2017 Betz Family Winery, The Untold Story, $35
Winery info: Bob Betz has long been one of Washington’s most respected winemakers and is one of the few people in the world to have earned the Master of Wine degree. He sold his winery in 2011, remaining as patriarch, mentor, and winemaker. In 2016 Louis Skinner was promoted to winemaker and Bob became consulting winemaker. Their Untold Story is a special wine, created to be an ode to the trailblazers of the Washington wine industry. As strong believers in giving back to their community, they decided to use proceeds from the 2017 Untold Story to help fight the battle against the coronavirus pandemic in our state. They are donating 15% of all wholesale sales to the Seattle Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
Winemaker: Louis Skinner
Grapes: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah, 10% Merlot
Vineyard Source: Cabernet, primarily Red Mountain; Syrah, a mix of Ciel du Cheval and Boushey.
Flavor profile: Untold Story has aromas and flavors of dark, savory fruit, cassis, and a touch of dried herbs and spice, with smooth texture, fresh acidity, and soft tannins.
Availability: They made about 1700 cases of this wine and it should be in decent supply for a while.
Drinkability: Delicious now or over the next several years.
Food Pairing: Seasoned grilled ribs, cedar-planked salmon, or richer Indian dishes, like Masala.
2016 Cadence, Tapteil Vineyard, $45
Winery info: Cadence hardly needs any introduction. Winemaker Ben Smith produced his first vintage in 1998 and has gone on to become one of the most respected winemakers in the state, if not the country. His focus is on Bordeaux varietals from select vineyard sites. He pours his current releases in the shop every January, and they always show up in our Washington Club soon after that. We featured his 2016 Bel Canto in the March club—this month we include his Tapteil blend from the same vintage.
Winemaker: Ben Smith
Grapes: 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Cabernet Franc, and 29% Merlot.
Vineyard source: Tapteil, a high-elevation, windy vineyard, near the top of Red Mountain with some of the oldest vines Ben works with. It tends to produce wines with firm tannic structure. The deep roots of the older vines are able to draw more minerality from the soil, giving the wine its great sense of place.
Flavor profile: Ben’s Tapteil typically has an inviting dusty, minerally quality, a unique characteristic of the vineyard. The powerful, deep, 2016 has wonderful structure and balance, with flavors of red and black fruit, and undertones of earth and spice.
Availability: About 340 cases were made and it is still in relatively good supply.
Drinkability: Ben’s wines really start to open up about four or five years from vintage. Give this one a 45-minute to one-hour decant before serving, then enjoy it over the next five to six years.
Food Pairing: Tapteil goes well with foods that have bold, rich flavors, especially fattier red meat such as steak (New York or ribeye), or lamb. Or perhaps a deluxe cheeseburger!