerality sharpening the pliant fruit flavors. Finishes broad, sweet and very long, with suave tannins, terrific spicy lift and a whiplash of berry fruit. All of these compelling Washington syrahs have pHs in the 3.75 range and should age slowly and gracefully."

Click here to jump back to top of page.

 

2006 Acclaim

"Betz Family Winery, run impeccably by Bob Betz, MW, remains a Washington benchmark for top quality Syrah and Bordeaux blends. With his connections from decades of service at Chateau Ste-Michelle, Betz is able to purchase choice fruit from some of the state’s finest vineyards including Boushey, Red Willow, Ciel du Cheval, Alder Ridge, Kiona, and Klipsun. Regarding the 2006 vintage, Betz says, 'I took a long time to warm up to the vintage, but the wines have come on strong.'" - Jay S Miller

Père de Famille, 2006

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
95 Points

"The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille is 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, and the balance Petit Verdot and Malbec. Opaque purple, the wine has a brooding nose of wood smoke, earth notes, mineral, spice box, black cherry, and blackberry. This is followed by a layered, opulent wine with superb depth and concentration and 6-8 years of aging potential. This promising effort should be at its best from 2015 to 2030." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
96 Points

"This is taut, muscular, toasty, young and tight; the fruit is concentrated, pure and evocative, with earthy flavors that add notes of soil, spice and mineral. The most complex of all the Betz blends, in this vintage it includes 84% Cabernet Sauvignon—far and away the dominant flavor. The fruits unfold in a rich panoply of reds and blues; the tannins are rich and chewy, polished and complex, showing exemplary back of the palate grip and concentration." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
94 Points

"Bright ruby-red. Aromas of plum, currant, raspberry and graphite, with a youthfully medicinal nuance and emerging cedar and mineral notes reminiscent of a Medoc wine. Then more New World in the mouth, with wonderfully sweet, lush, tactile flavors of cassis and raspberry dominating. Very young and tactile wine but already conveys a compelling sweetness. Finishes with very broad, suave tannins that hide the wine's underlying structure. A knockout."

Clos de Betz, 2006

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
93 Points

"The Bordeaux-styled wines start with the 2006 Clos de Betz, a blend of 61% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance Cabernet Franc and Malbec. It was aged for 16 months in 70% new French oak. Purple/black in color, it reveals a fragrant nose of pain grille, pencil lead, scorched earth, black cherry, blackberry, and plum. This leads to a smooth-textured, intense, layered wine with superb depth and concentration and enough stuffing to evolve for 4-6 years. It will reach its peak by 2012 and remain at that level through 2026." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
93 Points

"Spicy, toasty and dense, this 47% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cab Franc and 10% Malbec blend is packed with berry and cassis fruits. Young and persistent, it runs through the bright luscious raspberries into a deeper layer of stone and licorice. Beautifully defined, with a panorama of red and black fruits and excellent persistence." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93+ Points

"Bright red-ruby color. Subdued but pure and highly complex nose features candied cherry and red berries, brown spices, flowers and sexy dried herbs. Wonderfully silky and subtle on entry, then juicy and sharply delineated but quite closed in the middle, with terrific acidity and a strong spice character contributing to the impression of purity and lift. The note of cherry candy follows through on the palate. I'd give this youthfully tight wine five years in the cellar. Incidentally, winemaker Bob Betz told me that as of 2008 there will be no cabernet franc or malbec in this cuvee."

Bésoleil, 2006

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
93 Points

"The Rhone portion of the portfolio begins with Betz’s take on Chateauneuf du Pape. The 2006 Besoleil is composed of 75% Grenache, 13% Syrah, and 12% Mourvedre. Dark ruby/purple-colored, the wine exhibits a splendid bouquet of garrigue, black cherry, and spice box. It offers a silky texture, layered sweet fruit, great concentration, and a 60-second finish. The quality of Washington’s Grenache is still a secret but, with wines like this, that won’t be the case for long." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
94 Points

"This new release of Bésoleil is three quarters Grenache, the rest split evenly between Syrah and Mourvèdre. Scents of tree bark, black pepper and strawberry stand out, followed with traces of lavender, garrigue and enticing floral accents. Juicy and quite tannic, it's a fruit salad of flavors, pure, persistent and pleasurable. Finished in neutral oak, it's the fruit that dominates, especially the emphasis on Grenache." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92 Points

"Good full red. Complex, wild aromas of candied red fruits, gunflint, truffle, garrigue and dried flowers. The palate leads with an almost liqueur-like grenache quality, but the syrah and mourvedre components show themselves with notes of strawberry, spices, gunflint, tree bark and black pepper. This distinctly Rhone-like blend comes across as quite juicy."

