Betz Family Winery Clos de Betz 2009
Bordeaux Red Blends from Columbia Valley, Washington
Mid-summer heat built Merlot power in 2009. The thicker grape skins caused by higher summer temperatures create one of Merlot's splendid sensory traits, the smell of sweet chocolate. And it's here in the 2009 vintage of Clos de Betz. Add subtle creamy vanilla oak from French oak barrels, rich baking spices, saddle leather and black pepper and you have the nuance of this vintage, all playing out on sweet black cherry and mulberry foundations.
There's plumpness to the mid-palate, broad and expressive, while the finish lingers, lively and satisfying. Despite the addition of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine is structurally Merlot, pliant, supple and with enough spine for moderate to long cellaring.
Blend: 65% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot
Wine Enthusiast - "A blend of 65% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot, this is slightly more open and accessible than the companion Cabernet Sauvignon, but it's clearly structured for cellaring. The plump, expressive midpalate opens generously and spreads fully across the tongue, offering notes of cherry, cassis, licorice and pepper. Cellar Selection"
The Wine Advocate - "Its diversely-sourced Merlot mingled with 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 6% Petit Verdot, the Betz 2009 Clos de Betz is virtually as low-toned as its 2010 counterpart, but displays less sense of energy, primary juiciness, or herbal pungency, instead leading its plum and dark berry concentrate in the direction of confection, with suggestions of milk chocolate, brown spices, caramel and vanilla – marking one of the few instances in the two collections of Betz wines I tasted on this occasion where new oak becomes noticeable as such. Broad and sweetly ripe yet palpably if finely tannic, this clings tenaciously and promises to perform sumptuously over the course of the coming decade."
International Wine Cellar - "Good bright red-ruby. Rather withdrawn nose hints at cassis, licorice and aromatic oak. Broad, sweet and tactile on entry, then plump and sweet in the middle, showing a distinct cocoa powder quality from its very ripe merlot component. Not quite as expressive as the syrahs, but then this was bottled more recently (April of 2011, vs. November of 2010). Finishes with very suave, fine-grained tannins."
Wine Spectator - "Firm in texture, with chewy tannins around a core of vibrant, black olive-tinged black cherry and guava flavors, lingering with delicacy. An expressive wine, but needs time to soften. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot."
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Betz Family Winery
Since its first vintange in 1997, Betz Family Winery has had a single-minded goal of crafting compelling wines with individual character that are approachable and age-worthy, and wich showcase Washington as a distinguished wine region of the world. By carving out specific vineyard blocks and being meticulous in the vineyard and cellar they are able to achieve the quality they aspire to, the result being highly-acclaimed wines that compete on the world stage. Today, Betz Family Winery is headed by two families, committed to be true to their heritage, their family members and true to what Betz embodies: wines of dimension and pleasure that allow the character of Washington to shine through. View all Betz Family Winery Wines
About Columbia ValleyView a map of Columbia Valley wineries
Columbia Valley is the largest of Washington State's wine growing regions, with almost 11 million acres. It encompasses a number of smaller regions, including Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Red Mountain and more. The vast area consists of a range of climates, allowing viticulturists to plant a diverse selection of grape varieties. Most wineries plant rows sparsely, which helps the vines survive the harsh winters.
Notable FactsMerlot is the most popular and most planted grape of the area, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Syrah and Riesling are also popular and continue to grow in acreage.
About WashingtonRelated Links:Now the number two producer in the United States, Washington State has also grown in quality.
So how does a state known for rain and coffee produce high quality wines? They plant their grapes on the east side of the Cascade mountains, away from that ever-present rain cloud that sits along the coast. Perhaps wine grapes do well since the sandy loam soils east of the Cascade range give way to an almost desert-like land, saved from drought only by the helpful rivers that run through the area – and the good irrigation systems.
Thinking that the state would do best with typical northern growing grapes like Riesling and Gewurtztraminer, turns out the apple state is well-suited for reds, namely Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and, more recently, Syrah. Of course, whites have not been forgotten - Washington State Rieslings range from bone-dry to sweet, are well-structured and high quality, and Chardonnay dominates most of the other white plantings, making a range of wines. But the reds of the region, Merlot in particular, have made Washington State a quality force to be reckoned with.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.