Current Releases

2014 Bordeaux-Styled Wines

The 2014 vintage represents the third season in a row shaped by an early start followed by a warm growing season. Each of these seasons were successful, yet the wines from each were influenced by unique conditions. 

In 2014 flowering, a crucial period in the vines annual cycle, took place under ideal weather conditions. The warm, calm weather resulted in one of the most compressed flowering periods in recent years, and very even berry size. .... read more
Bob and Louis give you the 2014 Vintage Overview
  Clos de Betz, Bordeaux Blend   Heart of the Hill, Cabernet Sauvignon   Père de Famille, Cabernet Sauvignon

 2014 Clos de Betz, Bordeaux Blend

The quality and character of the 2014 Clos de Betz reflects the success we had with the merlot variety in this vintage. Following an August with consistently warm temperatures, the night time temperatures in the vineyard began to fall rapidly during the first full week of September. The first Merlot of the season was picked on September 8th, which included 3 individual blocks at Ciel du Cheval, and 1 block at Klipsun. 

This first flush of Merlot provided a picture of what would continue for the remainder of the Season: Remarkably clean, intensely flavored grapes that easily stained our hands and palates. The character of each block was clearly on display- Ciel du Cheval expressing not only the different planting years (including the 1976 planting of Merlot), but the 3 individual clones that are planted here (181,348,3).  

Over the following 10 days, four additional blocks of Merlot were harvested including Red Willow, Elephant Mountain, Seven Hills, and Dubrul Vineyard. The trend of compelling Merlot continued, reaching its summit with the Dubrul Vineyard Merlot. The berry size came in smaller than any Cabernet Sauvignon of the season, and the grape skins quickly stained our sorting table a deep shade of maroon. This deeply colored lot aided Clos de Betz reach a new level of density and complexity.

In 2014, Clos de Betz could be mistaken for Père de Famille if judged by appearance only: A vibrant magenta hue on the edge of the glass, leads to an opaque core. Intense aromatics of lavender and thyme share the stage with layers of Black cherry, red currant, pomegranate fruit. In line with our other 2014 Bordeaux wines, Clos de Betz offers weight and richness on the palate, softening the tannic impression, and has a long sweet finish. 

Blending Detail and Aging Profile
 Barrel Program & Blending Detail:
  • 71% Merlot
  • 19% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 10% Petit Verdot
19 months in 100% New French Oak, all 225 liter barriques 
 Aging Profile
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
  • Drink from 2017-2025+
AVA or Vineyard Detail
AVA Detail:
  • 40% Yakima Valley
  • 42% Red Mountain
  • 18% Horse Heaven Hills 
Stephen Tanzer 94 points: Bright, dark red-ruby. Alluring floral lift to the aromas of blackberry, cassis, Bing cherry, sweet spices and anise. Sweet, plush wine with great sex appeal to its intense, pliant flavors of amarena cherry, flint and spicy oak. Really remarkable--and not at all stewed--for Merlot from a hot year; Betz noted that he picked these vines early, "with tension and vitality." Finishes very long and smooth, with suave, perfectly supported tannins dusting the front teeth. A great, velvety Merlot-based wine from Washington. Betz adds some Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot to wine "to provide more structure, nuance and color.

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (92 - 94):
The inky colored 2014 Clos de Betz is certainly one of the top Merlot dominated wines in Washington state. Giving up lots of blackberry, plum, bouquet garni and licorice, it’s full-bodied and layered on the palate, with a sexy, hedonistic vibe that’s common in this big, rich vintage. It has good density through the middle and will keep nicely, but it should also put a smile on your face early in its life as well.

While there's a long history of terrific wines from this estate, I think they've hit another level in the past few vintages, and these latest releases show a purity, elegance and textural quality not found in early bottlings. I'm sure this is in part due to the creation of a second wine, and even a stricter selection for all of the top cuvees. In short, don't miss a chance to try these wines.

 2014 Heart of the Hill, Cabernet Sauvignon

In our quest to better understand Columbia Valley vineyards, over the past 20 vintages we’ve harvested fruit from the far west end of the Yakima Valley to the Rocks of Walla Walla.  It’s always enlightening to see the variations in wine expression based on the grapes’ origins and to correlate those to the numerous differences between growing sites.  Some vineyards have yielded average wines (and they are no longer in our stable), and others have consistently yielded such stellar wine that we continue to farm them year after year.  It’s the rare vineyard that melds unmistakable character with extraordinary quality, expressing that single site character in a superb wine.  We see it in wines like Chateau Latour, Phelps Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Antinori’s Tignanello or Mueller’s Scharzhofberger.  These wines couldn’t come from anywhere else.  Our search in Washington has led us to what we think is just such a marriage: Heart of the Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, the newest entry to our portfolio, created from a single site, single variety on Red Mountain.  While we’ve farmed Cabernet Sauvignon from Red Mountain vineyards since 1997, the performance of Cabernet Sauvignon from this discreet, small section of the appellation creates wines that we’ve not seen from other Red Mountain sites, even other nearby Cabernet blocks.  (Lovers of French wine jargon will recognize the nebulous terms “lieu dit” or “climat” for this special marriage.)  Our pursuit finally takes shape with the 2014 Heart of the Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, to be released in spring of 2017.