La Serenne, 2006

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
94 Points

"The 2006 Syrah La Serenne is the Betz interpretation of Hermitage. The wine is 100% varietal from the Boushey Vineyard located in Yakima Valley. Opaque purple-colored, it offers enticing aromas of mineral, earth, crushed stone, pepper, and blueberry jam. This is followed by a massive but seamless wine with superb blue fruit and blackberry preserve flavors. This well-balanced effort has a finish which seems to go on and on." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
95 Points - Cellar Selection

"Toasty, dense, dark and complex, this is suffused with a complex mix of coffee, earth, butterscotch, cherry and mineral, with an underlayer of game, roasted almond, herb and earth. Still a baby, young and tight, it opens out with decanting, turning silky and supple. The balance is impeccable, and herbal nuances are preserved, despite the 14.7% alcohol." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92+ Points

"Good deep red. Wild, multidimensional aromas of blackberry, cherry candy, spices, roasted almond, clove and tarragon; took on a chalky quality with aeration (I would have scored the nose 95 points, at least). Dense, sweet and spicy, with terrific aromatic lift and a light touch to the middle palate. A very young, sharply delineated wine with a terrific spine of acids and tannins for aging. But this calls for at least three or four years of cellaring."

La Côte Rousse, 2006

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
95 Points

"The 2006 Syrah La Cote Rousse is 100% varietal sourced from two vineyards, Purple/black in color, it offers up am array of aromas including bacon, sausage, spice box, smoke, pepper, and tar reminiscent of a Guigal La Landonne. Dense, layered, and opulent, this powerful effort should hit its peak by 2015 and provide pleasure through 2030." Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
94 Points

"A mix of four clones, it is deeper, more concentrated, and less accessible than the La Serenne bottling, with bass notes of rock, iron and clay. Dusty, tannic, herbal, earthy and slightly metallic, this is a unique expression of Washington Syrah, with black and purple fruits, Asian spices, coffee liqueur, licorice and coal tar, green tea and herbs." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92+ Points

"Bright, deep ruby. Knockout nose combines black raspberry, blueberry, graphite, talc, licorice and spices. Then quite youthfully closed and backward, but with enticing sweetness and lovely fruit intensity to its dark berry flavors. As tight as this wine is, the finish already demonstrates terrific thrust and length."

Click here to jump back to top of page.

 

2005 Acclaim

Le Parrain, 2005

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
96 Points

"The 2005 Le Parrain (the Godfather) is a great addition to the portfolio. It is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, and 17% Cabernet Franc sourced from three vineyards. Opaque purple with superb aromatics including pain grille, plum, blackberry, and black currant, the wine is full-throttle on the palate with huge extract, great depth and concentration, layers of spicy blue and black fruits, licorice, and chocolate. This promising wine requires a decade of cellaring and should provide pleasure through 2045. The Bordeaux-styled wines are scheduled for release in March, 2008."- Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
96 Points - Cellar Selection

"Bob Betz calls this his first-ever “reserve style” wine from Bordeaux varieties. It started with a single barrel of Red Willow Cabernet Franc and evolved into this six-barrel blend. Le Parrain opens with whiffs of smoke, gun metal and rock weaving through the dense red fruits. Pipe tobacco and licorice flavors come into play from the barrel aging. As the wine slowly opens, the flavors expand and blend, and the textural quality that Betz refers to expresses itself in a graceful, three-dimensional finish." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93 Points

"Medium red-ruby, not quite as dark as the Pere de Famille. Explosive, superripe aromas of musky berries and nuts. Lush and sweet but with a minerally element giving this slightly reduced wine an impression of spine. I picked up an exotic suggestion of peach flesh. A hedonistic and very pliant style (Betz calls it "a wine of unctuous pleasure"), for drinking earlier than the Pere de Famille."

Père de Famille, 2005

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
95 Points

"I had a chance to retaste the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille. Last year I though the wine was a bit compressed but that time would likely round it out. One year later the wine has blossomed and appears headed for a promising future." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
97 Points - Cellar Selection

"The fragrance is almost otherworldly; sweet, dense and lightly lifted. This is a sinewy wine, that begins with compact power and focused, tart red fruits—predominantly raspberry and currant. At first juicy and tart, with hours of breathing time the wine broadens out into a wider spectrum of Cabernet fruits; cassis, blackberry and black cherry." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93+ Points

"Good deep, bright ruby-red. Sappy aromas of crushed blackberry, licorice, minerals and spices. Wonderfully sweet but less pliant and open today than the Clos de Betz; more affected by the bottling. With aeration, this showed subtle cabernet notes of cassis, Belgian chocolate and fresh herbs. This dense, thick wine boasts outstanding structure and dimension, and finishes with terrific persistence. Betz used his highest percentage of cabernet sauvignon to date in this wine, and the lowest amount of merlot."

