One of the storied Washington wineries, Betz Family Winery, has been producing high quality red wines since its inception in 1997. Famed winemaker, Bob Betz, MW, served at Chateau Ste. Michelle for 28 years and now also consults for Col Solare. Bob Betz served as winemaker at his namesake winery until 2016 in which Louis Skinner took the helm as head winemaker. One year prior to that, Betz purchased a vineyard in the Walla Walla Rocks District, the Old Stone Vineyard, located next to the River Rock Vineyard. I was able to try the first wine made from this vineyard, the 'Domaine de Pierres’ Syrah (WWB, 94) which showed marvelous range and was downright delicious. I think this vineyard has a ton of potential moving forward.
The winemaking team at Betz takes on a collaborative approach. Keep your eye out for my friend and colleague, Jonathan Villaseñor, who was recently promoted to Betz cellar hand. Jonathan has a keen palate and having tasted with him many times, I can see that he has a huge potential in this industry.
Winemaker Louis Skinner initially had little interest in wine. Born in Seattle and was raised in the Shelton, Washington, he initially studied to be an auto technician before his friend inspired him by setting up a tasting of wines of the world. From that moment forward, Skinner knew wine was his calling and he immediately enrolled in the South Seattle Community College wine program in which he was not only studying there but constantly reading books on wine. Skinner began interning for Betz in 2010 and then worked three harvests for DeLille. Skinner worked closely with Washington wine pioneer, Chris Upchurch and even travelled with Upchurch to Burgundy, the Loire Valley, and the Rhone Valley.
Skinner then was hired on as assistant winemaker at Betz before being promoted to winemaker in 2016. Louis takes on a very classic winemaking style which focuses on crafting a great degree of minerality in his wines. This style is somewhat similar to Upchurch’s style, showing good fruit but a high focus on mineral-driven wines. His new Betz wines were outstanding across the board, none more so than the 2015 Betz Family Wines ‘Pere de Familie’ Red Wine (WWB, 94) which has wonderful length and richness as well as a sterling minerality. This is one for the cellar. Learn more about these beautiful wines at https://www.betzfamilywinery.com Here are the great new wines by Betz Family Winery
2016 Betz Family Winery ‘La Cote Rousse’ Syrah- The ‘La Cote Rousse’ is sourced from Red Mountain and shows off an inky color. The nose is seductive with dark fruits and chocolate that connect with dried herbs and smoky undertones. Downright delicious once in the mouth, this shows beautiful milk chocolate, bulls blood, and blackberry preserve flavors. With sterling minerality, this has some serious aging potential. Drink 2019-2028- 92
2016 Betz Family Winery ‘La Cote Patriarche’ Syrah- Sourced from the Yakima Valley, this beautiful Syrah begins with enticing dark and red fruit aromatics that connect with black tea and herbal tones. The wine shows has really good freshness and purity of fruit on the palate with red currant, wild blackberry and crushed mint with orange rind flavors. I can see this aging for more than a decade. Drink 2019-2028- 92
2016 Betz Family Winery ‘Domaine de Pierres’ Syrah- The ‘Domaine de Pierres’ Syrah is a spectacular wine that shows wonderful terroir from the vines that are set on stony terroir from their ‘Old Stone Vineyard.’ Sourced from the Walla Walla Valley, the wine shows wonderful stony character on the nose with green olive, milk chocolate and peat moss aromas that build in the glass. The palate is plush and delights the senses. Green olive tapenade, milk chocolate, wet stone and red currant flavors all beautifully mingle together. Enjoy this great wine over the next five to ten years. Drink 2019-2024- 94
2015 Betz Family Winery ‘Possibility’ Red Wine- The ‘Possibility’ shows really good range on the nose from dried herbs to black fruits to chocolate tones. The mouthfeel is plush as the wine shows wonderful refinement and tension. Wild blackberry, huckleberry and crushed mint flavors impress. The minerality and light tannins of this wine suggest this is a long-ager. Drink 2019-2028- 92
2015 Betz Family Winery ‘Clos de Betz’ Red Wine- The 2015 ‘Clos de Betz’ by Betz Family Wines is a phenomenal wine from this storied Washington winery. The wine is primarily Merlot (65%) and shows sagebrush, milk chocolate and black cherry on the nose. The palate is plush, revealing a silky mouthfeel. Black tea, milk chocolate covered cherry and dried sage flavors all combine nicely. This beautiful, mineral-driven wine will cellar well for a decade or more. Drink 2019-2030- 93
2015 Betz Family Winery ‘Pere de Familie’ Red Wine- The 2015 'Pere de Famille' is a Cabernet based wine with a touch of Petit Verdot blended in. It was aged for 19 months in new French oak prior to bottling and the resultant wine starts out with a lovely combination of red and dark fruits along with green bell pepper nuances on the nose. The plush texture entices, as the wine unveils flavors of red cherries, wild blackberry cobbler, lavender and a kiss of milk chocolate. Balanced, with wonderful weight, this wine will likely begin to show its best after some short-term cellaring. Drink 2019-2033- 94