Origin: United States
- Columbia Valley
The 2014 vintage:
In the vineyards, 2014 marked the third year in a row for an early start for vine growth. Flowering, a crucial period in the vines annual cycle, took place under ideal weather conditions. The warm, calm weather resulted in one of the most compressed flowering periods in recent years, and very even berry size. This also meant that a large crop was hanging in the vineyards, which allowed growers to “green harvest”, a mid-season dropping of any bunches that were uneven or lagging behind in development. Steady heat continued through July and August, leading to the earliest harvest ever for Betz Family Winery: we picked our first grapes on September 3rd.
Over the following 4 weeks we harvested over 40 different vineyard blocks, many of them only 1-2 tons in size. Add to that our time in the vineyards in order to make the best harvest decisions possible, we visited and sampled each vineyard two to three times each week. We were rocking! The wines reflect the steady weather and even grape ripeness.
Reviewing our cellar tasting notes of the 2014 vintage reveals a record number of vineyard sites that achieved a quality level we will likely hold as reference points for years to come. Looking back at the 2014 harvest, we ask ourselves which factors during the growing season led to such success, in so many different varieties, in so many different vineyard sites across the Columbia Valley. Several factors are at play.
The early start to the growing season, from bud break, through flowering, and through to veraison meant that grape clusters enjoyed a greater number of days to reach maturity. The unbroken warm weather in 2014 resulted in a record number of growing days that “counted” toward grape maturity. Looser than average grape clusters, particularly in Cabernet Sauvignon, allowed a greater degree of light penetration to each individual berry. And lastly, the cool temperatures during the early mornings of harvest (when the grapes are picked) meant that the grapes were still cool by the time they reached the winery.
The vibrant shades of purple magenta are the first clue that 2014 is a special vintage of Père de Famille. The aromas follow suite, with a penetrating array of fruits and spices: Black currant, boysenberry, and black cherry lead the charge, with subtle nuances of bay leaf, rosemary, and cedar spice. The palate impression is one of great density and plushness, mirroring the aromatics, with anise and dark chocolate expressed in the lingering finish.
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