Clos de Betz, 2005

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
92 Points

"The 2005 Clos de Betz, composed of 56% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Malbec, and 9% Cabernet Franc, is opaque purple colored with bright aromas of pain grille, spice box, cranberry, clove, cassis, and black currant. This is followed by a harmonious, layered wine with tons of flavor, well-concealed tannins, and outstanding length. It will evolve for 3-5 years and drink well through 2030." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
95 Points - Editors' Choice

"The 2005 Clos de Betz explodes from the glass with profound scents of pipe tobacco, violets, cherries and clove. Immediately supple and silky, this delicious blend of 56% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Malbec and 9% Cabernet Franc offers more complexity than any Clos de Betz to date. Silky, tightly packed fruit flavors are seamlessly blended, with berries, currants and cherries galore. The tannins have been buffed to a fine lustre."

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92 Points

"Good deep red-ruby. Sappy, spicy aromas of blackberry, redcurrant and wild herbs. Dense, supple and sweet, with captivating wild berry and floral flavors complicated by a light weedy note from the cabernet franc and roasted herbs from the malbec. Plush and fine-grained; the smooth texture of this wine reminds me of La Serenne. Lots of Darnajou oak here!"

Bésoleil, 2005

Wine Enthusiast
93 Points

"The gorgeous nose artfully combines cured meat, earthy compost and spicy herb with plump berry and cherry fruits. Beautifully dense, this is a big, almost rustic wine, with bold flavors, blue/black fruits, sweet saddle leather and firm, supple tannins. The current vintage is the best Bésoleil yet, finished with elegant, firm and supple tannins." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
91 Points

"Good bright ruby-red. Highly aromatic nose offers black raspberry, leather and pepper, plus a sexy herbal element reminiscent of garrigue Suave and sweet, with a fairly lush texture lifted by strongly spicy/herbal notes of black pepper and fennel. Offers a silky mouthfeel but boasts serious underlying structure. Today the fruit is in the background, but this wine has a lot of life. Finishes with a fine dusting of tannins and good peppery lift. Bob Betz used a lot more mourvedre in this blend than in 2004 and it's obvious in the wine's peppery, spicy character."

La Serenne, 2005

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
93 Points

"The 2005 La Serenne comes from the Boushey Vineyard, a cooler site. Its aromatics are at least as impressive as its sibling’s with aromas of smoke, meat, chocolate, and blueberry leaping from the glass. Velvety-textured, dense, and rich, the wine has remarkable concentration and great integration of the oak, tannin, and acidity. It has enough structure to evolve for 4-6 years and should drink well through 2024." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
94 Points

"This 100% Syrah, all from the Boushey vineyard, sends up fragrances of sweet fruit, moist earth, leaf and smoked meat. Nuanced and evocative, this changes minute to minute in the glass. The mouthfeel can only be called voluptuous, wrapping the generous blue and purple fruit flavors in sweet, toasty oak. The alcohol is just under 15%, but the fruit carries it without losing some of the detail that this outstanding vineyard can offer. Flashes of pepper and rock continue to light up the smooth, seductive finish." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92+ Points

"Good saturated ruby-red. Sexy aromas of black raspberry, woodsmoke and bacon fat. Sweet, silky and utterly seamless, with captivating notes of brown spice, coffee bean and smoked meat. (Betz is starting to use some Darnajou barrels for his syrah and it shows.) Showing more texture than mid-palate nuance now but this backward wine simply needs time to express itself. Finishes with plenty of sweet oak and superb persistence. Don't make the mistake of opening this one too soon. Betz expressed an opinion similar to that of Paul Golitzin when he told me that "2005 is as ageworthy a vintage as I've ever made."

