Recently Betz Family Winery held their annual spring release party for #WAWineMonth. In addition to their classic Bordeaux Blend wines Père de Famille and Clos de Betz, two other Washington wines were released as well. Recently, Betz Family Winery has been crafting a “Little Brother” red wine blend Cuvée Frangin. Brand new this year was the release of the vineyard select Heart of the Hill Cabernet Sauvignon.
2014 was a truly unique wine grape growing season in Washington state, resulting in a new record for Betz Family Winery. Betz Family Winery harvested their first wine grapes on September 3, 2014, their earliest harvest ever! The vines started growing early and the flowers grew under ideal conditions. This allowed for the best selection of grape bunches to allow to go maturity mid season. Steady summer and fall weather in 2014, so unlike recent years, helped ensure grape ripeness but Betz diligence played a hand. Betz Family Winery harvested 40 different vineyard blocks in 2014, visiting each vineyard 2-3 week to make sure they knew just the right time to pick the grapes in that spot. The team at Betz Family Winery are
2014 Père de Famille
The Père de Famille is usually my favorite of the Betz Family Winery spring wine releases. This year, it consists of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and 4% Petite Verdot, with 85% of the fruit coming from Red Mountain. 2014 was an exciting year for Washington wine makers and that enthusiasm shines in this Cabernet Sauvignon.
Deeply colored, in shades of red rim to purple opacity center. The aromas emitted from the glass are rich with cassis, bramblefruit, boysenberry, cherry. The herbal notes are subtle accents to the rich fruit scents and I pick up primarily sage. Right now I taste a lot of the tarter fruits that I captured on the nose like the cassis, pomegranate and tart cherry. I picked up additional herbaceous notes like cedar and bay. It is a little tight and as it opens I expect more juicy, plush fruits promised on the nose to emerge. This Washington wine will definitely benefit from being decanting or from aging for a few years before opening your bottle and enjoying it.
2014 Clos de Betz
This Right Bank Bordeaux blend consists of: 71% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot. The Merlot, which makes up the majority of this elegant wine, was sourced from a number of vineyards for their unique characteristics. Ciel du Cheval, Klipsun, Red Willow, Elephant Mountain, Seven Hills and Dubrul vineyards all offer unique micro-climate, exposure and/or soils that influence the grape.
The nose on this Washington wine is aromatic with red fruit, predominantly currant and pomegranate and a hint of thyme. Those different vineyard influences bring layer upon layer of flavor to this wine. Those red fruits follow your nose to palate picking up a bit of sweet – tart cherry along the way. The acidity, fruit plushness and tannin grip form a well balanced triangle in the mouth.
2014 Heart of the Hill, Cabernet Sauvignon
This unique Washington Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Heart of the Hill Vineyard on Red Mountain. It is rare and special vineyard that produces fruit of such distinction and quality that it alone can fill a bottle with complexity and elegance. Most wines require careful blending of grapes from different locations to bring enough nuance and intrigue to a wine, but not in this case. The grapes from this vineyard were deemed so special, that they deserved to stand alone.
The Heart of the Hill Vineyard is part of Kiona Vineyards, that slopes gently south between Ciel de Cheval, Col Solare and Hedges Estate. The calcium level in the soil ranges from weak to strong creating diversity in the fruit harvested there. The nose brings forth bright red fruit, red currants, cocoa covered tart cherries, and a touch of thyme. Lots of bright acidity and tons of fresh fruit and a bit of vanilla on the palate. The fruit is grounded with some minerality. The tannins are not shy here. The abundance of fruit and the assertive tannins assure the age ability of this wine. I would let this wine nap for a minimum of five years. I loved it now, but with some beauty sleep… WOW!
This is the first vintage released of the Heart of the Hill Cabernet Savignon but, Betz Family Winery has been continuing to make this wine with subsequent harvests. Future releases will be by allocation only.
Betz Family Wines 2014 Cuvee Frangin
Although the Betz spring release is known for Bordeaux styled wines, the 2014 Cuvée Frangin consists of both Bordeaux and Rhone grapes: 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Syrah, 12% Merlot, 8% Grenache and 6% Petit Verdot. This red wine is also known as “Little Brother”. Blended from Red Mountain, Horse Heaven Hills and the Yakima Valley AVAs this wine really shows the strengths of the 2014 Washington vintage. The 2014 Cuvée Frangin has more Cabernet then last year but the Rhone varietals are no shrinking violets in this production. I get lots of bramble fruit like blackberry and raspberry on the nose. On the palate, it is pomegranate, tart plum and the rumor of herbs. Nice acidity balance the fruit and rounded tannins provide solid structure. Drinkable now, I plan on holding on to my bottle for at least two years before opening it for friends.
Although the Betz Family Wines Mailing List is currently full, I encourage you to sign up for their waiting list. After wines are made available to members on the mailing list, sometimes wines are then made available to those on the waiting list. Good things come to those that wait!