Bésoleil is our Spanish/French whimsy for “kissed by the sun”. It alludes to the warm, sunny days in the south of France that impart an intensity of character to the Grenache grape and its southern Rhône relatives. Imagine the windswept vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the inspiration for this wine, where Grenache thrives alongside a dozen or more other grape varieties.
The story of Bésoleil begins with our long-held belief that a precise marriage of soil and site can produce a profound expression of Grenache in Washington. We put that belief to the test with Bésoleil’s first vintage in 2003. While the Grenache in the earliest vintages of Bésoleil was sourced from various vineyards throughout the Columbia Valley, two sites in particular (Olsen Vineyards in the Yakima Valley and Upland Vineyards on Snipes Mountain) have excelled as uniquely distinctive for Grenache. These two sites are the sources for the entirety of the Grenache in Bésoleil today.
Grenache is the star of Bésoleil, but it’s not the whole story. Additional southern Rhône varieties have found their way into the blend and today the wine includes Counoise, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Our cellar treatment has also evolved in several ways in order to promote additional nuance from these southern Rhône gems. Larger, neutral oak cooperage of 300 and 500 liters provides less surface-to-volume ratio, resulting in slower evolution and less oak influence in the final wine. Aging up to two-thirds of the blend in concrete vessels helps maintain a bright, fresh fruit character.
2015 marks the second vintage in a row that Cinsault, Counoise, and Mourvèdre have all played a larger than usual role in Besoleil. The quality of these “southern Rhone” grapes has been rising as growers and winemakers learn how to handle them. Through careful management of yields, and a strict selection process during harvesting, these grapes express more intense flavors than ever before.
This years Bésoleil reflects a wide range of sites in the Yakima Valley. Upland and Olsen vineyards both supply Grenache grapes for this blend. The character of Upland Grenache is fleshly with a soft texture. Here the fruit is delicate, offering cherry and raspberry flavors. Olsen vineyard Grenache is denser, with darker fruits and more spice. Olsen Grenache imparts all important tannic structure, providing “tension’ to the blend.
Cinsault, Mourvedre, and Counoise are all farmed at Olsen Vineyard. Cinsault contributes a velvety texture, with bright Raspberry fruit and floral notes. Counoise provides aromatic complexity including white and black pepper, fresh herbs, and lilac blossom. Mourvèdre brings stucture, combingin the perfume of blackberry blossoms with the herbal tones the grape is known for.
|Vintage:||2015||Grape Varietals:||32% Grenache, 22% Mourvèdre, 21% Syrah, 20% Cinsault, 5% Counoise||ABV:||13.8%|
|Aging:||12 months in 100% used French oak, all large-format barrels|
|Serving Temp:||60 - 62°F|
Aged for 12 months in 100% used French oak, all large-format barrels. Malolactic fermentation. Non-filtered.
Oldest Grenache planting in Washington from Upland Vineyard (vines 10-39 years old). Situated on the ancient riverbed of the Columbia River with CDP-like riverine stones underneath.
|Item Number||Unit||Units/Case||Type||UPC - bottle||SCC - case||SRP/Unit|
|W0EE323020GRL||750ml||12||Glass||7 84585 01585 6||1 07 84585 01585 3||$52.50|
"A blend of 55% Grenache, 23% Mourvèdre, 11% Syrah and 11% Cinsault, the 2016 Bésoleil represents the Betz Family Winery's homage to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Offering up attractively complex aromas of cherries, kirsch, white pepper, spice, potpourri and licorice, it's medium to full-bodied, sappy and succulent, with velvety structuring tannins and bright acids. - William Kelley"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #237, June 2018), 94 pts
"Bright raspberry and red-plum fruits with attractive depth and freshness. This has all you want in a Rhône-style blend. Good depth of flavor and focused structure. Blend of 55% grenache, 23% mourvedre, 11% syrah and 11% cinsault. Drink through the next decade."
- James Suckling (May 2018), 93 pts
"Moving more and more from Olsen Vineyard, which is 20 miles northwest of Red Mountain (where they love working with the grower, who is proactive and responsive), the medium ruby/purple-colored 2016 Besoleil is 55% Grenache, 23% Mourvèdre, 11% Syrah and the rest Cinsault, all aged in a mix of neutral barrels. It offers beautiful notes of red plums, blueberries, white and black pepper and herbs de Provence, medium to full-bodied richness, a silky, elegant style, and integrated acidity. It's another beautiful vintage of this wine that will keep for a decade."