La Côte Rousse, 2005

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
93 Points

"The 2005 La Cote Rousse, from two superb sites in the Red Mountain AVA, is nearly black in color. It has a multi-dimensional bouquet of violets, smoked meat, game, chocolate, black raspberry, and blueberry. This leads to a loaded, dense, full-bodied wine with layers of spicy, ripe blue and black fruits, silky tannins, great balance, and a 45+ second finish. It will evolve for 4-6 years and drink well through 2030." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
91 Points

"The second of three Syrahs from Betz, this is thick and dark, heavy with still-chewy tannins, this rich and compact wine needs more time in bottle. It's done in a big, toasty style, with lush black cherry fruit set against smoky, chewy tannins. It has a lot of power, but in its current (quite youthful) stage of development it remains stubbornly tight, herbal and hard. Give it plenty of breathing and/or cellar time." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
91+ Points

"Bright, deep ruby-red. Wild spices and herbs lift the lower-toned aromas of woodsmoke and roasted meat. Lush and fat with fruit; finer-grained than the Serenne, with a more leesy, wild, Cornas-like character. Intriguing tar and wild herb notes. As expressive on the nose and ripe in the mouth as it is, this big, broad, rather muscular dry wine possesses plenty of acidity and needs time. For his part, Betz believes this will be singing after the Serenne has faded."

Chapitre 3, 2005

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
94 Points

"The 2005 Chapitre 3 is opaque purple-colored with a seductive, nearly kinky perfume of cedar, vanilla, mocha, plums, bacon, sausage, and blueberry. Plush on the palate with layers of flavor (smoke and tar make a presence), this supple-textured wine somehow manages a sense of elegance. The finish is very, very long. This wine will develop with a few years in the cellar but it is hard to resist now." - Jay S Miller

Wine Enthusiast
90 Points

"Offered exclusively to mailing list customers, this 93-case wine is intensely built and loaded with dark, smoky, charred scents and flavors. Dense and compact, it seems built much like a Cabernet—on a base of sharp acids and dry tannins. Currently the layers that are so compact it's difficult to dissect them. Coffee liqueur, baking chocolate, smoke and even a whiff of eucalyptus are all in the mix." - Paul Gregutt

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93+ Points

"Bright, deep ruby-red. Reticent but highly nuanced nose offers dark raspberry, bacon fat, coffee bean and mocha, lifted by a note of wisteria. Wonderfully lush on entry, then solid as a rock in the middle palate, with outstanding chewy density and concentration to its blackberry, cassis and strawberry flavors. Finishes with terrific lingering sweetness and lift. Indeed, this should gain in texture and complexity over the next decade."

Click here to jump back to top of page.

 

2004 Acclaim

Père de Famille, 2004

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93+ Points

"Bright, deep ruby-red. Musky, minerally, spicy aromas of blackberry, blueberry, leather and tree bark. Quite penetrating on the palate, with terrific intensity and cut to the black cherry and currant flavors. Denser and larger-scaled than the Clos de Betz. This, too, finishes with excellent cut, growing sweeter and longer as it opens in the glass. There's firm tannic spine here but no impression of dryness."

Clos de Betz, 2004

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92+ Points

"Bright, deep red. Musky, sweet aromas of dark cherry, roasted red berries, graphite, leather, roast coffee, herbs and tree bark. Sweet, concentrated, very ripe and floral but showing less early opulence and more structure than recent vintages of this bottling. (Bob Betz notes that it was too easy to make fruit bombs in 2004 owing to the ripeness of the fruit and naturally high pHs. The merlot in particular had high sugar levels without accompanying phenolic maturity in early September and he was tempted to harvest the two sides of the vines separately. In the end, he used petit verdot and malbec to give the 2004s structure and length.) 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." 

Bésoleil, 2004

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
89 Points

"Lovely aromas of spicy black cherries are found in the nose of the 2004 Grenache Besoleil. Broad, medium-bodied, and satiny-textured, this dark berry-flavored beauty also reveals notes of tar and black pepper in its finish. It should be enjoyed over the next 4-5 years." - Pierre Rovani

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92 Points

"Bright medium ruby. Exotic, almost candied aromas of cherry, raspberry and pepper; very Southern Rhone in its liqueur-like character. Fat, sweet and stuffed with expressive black raspberry liqueur flavor. Wonderfully lush and pliant wine yet also quite succulent, finishing expressive, sweet and very long, with a hint of leather."

La Serenne, 2004

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
91 Points

"A medium to full-bodied effort, the 2004 Syrah La Serenne sports a meaty nose of horse sweat, leather, black raspberries, and raw beef. Satin-textured, it is spicy, studded with dark fruits, and boasts outstanding depth as well as length. Drink it over the next 7 years." - Pierre Rovani

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92+ Points

"Saturated ruby. Wild aromas of blackberry, licorice, gunflint, musky espresso, exotic spices and mesquite. Sweet on entry, then tight in the middle, with firm acids giving a strong structural underpinning to the complex flavors of blackberry, minerals, game, cured meats and earth. Very densely packed but not as showy or opulent today as the Serenne, owing to its reductive quality. Betz advises enjoying the Serenne over the next five years, then starting on this one." 

