Three from Betz

Saturday Pickup REMINDER: We have our next set of bonus Saturday pickup hours for TPU members on Saturday Sept 13, from 10am-2pm. For those of you beginning to think about holiday gifts, we’re going to have a handful of our Full Pull & Friends wines open to sample and available to purchase, including sneak-preview tastings of the final two FP&F releases of 2014. List members and their invited guests are welcome to come by. As usual, we expect it to be a busy day, so please do e-mail us if you’re planning to come in.
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Hello friends. We have an extremely limited set of Bob Betz’s 2012 Rhone releases today. The less said the better, given our quantities, so I’ll repeat what I have said before: Bob Betz’s face would doubtless be chiseled on a Mt. Rushmore of Washington winemakers. He is the only Master of Wine making wine in Washington, having achieved that honor back in 1998. After a 28-year career at Chateau Ste Michelle he launched his eponymous winery in 1997, crushing 150 cases worth of wine in the Woodinville warehouse district.

Since then, production has grown to 3500 cases total, but acclaim has grown more quickly than that, forcing the family to close their mailing list in 2008 and establishing them as one of Washington’s cult wineries. The winery is open to its list members on just two weekends each year: once in the spring, for the release of its Bordeaux portfolio, and once in the fall, for the release of these Rhone-styled wines.

The acclaimed 2012 vintage was only going to mean more competitive allocations to begin with. And then Jeb Dunnuck said the following a few months ago: “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 2012s have an extra dimension of depth and texture, and should not be missed!” He proceeded to publish glowing reviews for all three of today’s wines in Wine Advocate, blowing up any chance of large allocations or reorders. With all that, and with no time to waste, let’s jump in:

2012 Betz Family Winery “Besoleil” (Grenache Blend)

Bob’s ode to Chateauneuf, a blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 15% Mourvedre, and 15% Syrah, all from the Yakima Valley (15% Red Mtn, 10% Snipes Mtn, 75% Greater Yak).

Winery notes: “Washington southern Rhone varieties continue their winning streak, proving to excel in cool and hot vintages. Fans of this Southern Rhone-inspired wine will note that there’s no Counoise in the 2012 blend as there has been in recent vintages; that variety ripened fine, but they lacked the penetrating character needed to complement the final wine. The Mourvedre fraction (15%) stepped right up to fill its place, its deep, brooding and sweet ink character carrying through in the wine, making the 2012 deeper, more structured yet finely layered. Grenache (50%) still dominates the blend, with its creamy black raspberry, wild dried strawberry, dried herbs and floral notes. Cinsault (20%) fills in with its dusty blue notes, and Yakima Valley Syrah (15%) provides more backbone. This is a Bésoleil for the cellar, dense and full, and a few years of aging will expand its Chateauneuf-like appeal.”

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”

2012 Betz Family Winery Syrah “La Cote Rousse” (Red Mtn)

Here Bob blends four different Syrah clones (Phelps, 99, 174, 383), all from two vineyards on Red Mountain: Ciel du Cheval and Ranch at the End of the Road.

Winery Notes: “We get to play a lot (read “challenging”) with Syrah La Côte Rousse at the blending table. In the months following harvest we taste through the barrels of four different Syrah clones from four distinct blocks, all within a stone’s throw of each other on Red Mountain. Each clone gives its unique signature to the mix, contributing various shades of texture, color, aroma or taste. This diverse blending material ultimately gives a more complex wine, especially from a “terroir –dominant” region like Red Mountain. The 2012 comes across with classic Red Mountain signature: a powerful, dense nucleus of black fruits, supported by layered complexity of violet, dusty gravel, leafy underbrush, spice and black olive. The palate is bold, vigorous and persistent, jammed with blackberry, black plum and spice. It’s the sturdiest of our three 2012 syrahs, most demanding of cellaring; its concentration and sheer power will easily support a decade or two in your cellar.”

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95pts.”

2012 Betz Family Winery Syrah “La Serenne” Boushey Vineyard

La Serenne is 100% Syrah from Boushey Vineyard. Bob Betz and Boushey terroir: need I say more?

Winery Notes: “Syrah La Serenne’s character in 2012 reinforces the loose axiom: cooler sites produce their finest wines in warm vintages; think of Mosel Rieslings or Cote Rotie Syrahs, both cooler than other nearby appellations, and how they shine in warm vintages. So too with the higher altitude, cooler-temperature Boushey Vineyard, for 13 vintages the sole source for La Serenne. The vineyard made great use of the warm late July and August, yielding small berries with thick skins, providing extraordinary density and richness. Supple and fleshy are hallmarks of this vineyard in any vintage, butin 2012 pack on more textural breadth, and add more of Syrah’s wildness, a meaty, spicy, earthy nuance. It’s inky black, with dark plums, creamy black fruits, generous smoke and anise, and yet it still retains its cool site vitality. Don’t be deceived by its supple tannins and juicy approachability: this is one that will live a long life in the cellar.”

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 96pts.”

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Please limit order requests to 4 bottles of Besoleil, 2 bottles of Rousse, and 1 bottle of Serenne, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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