Betz Family Winery 2006 La Serenne syrah

Well, this has been a most interesting start to the year. I was strongly advised by a prominent winemaker to ‘kiss and make up’ with all the other local wine bloggers, so I duly complied and visited with as many buggers, er…bloggers, that consented to being stroked. So, here’s my report. Names may be fictitious to protect the real clowns.

The first flaky broad I hooked up with was Shona. She was all too happy to see me at a shall-not-be-named Woodinville tasting room and I should have suspected something was up as she couldn’t keep her hands off me. Now, me being the Johnny-handsome dude that I is, I found her groping quite flattering until I woke up the next day with lumpuckeroo everywhere she touched me. Hey Shona, thanks for the three steroid shots (and weird looks from the hot nurses) I had to get in the emergency room.

After recovering, I figured she was just upset so I forgave her and we met up behind Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill to see if Sean had some secret family he was hiding. After all, when you’re as old as he is, there’s gotta be kids and an angry spouse (notice I didn’t say wife) somewhere under his britches. So, we hid out across the street and we spotted Sean appear out of nowhere (maybe he was in the bushes doing his business or just fap’ing). We didn’t want him to notice us so, this is so gross, me and Shona cuddled in the entrance way and made all intimate kinda like the two dudes in the next apartment building. Two horrible impressions freaked me out. First, being that close to Shona gave me a creepy feeling that I was like in the gravitational field of the Death Star. I just couldn’t get away despite all my cringing. Second, a more disturbing image came to my mind…I was trading spit with Barney Rubble. Hey, just saying, ya know. Yabba dabba do!

Later that day, I met up with Margot over at Sip Restaurant to compete in the Wine-ter O-gimp-ics, only held once every four years. She guzzled all that free wine, then was the first out the door gimping over to Purple Café. I caught up with her but, again, she tanked her share of free wine and appetizers then sped off as only a genuine hobbler could over to Patterson Cellars tasting room. Yet again, that Margot mooched down her free wine and peglegged it over to the finish line at McCarthy & Schiering on Queen Anne. The final challenge was to write a quality blogpost. Her fingers were flying but her post was judged far inferior due to multiple syntax errors and poor flow. So much for being a “national journalist.” She lost the gold medal to me but offered to toast me with a free pour of cheap Champagne that was featured that day, but when I turned my back to grab a wine glass, she instead clocked me with a freshly-autographed book on essential Walla Walla wineries and slide-pok-slide-pok’d her way out of the shop.

Instead of watching the Seahawks-Bears football game, I invited Babs over for some cheap Australian syrah and to tell her how much I looked forward to vacationing in the Dominican Republic at her invitation. You see, Babs (aka seattlewinehooch) has serious mental issues which are compounded by the colorful gray weather this time of year. This old hag rewrote the standard for “psycho hose beast” that is now an accepted disease code in the DSM-IV. I tempted her to take some of my cellmate’s Zyprexa pills, but I slipped and called her a “crazy bitch” for taking so many. She took it wrong and flung the pills, some of which lodged in the back of my eyesocket, then sat on my expensive custom-built laptop and queef’d on it before storming out. I tried to reboot it, but I could only hear my laptop say it couldn’t combat all the viruses it got sprayed with, and died a tortured death.

With that, I reported back to my prominent winemaker friend the shriveled fruits of my reconciliation tour, of which he only busted a gut with laughter and retorted he was only kidding. Thanks a lot, buddy!

This will be the first of many reviews that touch on some past classics. I know, I know, you can’t purchase these anymore, but let this be a lesson to you wine watchers: get the current vintage and let it sit a few years then taste what “patience is rewarded” means.

I have traveled neither far nor wide, but I have hit about a hundred tasting rooms in the last year plus, and have not heard a single word of contempt for this man they call Bob Betz. Refer to his wines and the replies are always on par with ‘wow!’, ‘year in and year out, among the very best’, ‘a complete wine’, and… yeah you get the message. Hey anyone can make great wine (I jest), but what about the man? Forget it. No one has ever confused him with Charles Smith. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, describes Bob as ‘a pure gentleman’, ‘a most wonderful man’, ‘a reincarnated Dale Carnegie’, and… yeah, you get my drift. And no, I do not say this only because he has some gorgeous women in his family. I know Carmen’s married with kids. Let it go, okay? Just leave me alone and let me hope.

‘La Serenne’ was Bob’s first syrah offering, going back to 1999. His first vintage used grapes from Kiona Vineyard on Red Mountain. Subsequent vintages have since relied on Dick Boushey’s eponymous vineyard in the Yakima Valley, while Bob’s Kiona bottling was renamed ‘La Côte Rousse’ in 2000. I was initially building a vertical of La Serenne, but the 2008 La Côte Rousse was at another level of sophistication so I blew up my plans and just stuck with whatever tasted better during one of the winery’s only two openings per year to its customer list.

I popped the cork on this to celebrate the recent offering of the winery’s Bourdeaux-style wines. In these dog-days of January as we hibernate our excitement for new releases in the freezing cold rain and snow, this is one of the very first signs that warmer days are just around the corner and there’s no need to jump off a freeway overpass and explode into several chunks.

Tasted at 62-67 degrees on the IR temp gun, this sultry liquid classic showed a youthful magenta flair in glass while emitting trademark earthy aromas of mushroom and autumn leaf pile. Someone check if the land under Boushey Vineyard was once a thriving rainforest. Slim and fit on the palate with an extraordinarily long presence of wet earth, black plum, black cherry, and a sublime cheeseball of dirt. Note that I did not say finish since the essences persisted into the next morning. Not kidding on that one. One crazy wine.

Alcohol: 14.5%. Columbia Valley AVA. Still a bit young so wait another year for perfect balance. A great pairing with Beecher’s Flagship Reserve cheese ($25/lb.). Rated: 95. Paid: $55. Value: $65. Music pairing: “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke, who would have celebrated his 80th birthday today. Cheers to that! This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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