This vintage of Pere de Famille is consistent with the past several years, heavy on Cabernet character, with Petit Verdot playing a key supporting role and a bit of Merlot adding fleshiness. There's a notable development, however: an increase in the Cabernet Sauvignon from the 1973 block at Red Willow Vineyard. Among the oldest plantings in the state, this vineyard's contribution brought additional richness and complexity to the blend, without added astringency.
The 2009 is full blown, with a powerful aroma of black currants, plum and blackberry. Completing the aroma are scents of violet, smoke, rock and vanilla bean. Classic Cabernet structure is reflected in its firm grip of tannin, but there's enough fruit density to make it lush and pliant. This is another vintage where it's easy to use the word "complete" to describe the overall character of this Cabernet.
Blend: 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 8% Merlot
"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. Cellar Selection."
"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."
The Wine Advocate
"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."
International Wine Cellar
"This densely packed red is focused and distinctive for its tarry roasted meat overtones around a core of black cherry and berry flavors, pushing against the tempered tannins on the long, vivid finish. Drink now through 2016."