Washington Wine Club – April 2009

2006 Betz Family Winery, Clos de Betz, Columbia Valley Red Wine
Of the many spring releases we look forward to each year, the arrival of the Betz wines is always especially exciting. Winemaker Bob Betz is one of 265 people in the world who have passed the rigorous exams to be awarded the degree of Master of Wine. But it takes much more than knowledge and prestigious honors to make exquisite wine and Bob clearly has that passion and skill as well. This is evident in all of his wines, especially in his two Bordeaux blends, his Père de Famille, a Cabernet-based blend, and the Merlot-dominant Clos de Betz. Several years back we were able to fit both of these wines into the Washington Club, but ever-increasing acclaim, limited allocations, and rising costs make that impossible now.

While this wine is softer and meant for earlier consumption than the more powerfully structured Père de Famille, it could still use a few more years to develop and will easily hold for ten or more years beyond that. The grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec round out the Merlot) are sourced from Horse Heaven Hills, the Yakima Valley, and Red Mountain, and the result is an intense, layered wine with great depth and power; smooth and concentrated with a hint of spiciness. When it comes time to open it, enjoy it with a special meal of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, or your favorite special occasion fare. It is $47.25 and there is no more available, though we do have some of the Père de Famille.

2007 Buty Winery, Merlot/Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley
Buty is another winery that we have been great fans of since its inception; consequently their wines have been featured regularly in this club for years. While it is still a relatively young winery—Caleb Foster and Nina Buty-Foster started Buty in 2000—it has achieved much respect and acclaim in a short time, thanks to Caleb and Nina’s abundant talent and hard work. Their wines are now sought after throughout the country.

This year’s blend, 52% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Franc, is gorgeous already, although it has the structure to improve with age. The Merlot gives it soft, silky richness, while the Cabernet Franc adds spice and complexity. Most of the fruit for this wine comes from the sandy soils of the Connor Lee Vineyards, with some of the Cabernet Franc sourced from Champoux Vineyard 70 miles to the south in the Horse Heaven Hills. The longer growing season there helps ripen the fruit further, resulting in a rich, elegant wine that would pair perfectly with grilled meat, lamb or pork. They produced very little of this gem, but we were able to get enough put it in this month’s club at $36. We have one more case left, so if you’re interested in more, let us know soon.