Washington Wine Club – October 2009

2007 Betz Family Wines, Bésoleil
A highlight of every fall at West Seattle Cellars is the visit of Carmen Betz, bearing the wonderful Rhone-based wines from her dad’s winery. Although the Cote Rousse and La Serenne Syrahs have both gotten too pricy (and too limited) to put in this club, we were overjoyed when Carmen and Bob offered us enough of the Bésoleil, their classic southern Rhone blend, for this club. Bob’s strategy with this wine has been to raise the concentration of Grenache to take advantage of the increasing varietal purity of our state’s Grenache vines. Grenache is fully 80% of this year’s wine, with the balance composed of 15% Mourvedre and 5% Syrah. Bob feels that a new source for the Grenache, the Olsen Estates in the Yakima Valley, brought greater vibrancy and a depth of color to the blend. Not surprisingly, the 2007 is a red fruit infused stunner, with licorice, black pepper, spice and even a bit of “garrigue,” the earthy, dried herb-lavender note typical of these southern Rhone blends. The Bésoleil has good structure and can age for at least ten years. We have small amounts available, along with a couple of magnums of this wine and the two Syrahs. The regular bottle of the Bésoleil is $49.75.

2007 Walla Walla Vintners, Pepper Bridge Vineyard Malbec
Walla Walla Vintners has always been one of the most solid and reliable wineries in the state. So, when we had a chance to grab this single vineyard bottling of Washington’s most exciting new grape, a collaboration of winemakers Myles Anderson and Gordy Venneri with one of the top vineyards in Walla Walla, we grabbed it. This particular parcel of Malbec was planted in 1999 and it has definitely come into its own. The wine is inky violet in color, has a nose of tobacco and raisins, and a jammy mid-palate with a lengthy finish of crushed ripe cherries in cream. Ready to drink and great on its own, it would also be delicious with your favorite blackberry tart or crumble. It’s only $29.75, and we have some extra available, but don’t delay if you want more! Myles and Gordy made only about 180 cases, and only nine cases came to Seattle.