Betz Family Winery 2009 Petite Rousse

Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted on March 6, 2010:

A 36 year-old Key West man won the island’s 48th annual Conch Blowing contest with a rendition of “Sabre Dance”. No word yet on whether Indiana-transplant ChrisinSunnyside won the Rogaine-sponsored Lincoln Beardgrowing contest. Starting in late-2011, Canada will replace their cotton-paper bank notes with sheets made of a synthetic polymer type of plastic. There was no comment when asked if the raw ingredients for the “plastic” will be sourced from local wine bloggers. In the “Rant and Rave” section of the paper is a “rant” about some local cheerleaders who trashed a plane on their flight home from a competition, disregarding their chaperones’ requests to return to their seats. Well…I didn’t know that wine bloggers conference is over with!

This weekend is Betz Family Winery Release Weekend, and along with Adams Bench new releases, the Hollywood Schoohouse traffic scene was quite a mess but well worth the disruption if you were lucky enough to attend both parties. Am I the only one that finds it ironic that King County police are there to help direct traffic into and out of the winery?

The beauty of Betz’s release parties is that it is a “private” party, meaning only those who purchased wines (from their closed mailing list) and their guest are invited. That means the wines must be pretty darn good, have a reputation for consistency, and are made in limited quantities. That sounds like Betz’s wines, alright! I have crooned about Bob and his winery in past reviews, but tonight’s wine is, in my case, a new addition to his portfolio. I found out they did make a very small lot last year, but it wasn’t formally offered to their customer list. This year, they made 55 cases and limited quantities to three bottles per customer. Here’s where your Washington Wineman shines as he/she gambled and bought the maximum allotment sight unseen. This is where reputation kicks in as I am keenly familiar that any wine Bob makes becomes the icon for that style. Think Pere de Famille for cabernets. Besoleil for grenache. And name any of his syrahs and they are perennial contenders for best Washington syrah. So, it’s no small feat that to be at a Betz party is fast becoming as valued as being invited to a Quilceda Creek weekender.

This wine was the first poured on entry to the Betz cellar and the color was quite a shocker. Rose (pronounced roh-zeh) wines are produced from red grapes and are quite often “bled” during the initial extraction period when the clear juice is in contact with the grape skins. Timing is essential as a matter of a few hours can turn from orange/pink to blush red to full-red and beyond. This “bleeding” also helps the remaining must (fresh-pressed juice with skins/seeds/stems) concentrate and darken as the ratio of skins to juice increases. This wine must have sat on the skins for as long as it could as I find the deep cherry-colored liquid probably the darkest of any rose wine from this State. It’s almost the color of a good grenache and definitely darker than some cheap California cabernets (don’t ask).

Tonight’s food pairing was simple spaghetti with meatballs, and along with today’s balmy spring weather, a near-perfect combination. Rose wines remind me of springtime, the blossoms, and a renewal and rebirth of life. Which reminds me, I now declare Spring has arrived in Woodinville! I’ve had a few good roses like that from DeLille Cellars to Cave B and think this could be Washington’s future strength of style. After all, if a winery can produce a top-flight red wine, then it should be a given that they are able to bottle an equally delicious rose-style wine, right? I think so, too.

Nose: light strawberry and raspberry with some pinkberry. Mouthfeel: H-two-oh so good! Tail trail: 5 seconds. Flavors: continuing from the nose, add a finish of some dark brown earth with none of the oddly sweet or tart/bitter flavors found in others. Balance: incredible parity from three grapes. Power: no no no, not in a rose. Depth: quite some with the dominant syrah and a healthy dose of mourvedre. Finesse: striking! Composition: 53% syrah, 37% grenache, 10% mourvedre (southern Rhone style). Drink asap and do not keep past Labor Day. Music pairing: “Cracklin’ Rosie” by Neil Diamond. Rated: 92. Value: $25. Paid: $25. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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