La Côte Rousse, 2004

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
90 Points

"The engaging aromatics of the 2004 Syrah La Cote Rousse display sweet black cherries and spices. This deep, pure, dark berry-laced wine offers notes of freshly laid road tar in its structured flavor profile. It should be enjoyed between 2008 and 2015." - Pierre Rovani

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92+ Points

"Saturated ruby. Wild aromas of blackberry, licorice, gunflint, musky espresso, exotic spices and mesquite. Sweet on entry, then tight in the middle, with firm acids giving a strong structural underpinning to the complex flavors of blackberry, minerals, game, cured meats and earth. Very densely packed but not as showy or opulent today as the Serenne, owing to its reductive quality. Betz advises enjoying the Serenne over the next five years, then starting on this one."

 

Poggiolo Rosso, 2004

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
90 Points

"(a 60/40 blend of sangiovese and cabernet sauvignon) Deep medium red. Musky aromas and flavors of plummy dark fruits, espresso, meat and mocha. Juicy and spicy in the mouth, with sound acids giving the wine lovely delineation and grip. The cabernet adds density to the sangiovese without overwhelming it. Very sexy wine, finishing with sweet tannins. Made without any new oak. I'd enjoy this over the next three or four years."

Click here to jump back to top of page.

2003 Acclaim

Père de Famille, 2003

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
92 Points

"While I found the 2003 Clos de Betz to contain worrisome levels of rustic, hard tannin, the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille is an impressively powerful, chunky wine. Containing 13% Merlot, 8% Malbec, and 3% Petit Verdot in the blend, this medium to full-bodied wine is dense, concentrated, and deep. Its blackberry liqueur and tar flavors linger throughout its long, tannin-studded finish. Projected maturity: 2010-2022." - Pierre Rovani

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93 Points

"Bright ruby-red. Classy cabernet aromas of cassis, blueberry, iodine, minerals, tar, tobacco leaf, mocha and sexy oak spices. Sweet, lush and thick; conveys a high-pH feel without coming across as heavy. The chewy, layered currant and spice flavors are perked up by a captivating minerality. Finishes with firm, broad tannins, palate-saturating fruit and terrific length. This wine was quite approachable when I sampled it but may well close down in the bottle. (I retasted the 2002 Pere de Famille next to the 2003. The earlier vintage showed superb grip and minerality, still needs five or six years of cellaring, and should be long-lived, while the 2003 came across as much more forward.)"

Clos de Betz, 2003

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92 Points

"(58% merlot, 30% cabernet sauvignon, 6% cabernet franc and 6% petit verdot) Bright ruby-red. Currant, tobacco and musky espresso on the nose, with suggestions of exotic chocolate, graphite and mocha. Lush, suave and sweet, with generous black raspberry and mineral flavors. Wonderfully plump in the middle. Finishes very long and sophisticated, with sweet tannins. A steal at the price."

Bésoleil, 2003

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
88 Points

"The 2003 Grenache Besoleil (there is 16% Syrah in the blend) offers aromas of sweet raspberries and black cherries. Medium to full-bodied and structured, it displays lovely purity and admirable concentration in its black cherry, raspberry, and cassis flavors. Drink it over the next 4 years." - Pierre Rovani

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92 Points

"Medium red. Superripe, liqueur-like aromas of cherry, black raspberry, black walnut and wild herbs. Sweet and sappy in the mouth, with wonderfully opulent, mouthfilling raspberry fruit complemented by a minerally component. Exotic and liqueur-like but with terrific verve. Finishes very long, with sweet tannins. Fascinating American grenache. (A barrel tasting of the 2004, which includes 22% mourvedre and 12% syrah, showed a wilder, more peppery/spicy wine with even more lift and structure to go with its great ripeness.)"

La Serenne, 2003

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
91 Points

"Betz’s 2003 Syrah La Serenne is scented with black tea, soy, and dried dark berries, which then make for a correspondingly smoky, saline, savory, and subtly sweet impression on a fine-grained palate. As if enough allusions to oriental cuisine had not already been mentioned, there are fascinating suggestions of chard and Chinese cabbage here, attractively bitter and herbal as well as intensely mineral; and a light sizzle of fresh ginger adds to the invigoration of a fine, still juicy finish. This will almost certainly remain fascinating for a couple more years, and I wouldn’t have picked it out as having originated in an usually warm vintage even by eastern Washington standards, although it did." - David Schildknecht

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
90+ Points

"(from Boushey Vineyard fruit) Bright ruby. Wild, musky aromas of black raspberry, pepper, smoke, licorice, espresso and game. Lush on entry, then dense and peppery, with flavors of sweet berries, hung game, black cardamom and caraway seed. Offers excellent focus but the flavors are a tad rustic. A serious, structured wine that's currently a bit tough, with its components not yet in sync. Today this comes across as less fruity and less voluptuous than the '02 release."

