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April 07, 2011

Betz Family Winery Sold

The breaking news from Paul Gregutt (via Storyteller Wine Company). Any my first reaction, my only reaction, was a calm, 21-gram exhale. One of the great errors of this blog has been my lack of focus on Bob Betz' wines, when--let's be candid here--I have a clear lean toward the wines of the Pacific Northwest. And yet I've managed to write about just one Betz wine: the brilliant, decadent, and thoughtful 2005 Betz Besoleil grenache, to this day one of the finest wines I've ever had. From anywhere. But I have had many of the Betz Family's bottles, from vintages of the Clos de Betz (which will have you believe in merlot again) to the Cote-Rotie-inspired La Serenne syrah. Who could write about them? I could hardly process them, much less take what I felt drinking those wines and turn that into words. And who would I be to say anything about this master (no, really, the guy's actually got a Master of Wine degree, which would be a PhD in any other field)? The Betz wines make me self-conscious. They make me question what, if anything, I really know about wine, and wonder if I'm wasting my time writing, when I should really devote my life to making it and sharing it with friends. I hope, so deeply and personally, that what Betz is calling a "partnership" is indeed that.

Almost universally regarded as one of this country's greatest winemakers [damn right], he told me "I'll still be the winemaker but not have to worry about the day to day business things, the payroll, etc. I will do the vineyard work, the crush, the blends... I get to do the fun stuff. I don't see a lot changing in terms of winemaking, vineyard sources, stuff in the cellar, protocol. I'm actually very excited about it. And we'll be able to carve out the one thing that has eluded us – time."
Because you can keep the vineyards. And the barrels. And the yeast. The same rain. The same sun. But winemakers make wine. And great winemakers make great wine. They put their name on it. So stick around, Bob.


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