- Jeb Dunnuck (April 2018), 92 pts
"Elegant and refined, with pretty raspberry and floral accents that glide on a long finish. Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Cinsault. Drink now through 2023. 450 cases made. –TF"
- Wine Spectator (July 2018), 90 pts
"The first vintage where they’ve pushed the bottling back to give the cuvee 16-18 months in barrel, the 2015 Besoleil is a dead ringer for a high-quality Chateauneuf du Pape and offers perfumed notes of herbes de Provence, kirsch, licorice and sweet spice. It’s medium to full-bodied, textured and fruit-forward, with a hedonistic yet elegant profile that’s going to evolve gracefully. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #231, June 2017), 91-93 pts
"Always an enjoyable, outstanding effort, the 2014 Grenache Besoleil offers classic notes of cherries, herbes de Provence, red plums and pepper in a fine, elegant, medium to full-bodied style. Drink it over the coming 7-8 years. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #225, June 2016), 91 pts
"Medium red. Sexy, high-toned red cherry and red berry aromas showcase the wine's Grenache component (but this vintage features the lowest percentage to date of this variety). Bright, ripe raspberry and cherry flavors are complicated by smoky and peppery nuances. A very graceful red blend with sweet tannins and excellent persistence. - Stephen Tanzer"
- Vinous (November 2016), 91 pts
"This wine is a blend of Grenache (49%), Syrah (20%), Cinsault (16%), Mourvèdre (9%) and Counoise. Complex aromas of raspberry, blueberry, dried herbs and pepper lead to reserved yet rich fruit flavors that put a premium on purity. Give it time to open up."
- Wine Enthusiast (March 2016), 92 pts
"Bottled last November, the 2013 Grenache Besoleil has slightly more Syrah, with the final blend being 49% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 16% Cinsault, 9% Mourvedre and the rest Counoise. Aged 11 months in a combination of different sized barrels, 25% being new, it's a elegant, medium to full-bodied, Provencal-styled effort that has lots of sweet red and black fruits, garrigue and hints of cured meats. It's a total charmer that will have 10-12 years of overall longevity. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate, (Issue 219, June 2015), 92 pts
"Aged in 25% new oak for 11 months. Good dark red. Musky if slightly subdued aromas of redcurrant, raspberry, plum and coffee, with earthy and floral notes adding complexity. Wonderfully smoky and sweet on the palate, offering a plush, seamless texture and noteworthy density to the red fruit and meaty oak flavors. Still a bit reduced and firmly tannic on the aftertaste. Betz noted that he's moving steadily away from new oak. - Stephen Tanzer"
- Vinous (November 2015), 92 pts
"A Rhone-styled blend, the 2012 Besoleil is made from 50% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 15% Syrah and 15% Mourvedre that's aged all in neutral oak. Gorgeous on all accounts, it has fantastic density and depth, with medium to full-bodied richness, beautiful freshness and classic Grenache-driven aromas and flavors of raspberry, black raspberry, pepper, herbs de Provence and flowers. Already hard to resist, it should evolve gracefully for over a decade. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate, (Issue 213, June 2014), 94 pts
"(54% grenache, 15% cinsault, 12% each counoise and mourvedre and 7% syrah): Moderately saturated bright medium red. Sexy aromas of red berries, cherry, lavender and rose petal, plus a faint rocky quality. Suave and weightless in the mouth, with bright red fruit and floral flavors complicated by dried thyme, lavender and pepper nuances. Lovely juicy wine with excellent intensity and saline grip. This is the first vintage of this bottling to include counoise, which Bob Betz says has contributed spiciness."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (Nov/Dec 2013), 92+
".Starting off the Rhone blends, the 2011 Besoleil is a perfumed, supple vintage of this cuvee and offers up lively wild strawberry-driven fruit, white pepper, gunpowder and herbes de Provence-styled aromas and flavors. Made from 51% Grenache, 18% Cinsault, 12% Counoise, 12% Mourvedre and 7% Syrah, it is a medium-bodied, elegant and downright juicy southern Rhone-styled blend that will be ready to go on release and age gracefully for 5-7 years. Drink now-2020.- JD"
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (2013), 91-93 pts