La Côte Rousse, 2003

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
88 Points

"A backward wine, the 2003 Syrah La Cote Rousse exhibits flavors and aromas of blackberries, black raspberries, and asphalt. It is medium-bodied, pure, and is armed with a firm tannic backbone. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2014." - Pierre Rovani

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93 Points

"(Saturated ruby-red. Sexy aromas of superripe red fruits, smoky oak and black walnut. Fat, pliant and generous, with compellingly sweet flavors of berries and licorice. Creamy and complete, and not at all rustic or animal. Offers a superb combination of volume and shape. Finishes very long and ripe, with fine-grained tannins."

Click here to jump back to top of page.

 

2002 Acclaim

Père de Famille, 2002

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
92 Points

"Produced from 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, and 6% Malbec, the black-colored 2002 Pere de Famille explodes from the glass with sweet black cherries, cassis, and jammy blackberries. This big, lush, rich wine is intense, deep, and concentrated. Palate staining layers of super-ripe black fruits, tar, and spices dominate its medium to full-bodied personality’s flavor profile as well as its exceptionally long finish. Projected maturity: 2006-2017." - Pierre Rovani

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93+ Points

"Bright medium ruby. Complex, sophisticated aromas of black raspberry, cassis, blueberry, game, leather and smoke. Large-scaled and creamy-sweet, but also sappy, suave and spicy, with a lovely light touch. Winemaker Bob Betz thinks this is very closed today in the middle, but I find it explosively perfumed, even if it's a bit tightly wound at present. Finishes very long and spicy, with fine tannins coating the teeth and palate. Betz is now using mostly Darnajou barrels for this wine's merlot component."

Clos de Betz, 2002

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
88 Points

"The dark-colored 2002 Clos de Betz (bottled in early May, 2004, this wine’s name is a play on Burgundy’s Clos de Beze) is a blend of 57% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc. Its blackberry, roasted oak, and spice scents lead to a medium-bodied core of satiny red and black fruits. Some alcoholic warmth was detected in this expressive, well-fashioned effort’s finish. Drink it over the next 7 years." - Pierre Rovani

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
91+ Points

"Good medium ruby. Aromas of crunchy black raspberry, smoke, coffee bean and baking spices. Rich and plummy, with a compelling creaminess for this cuvee, along with excellent structure and grip. This very young wine, which was bottled in May, closed up in the glass and showed building tannins with aeration. Finishes very firm and long, with notes of minerals and woodsmoke."

La Serenne, 2002

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
88 Points

"Harvested on October 20th, the 2002 Syrah La Serenne is a black-colored wine with herbal, smoky, dark berry aromas. Sweet, lush, and structured, it reveals excellent depth of fruit (mostly black raspberries) but does not blossom on the palate enough to merit an outstanding score. Drink it over the next 4-5 years." - Pierre Rovani

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
93 Points

"(100% Boushey fruit; from a cool site and a crop level of just 2 tons an acre) Bright medium ruby. Musky, reduced, distinctly wild aromas of blueberry, raspberry and game; this shows real French funk. At once pungent and suave on entry, then creamy and exotic in the middle, with an almost pinot-like silkiness of texture. Superb dark berry intensity of flavor complicated by notes of licorice and smoky torrefaction. Finishes with lush but strong tannins, sappy berry and meat flavors and impressive hang time. Very expressive syrah in a Northern Rhone style."

La Côte Rousse, 2002

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
90 Points

"Black raspberries and blackberries are intermingled with smoke scents in the nose and flavor profile of the 2002 Syrah La Cote Rousse. Medium to full-bodied and well-structured, this broad, suave, satin-textured effort slathers the palate with fruit. Drink it over the next 5 years." - Pierre Rovani

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
90+ Points

"(50% new oak, all French) Medium ruby. Musky black raspberry and chocolate on the nose, with hints of game and hot asphalt; still a bit reduced. Fat, sweet and rich, with flavors of black raspberry, minerals and Asian spices. Lush, fine, serious tannins coat the cheeks. Still quite youthfully unevolved."

Click here to jump back to top of page.

