Washington Merlot shines in a vintage like 2008; the cooler, more moderate temperatures favor the development of sweet black cherry, plum and its signature chocolate/coffee note. One will likelt be struck by the dimension and suppleness of the mouthfeel.
This is what St. Emilion and Pomerol aspire to: rich black fruit, a knockout entry, plump mid-palate and long elegant finish. Along the way, mineral, spice, wet stones, licorice and dried herbs mingle to create a complex, and satisfying, flavor range. Fleshy, ripe fruits linger but the wine still dances with vitality; the higher percentage of Merlot, mostly from the Red Mountain vineyards, had plenty to do with the stunning impression the 2008 vintage.
Blend: 68% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot
"The Bordeaux-styled wines begin with the 2008 Clos de Betz, a multi-regional blend from four renowned vineyards, and composed of 66% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 9% Petit Verdot. It was aged for 16 months in 65% new French oak. A glass-coating opaque purple color, it surrenders an expressive nose of pain grille, graphite, Asian spices, a hint of balsamic, black currant, and blackberry. On the palate it admirably combines elegance with power. It has superb concentration, incipient complexity, layers of fruit, and a lengthy finish. Give it 6-8 years of additional cellaring and then drink it through its 25th birthday.
The Wine Advocate
"Tight and precise, with sharply defined edges, this needs hours of breathing time. Dense black fruit, pretty herbal grace notes, supple, slightly grainy tannins. Built for the long term."
"Deep, full ruby-red. Dark berries, licorice, bitter chocolate and graphite on the nose and palate. Densely packed but showing superb energy and lift to the flavors of dark berries, cocoa powder and violet. There's nothing rustic about these classy wines. Finishes with terrific clarity and lively minerality."
International Wine Cellar
"Firm in texture, with a sense of elegance to the berry and plum flavors, accented by licorice and pepper as the finish lingers effortlessly. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot."