Betz Family Winery was founded in 1997 by Bob & Cathy Betz. Critical acclaim from local and national wine publications has put Betz Family Winery at the forefront of Washington wines alongside Cayuse, Leonetti and Quilceda Creek. The winery was sold to Steve and Bridget Griessel (with Bob Betz remaining on as the winemaker), and I fully expect quality will remain high for years to come.
Betz is open twice a year for the release of their wines: Winter welcomes Bordeaux Blends, and Fall the Syrah-based wines. Located south of the Schoolhouse District in Woodinville, Betz release parties draw such large crowds that Woodinville Fire and King County Sheriff employees are hired to direct traffic.
We attended the winter release party this past Sunday. Per usual, Bob and Steve made themselves available all afternoon to mingle with visitors.
Tasting and evaluating wine at release parties can be a challenge, as pours are usually small and you have just a few minutes to formulate an opinion. That said, the Betz lineup is better than ever. Props to the staff at Betz for decanting both wines for 3 hours.
Here are my initial impressions on the new releases:
- 2011 Betz Family Clos de Betz – 67% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. Purple in color. Cherries, plums, vanilla, pencil, currants and cassis. Extremely supple with soft tannins. I suspect this wine will drink well at a young age. My rating: 92 points.
- 2011 Betz Family Cabernet Sauvignon Père de Famille – 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 3% Merlot. Black in color. Black cherry, anise, violets, minerals, leather and graphite. Great structure and concentration. Substantial tannins. This wine has a long life ahead of it. My rating: 94 points.
In contrast to last year the Père de Famille stole the show.
I’ve been buying the Betz wines for a decade now. I can’t emphasize enough that the entire lineup needs extended time in the cellar.
I understand the mailing list is full, although I suspect the wait isn’t too long. Fortunately, the wine is readily available all over Seattle almost year-round. Both of these new releases are worth searching for.
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