 

2001 Acclaim

Père de Famille, 2001

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
92 Points

"Smoky oak, freshly laid road tar, and a myriad of dark fruits are found in the nose of the dark-colored 2001 Pere de Famille. A medium to full-bodied wine of wonderful intensity, purity, and great length, it displays a satin-textured core of ripe blackberries, cassis liqueur, and spices. Drink this beauty between 2006 and 2018." - Pierre Rovani

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
91+ Points

"Medium red-ruby. Very cabernet on the nose, with currant, graphite, fresh herbs and pepper showing, along with a suggestion of white chocolate. Dense and powerful, with flavors of dark berries, minerals, licorice and herbs. Serious, firmly tannic wine that's not at all overly sweet. Like the Clos de Betz, this was bottled in May and will almost certainly merit a higher score as it harmonizes in bottle. (The fruit component here is even stronger than that of the very suave 2000 bottling.)"

Clos de Betz, 2001

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
90 Points

"Sweet red currant liqueur, cassis, and copious spices make up the nose of the outstanding 2001 Clos de Betz. A suave, densely packed, medium to full-bodied wine, it reveals an intense character of red cherries, blackberries, black currants, and notes of brambleberries. A hint of alcohol was detected in the finish. Anticipated maturity: now-2011." - Pierre Rovani

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
90+ Points

"Good full red. Currant, black cherry, licorice, meat, graphite and smoky oak on the nose. Sappy on entry, then tight and minerally in the middle, with the wine's acids and oak currently keeping the fruit under wraps. Densely packed but a bit youthfully awkward today. The firm, persistent finish offers a suggestion of green tea. (A retaste of the 2000 version turned up a suaver, more harmonious wine that is nonetheless a bit less dense than this impressive young 2001; on my most recent tasting, the 2000 merited 91 points.)"

La Serenne, 2001

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
90 Points

"Violets, dark raspberries, and minerals make up the aromatic profile of the 2001 Syrah La Serenne. Dense, silky-textured, and medium-bodied, it has a lovely, ample personality with outstanding balance, freshness, and focus. Loads of sweet black raspberries, dark cherries, and flowers can be found in its highly expressive character. Anticipated maturity: now-2009." - Pierre Rovani

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
92 Points

"Deep ruby-red. Highly aromatic nose combines raspberry, smoked bacon and crushed dried herbs. Very suave on entry, then silky and sweet in the middle, with sappy acidity giving the wine superb inner-mouth energy. Finishes very juicy, spicy and long, with a note of roasted Brazil nuts. From a small crop in a relatively cool site, harvested nearly two weeks later than Betz's syrah from Red Mountain. Along with the current releases from Cayuse, these syrahs are closest in character to examples from the Northern Rhone."

La Côte Rousse, 2001

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
91 Points

"The impressive 2001 Syrah La Cote Rousse bursts from the glass with wax-laden dark, spicy berries. Medium to full-bodied, it is a concentrated, intense, well-endowed wine of impressive size, depth, balance, and length. Its flavor profile is a huge mass of sweet, spicy black fruit that lingers on the palate for 30 seconds or more, exhibiting notes of grilled oak before fading away. If this wine were more detailed and nuanced it would be a blockbuster. Projected maturity: now-2010." - Pierre Rovani

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
90+ Points

"Bright red-ruby. Musky red fruits, flint, meat, wild herbs and olive on the nose; very syrah. Sweet, dense and solidly structured, with flavors of raspberry, meat, wild herbs and spices and bright framing acidity. Conveys a slightly roasted Northern Rhone character but has the acidity to remain fresh. Sweetened but not overwhelmed by its 50% new French oak. The long, ripe finish hints at coffee and leather."

 

Click here to jump back to top of page.

 

2000 Acclaim

Père de Famille, 2000

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
91+ Points

"(80% cabernet sauvignon; 14.2% alcohol with a healthy pH of 3.64) Saturated, bright medium ruby. Raspberry, black cherry, smoky oak and mocha on the nose. Chewy and spicy on the palate, with a deep core of sappy dark berry fruit. Bright flavors of black raspberry and spicy oak really expand in the mouth. Very long finish features building but smooth tannins and sweet oak."

Clos de Betz, 2000

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
90 Points

"(65% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot and 5% cab franc) Full red-ruby. Musky, deep, cabernet-dominated aromas of currant, plum, sassafras and smoky, spicy oak. Sweet, silky and expansive, with very sweet, spicy red fruit flavors complicated by Cuban tobacco and a mineral pungency. More generous and more complex than the overwhelming majority of red wines from Washington State. Finishes with broad, horizontal tannins and very good length.