This journey has been in the works for a decade: Scott Williams of Kiona Vineyard, with whom we have worked since 1999, planted the first Cabernet vines at Heart of the Hill in 2006, with additional vines added each season afterwards. We’ve used the grapes in our Pere de Famille blend since 2010, and it formed the foundation of the stellar 2012 Le Parrain. 

Why is this site so unique?  We’re not quite sure!  It shares certain physical traits (heat accumulation, high light intensity, low rainfall and cool nighttime temperatures near harvest) with other acclaimed vineyards midway up Red Mountain.  It slopes gently due south, sandwiched roughly between Ciel du Cheval, Col Solare and Hedges Estate vineyards, with weak/high calcium soils and a little less wind than vineyards farther down the slope.  But there’s a je ne sais quoi here that results in wines with character unlike anything we’ve had in our cellar before.  Give us another 50 vintages and we will answer the question “why”!

Today we farm 4 separate blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon, two each of clone 2 and clone 8.  (Even though these blocks touch each other, the wines from each are different!)   Fortunately, we have enough of this vineyard’s fruit to maintain its formidable contribution to our Pere de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as to make this Heart of the Hill Cabernet Sauvignon on a continuing basis.  Tasting the two wines side by side clearly shows their individuality: Pere de Famille, the blend of our best barrels of Cabernet, Merlot and Petit Verdot from across the Columbia Valley, while Heart of the Hill is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from this small dot on Red Mountain.  They are brothers, fingers on the same hand, children of a common mother, and both are proof that Cabernet Sauvignon is Washington’s greatest red variety.

Blending Detail and Aging Profile
 Blending Detail:
  • 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

AVA or Vineyard Detail
AVA & Vineyard Detail:
  • 100% Heart of the Hill, Kiona Vineyard
  • Red Mountain AVA

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (95 - 98): The first vintage for this cuvee, which in the past comprised a large portion of the Parrain cuvee, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Heart of the Hill comes from a small parcel of loam, sand and gravely soils in the Kiona vineyard. It’s 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and is comprised from two clones, clone 8 and clone 2. It’s raised all in new French oak. A big, seriously structured and tannic beauty, it tastes like the essence of Red Mountain with its scorched earth, black currants, cassis, licorice and charcoal-like minerality. Rich, full-bodied, fabulously concentrated and with building tannin on the finish, I’m sure it will be slightly more approachable on release, yet it will need a decade of cellaring and keep through 2044.

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.

 2014 Père de Famille, Cabernet Sauvignon


Reviewing our cellar tasting notes of the 2014 vintage reveals a record number of vineyard sites that achieved a quality level we will likely hold as reference points for years to come. Looking back at the 2014 harvest, we ask ourselves which factors during the growing season led to such success, in so many different varieties, in so many different vineyard sites across the Columbia Valley. Several factors are at play. 

The early start to the growing season, from bud break, through flowering, and through to veraison meant that grape clusters enjoyed a greater number of days to reach maturity. The unbroken warm weather in 2014 resulted in a record number of growing days that “counted” toward grape maturity. Looser than average grape clusters, particularly in Cabernet Sauvignon, allowed a greater degree of light penetration to each individual berry. And lastly, the cool temperatures during the early mornings of harvest (when the grapes are picked) meant that the grapes were still cool by the time they reached the winery.  

The vibrant shades of purple magenta are the first clue that 2014 is a special vintage of Père de Famille. The aromas follow suite, with a penetrating array of fruits and spices: Black currant, boysenberry, and black cherry lead the charge, with subtle nuances of bay leaf, rosemary, and cedar spice. The palate impression is one of great density and plushness, mirroring the aromatics, with anise and dark chocolate expressed in the lingering finish.

Blending Detail and Aging Profile
 Blending Detail:
  • 85% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 11% Merlot
  • 4% Petit Verdot

 Aging Profile:
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
  • Drink: 2017- 2026+
AVA or Vineyard Detail
AVA Detail:
  • 83% Red Mountain
  • 17% Yakima Valley 
Stephen Tanzer 95 points: (bottled in June) 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.

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (94 - 97):
Scheduled to be bottled in June of 2016, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvigon Pere de Famille is another terrific wine from this estate. Deeper in color than the 2013 (which is common) and offering fabulous red and black fruits, dried herbs, graphite and a dusty pebble-like minerality, it has full-bodied richness, ultra pure tannin and while a big, concentrated effort, it always shows a pure, elegant style. It two will have two to three decades of longevity.

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.

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