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2015 Clos de Betz
To tell the story of Clos de Betz, you must start at the beginning of Bob and Cathy Betz’s love affair with wine. The year is 1973, the place is Burgundy, France, the players are two young travelers at the beginning of a journey that has now spanned over 4 decades. Standing at the foot of the vineyard Chambertin-Clos de Beze; one of the most important vineyard parcels in not only all of France, but the world, and the young couple dreamed of one day trying their hand at winemaking, and naming the wine “Clos de Betz.” Fast forward two and a half decades and this dream became a reality. At the time, Washington State already had a reputation for producing strong examples of Merlot, and the early drinking, generous character of a Merlot-based wine was something the couple couldn’t resist. In 1998 the first Clos de Betz was born.
What makes Washington State Merlot unique is a combination of deep fruit flavors, weight, and ample structure (tannin, acid). Not unlike Père de Famille, grapes are sourced from throughout the Columbia Valley, but here the focus changes from Red Mountain to the Yakima Valley. Red Willow, Elephant Mountain, DuBrul are the main sources, supplemented by Klipsun, Ciel du Cheval, and Seven Hills Vineyards. To add aromatic interest and weight, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot play smaller roles.
2015 Clos de Betz offers the highest percentage of Merlot for this wine to date, at 75%. More often the final blend contains closer to 65% Merlot, and the higher than normal percentage reflects our success with the variety this vintage. The wine’s color shows the additional Merlot with shades of ruby red and plum.
The aromas of 2015 Clos de Betz lead with spices of cardamom and five-spice. Red fruit aromas of black cherry, pomegranate, and raspberry flavors are complimented by cedar and sassafras notes. A very long Malolactic fermentation, which lasted into April, endowed our Merlot lots with unusually silky textures. The integration of tannins has lent this notable finish.