La Serenne, 2000

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
90 Points

"Saturated bright, full ruby. Fruit-driven aromas of black raspberry and cherry, complicated by exotic spices and notes of bitter chocolate, mocha and espresso. Dense, chewy and focused, with lovely penetrating fruit and good verve. Less oaky than the Cote Rousse bottling, or does this wine simply possess stronger fruit? Tannins are firm but perfectly integrated.

La Côte Rousse, 2000

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
88+ Points

"Bright medium ruby. Oaky aromas of raspberry, smoked meat, violet and lead pencil. Sweet, dense and smooth, with intense flavors of dark berries, leather and spices. Has a silkiness but is still a bit youthfully tight. Finishes with big, tongue-dusting-but-fine tannins and very good length."

La Marraine, 2000

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
90 Points

"Bright ruby-red. Sappy aromas of cherry, blueberry, chocolate and spicy, roasted oak. Dense, lush and silky, with layered, fleshy fruit wrapped around a firm spine of acidity. Finishes with sweet, even tannins and very good length."

Click here to jump back to top of page.

 

1999 Acclaim

Père de Famille, 1999

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
(89 - 91) Points

"Nine-hundred cases of the 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille were produced. It offers sweet black cherry and cassis aromas as well as a broad, medium to full-bodied character. This intense 1999 is loaded with sweet red and black fruits, and a hint of Washington state's trademark fresh herbs. Powerful, highly expressive, and delicious, it will drink well between 2004-2012." - Pierre Rovani

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
91+ Points

"Bright full ruby. Vibrant aromas of blackberry, blackcurrant, licorice, maple syrup and spicy oak. Thick, concentrated and pliant; offers compellingly sweet black cherry and cassis flavors and supple texture but also excellent definition and verve. Impressively long on the aftertaste, with the ripe tannins spreading out to saturate the entire palate."

Clos de Betz, 1999

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
87+ Points

"Bright full ruby. Blackberry, blueberry, licorice, shoe polish and Christmas spices on the nose. Juicy but quite tightly wound; not yet sweet or pliant following the recent bottling but displays very good intensity of black fruit flavors. Finishes with somewhat dry tannins. Likely to merit a higher score with a year or two of bottle aging."

La Serenne, 1999

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
87 Points

The medium to dark ruby-colored 1999 Syrah La Serenne offers candied black raspberry aromas. Juicy dark fruits are found in its firm, concentrated, and extracted character. This Syrah should be consumed over the next 6-7 years with full-flavored, fatty dishes (i.e., grilled steak) to cover its tannin.  

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
89 Points

Saturated deep ruby. Superripe but high-pitched aromas of blackberry, violet, woodsmoke and dill. Lush, supple black fruit flavors boast impressive concentration and depth. Finishes rich and strong, with thoroughly ripe, even tannins and a real wave of fruit.

Click here to jump back to top of page.

 

1998 Acclaim

Bob Betz earns the coveted title "Master of Wine." In 1999 Wine Spectator article, Kim Marcus wrote the following:

Betz, 50, a 23-year veteran of Stimson Lane Vineyards & Estates in Woodinville, Wash. -- which owns Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest in Washington and Villa Mt. Eden and Conn Creek in Napa Valley -- won two awards: the Robert Mondavi award, for having the highest overall scores on the essays, and the Villa Maria Award, for the best paper in the viticultural field. Betz, who is vice president of enology research and education at Stimson Lane, said that luck was on his side when he drew his essay topic: vineyard mechanics and site selection.

Betz's advice for aspiring students facing the essay portion of the exam is to not only show breadth of knowledge but a coherent argument as well. "Weigh both sides of an issue, but take a stand," Betz said. "If you just stated all the facts, I don't think you'd pass."

Père de Famille, 1998

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
89 Points

"The blackberry and herb-scented, medium to dark ruby-colored 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon is a tight, medium to full-bodied effort. Delicious layers of intense, powerful blackberries and cassis can be found in its youthfully ungenerous yet muscular personality. This is a bright, well-balanced Cabernet with excellent purity as well as depth. Drink it between 2004-2010." - Pierre Rovani

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
90 Points

"Saturated ruby. Port-like aromas of black raspberry and black cherry. Hugely ripe and lush, and livelier in the mouth than the nose suggests. Powerful blackcurrant and black raspberry flavors. Finishes with chewy, sweet tannins and excellent length."

Click here to jump back to top of page.

1997 Acclaim

Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon, 1997

Vinous, Stephen Tanzer
88 Points

"Saturated red-ruby. Sappy aromas of redcurrant, cassis and loam. Dense, lush and chocolatey, with the loamy character repeating. Good fat and texture. Dusty tannins are substantial but not hard. Showing well today."

Click here to jump back to top of page.