By Duane Pemberton
Winery website: www.betzfamilywinery.com
Often credited as one of the Washington State wine “grandfathers”, Bob Betz of Betz Family Winery, has been razor-focused on producing some of that state’s finest wines while refusing to play the “price-game” like many of his competitors do after getting good scores.
Twice a year, his winery holds a release party for their thousands of members (you can only purchase their wine if you’re on that list or at very select retailers and restaurants) – and yes, there is a waiting list to be on the list.
I was up at the winery for their Spring 2012 release party – their next release will take place in the fall.
Weather didn’t matter to fans of Betz Winery, they came out in droves from all over the Northwest to pick up their wines and for the chance to meet with the Betz Team - even though the winery is now a “Blended family” of the Betz’s and the Griessel’s you get the feeling as if they’ve been kin all their lives.
The parking lot was packed, police were hired to help manage the traffic going in and out of the main Redmond-Woodinville road and everyone’s spirits were high.
The beautiful sky wasn’t the only good thing about this day – the wines Bob and his crew released were showing well right now and will only be better with cellar time.
The release of Chapitre 3 was a rare treat for the folks as Betz only does this kind of wine every so often – it’s priced at $85 because they produce less than 100 cases of it – needless to say, it sold out fast.
Every so often, they also release what’s basically some “free-run” juice that’s fermented and never touched with oak. It’s light, fruity and tastes good slightly chilled – a good summertime wine but one that won’t at all so you’ll want to drink it this year.
The two bordeaux blends released were the 2009 Close de Betz (65% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% petit verot) and Pere de Famille Cab (82%S Cab, 10% Petit Verdot and 8% Merlot).
Both were good, however, the Close de Betz – for me – was a bit too oakified right now – I’m hopeful most of that will drop with more time in the bottle and additionally, you can get rid of some of that with a long decant-time.
Right now, I’m preferring the red fruits that abound on the cab and would like to revisit the Merlot-based blend in another year or more to sew how it’s coming along.
If you’re not yet on their list, I’d highly encourage you to sign-up to get on the waiting list as their wines are highly sought after and represent some of the best of what Washington can do.
Here are pictures of some of the Betz Team – scoll over the pictures for the captions: