Betz Family Winery 2007 Bésoleil grenache

What a terrific weekend this has been, so far. Did I call it or what…college football hasn’t been this exciting for years?! Oklahoma is the latest no. 1 to bite the dust. Huskies and Cougs both lose (as expected). Texas, Tennessee, and Oklahoma State get their faces jammed into a bowl of chili. And, best of all, I have a chunk of new cash to go spend in Woodinville tasting rooms.

Those of you loyal readers who have been following my recent blog posts know I am all about entertainment and relevant information, all the while not succumbing to selected interests that can poison a blogger’s opinions.

Let’s be clear about this…I first blogged about initiatives 1100 and 1105 way back on September 22. I actually waited for someone, anyone, with at least a half decent wine blog to comment on these issues. No one stood up. I gathered that these issues would be divisive and for those wine-moochers, it was not a good idea to “bite the hand” that fed them freemiums. Fine. Whatevers.

It wasn’t until AFTER my blogpost on the initiatives that others finally took a stand, first starting with the folks at winepeeps the following day. After that, the floodgate literally opened, with only the oldest of old sloths yet to take a firm stand on their views.

Then, we come to today and…not a single wine blogger has the balls (or the lips) to acknowledge my original views that have coincidentally (and subsequently) been supported by many major media organizations. Is there any other wine blogger in Washington that understands (and practices) unbiased journalism? And we all wonder why wine blogging has essentially no effectiveness whatsoever? I have no problem with an apology when I make a clear error in accuracy of facts. (See my post with Gramercy Cellars). Have you heard of such an apology from other bloggers? Of course not. They are so into themselves that they have lost their interest in their readers.

The worst “crime” these wine bloggers commit is their steadfast refusal to admit their shortcomings. First sandbagger, woodinvillewineupdate. Formerly looked upon for the latest information on wineries in Woodinville, this blog has devolved into stealing my information posted on my Twitter site. This blog author stole information about new tasting room openings,, information about the World Class Value Pass, and my original theme on weekend events at Woodinville wineries (and a truly pathetic imitation at that), while blowing farts on a new Seattle area Wal-Mart-like wine store, a daytrip to Mt. Rainier, a “featured winery of the month” in September only (so far) on an establishment that is not even a winery (and just who is it in the month of October, toots?), and..enough!

Next up is writeforwine. Mind you, this author only writes about the freebies she receives or the wine clubs she belongs to when she can gimp on over to such wineries. Examples: “(winery) does it again with  a 100% rich Syrah…” (oh, that tells me everything I need to know), “this Cab paired perfectly with Chateau Briand” (you paired a wine with another wine? If you were referring to a sublime piece of meat, it’s spelled chateaubriand), and on a syrah—“hits all the right notes” and a cabernet “we know firsthand why (the wine) received a 93 from (WS) and 92 from (WE)” (wow, with those descriptors, you should be writing for a major rag).

And, lastly, let’s hype it up by calling the 2010 vintage a “Perfect Storm” (of disaster) all the while denying that this could be the reference vintage for areas like Red Mountain, Rattlesnake Hills, and Horse Heaven Hills. And, to back it up, let’s litigate against the “Seattle Sun Gods, Ltd” for a “seeming lack of interest in sunny weather.” You would think you were reading the “odd news” section in my own blog posts. It’s true, it’s true.

Compare that bunk to my own set: a two-parter on Blackwood Canyon Vintners—the Red Mountain winery most avoided in the AVA; the initiatives 1100 and 1105; a refresher on WA State symbols; history of Harrison Hill (home of the 2nd oldest cabernet sauvignon vines and with ties to the “grandfather” of the local wine industry); how a winery stays “under the radar”; a couple of wines that donate proceeds to charities; a story behind the altered name of a winery; and an educational course on what “growing degree days” is all about and why it’s so important at this time of year. QED.

Washington grenache will be among the top three red varietals in time, due to its elegance and finesse. Strength and power are not associated with this varietal. Consider this Washington’s version of Oregon pinot noir. The basic flavor profile is also similar: red berries, spices, and a pinch of glycerrhizin. Grenache may be one of the most cultivated wine grapes in the world, but it takes a skilled grower and winemaker to sidestep the lack of acids, tannins and color. Grenache requires a lot of heat (Climate Region III) and a long ripening period, of which only the hottest AVAs in Washington provide.

Quick: what is the bonded winery number for Chateau Ste. Michelle and what was the company’s first wine made from?

Grenache is best known on the left coast as the grape that ushered in the modern movement toward varietal wines. In the early 50’s, while the nation was awash in fortified wines, California wineries started a new trend with grenache rosé wines. Almaden Grenache Rosé was among the best sellers in Washington and a local winery, American Wine Growers (today’s Chateau Ste. Michelle), followed quickly with a copy of its own in a 1956 version under a Granada label, likely from vines planted in 1950.

Betz Family Winery is known for wines of discriminating character and well-balanced power, strength, depth, and finesse, so I was curious to understand why this grenache was in the portfolio. The 2007 southern Rhone-version is 80% grenache, 15% mourvedre, and 5% syrah. Knowing this, I expected a “grenache on steroids” and that is what was in the bottle. I tend to be a stickler to labeled varietals being true to the listed grape and that, for the most part, means at least 85% of the listed varietal, in accordance with most other countries. However, I’m no Master of Wine; just a typical snot-nosed consumer that enjoys a fine bottle of wine. And, this was a fine bottle.

Food pairing was simple spaghetti with a buttered bag of frozen mixed veggies. Oh man!

Tasted at 42-63 degrees on the IR temp gun. A basket of ripe strawberries and raspberries rush out of the black-cherry-filled glass while a welterweight feel on the palate leads to a moderately lengthy lineup of red berries, red licorice, violets, black pepper and lavender. Best shown above 60 degrees. Grenache up front with a big mid-lift from the supporting cast of grapes. Am looking forward to a 2015 version of this.

Alcohol: 14.8%. Grenache from Olsen Estates. Rated: 91. Paid: $44. Value: $35. Music pairing: “The Fool” by Sanford Clark. This is WAwineman…uncorked and tired of underperforming wine blogs.

Answer: Bonded winery number 8 and apples.

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