2011 Betz "La Côte Rousse" Red Mountain Syrah

SKU #1269970 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Darker in color, the opaque-purple 2011 Syrah La Cote Rousse is a richer, fuller Syrah that offers up plenty of chocolaty black fruits, crushed rock, pepper, liquid smoke and iron to go with a medium to full-bodied, balanced, concentrated, yet elegant and classy feel on the palate. Made from 100% Syrah and coming from 65% Ciel du Cheval and 35% Ranch at the End of the Road Vineyards, it has juicy acidity, but also excellent concentration and depth. It should evolve gracefully for 10-12 years. (JD)  (6/2014)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright ruby-red. Complex nose melds cranberry, licorice, minerals and smoke. Sappy, smooth and light on its feet, showing terrific lift to its sexy flavors of red berries, flowers, pepper and game. Youthfully sinewy and complex wine with a rising, perfumed finish showing great class. Really high-quality barrels here! Betz noted that he's now working to 'take down the overall astringency of the wines through reduced skin contact, generally gentler extraction, and more seed removal.' He explained: 'Red Mountain fruit does not need any more seed phenolics.' 93+ (ST)  (11/2013)

92 points Wine Enthusiast

 Red Mountain vines bring tight, sharply-etched fruit flavors of cranberry and raspberry into fine focus, with an underpinning of iron and rock. There's a slight suggestion of barnyard at the back of the finish. (PG)  (12/2013)

92 points Wine Spectator

 Though not weighty, this broad and opened version is brimming with plum, pomegranate, bay leaf and sweet leather flavors. Persists with elegance against refined tannins. Best from 2015 through 2019. (HS)  (6/2014)

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Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

Washington

- Washington has become one of the most important wine producing states in the United States, and development continues to grow rapidly. In 1969, when California was exploding as a wine producer, Washington had only two wineries, but by 2000 that number had passed 100. Most of Washington's grape crop goes to uses other than wine. Merlot and Chardonnay have been the most successful in Washington. It's interesting to note that Washington's prime wine regions are located at 46° north, along the same latitude as the legendary French wine districts of Bordeaux and Burgundy. During the summer, Washington averages more than two hours more sunlight each day compared to California.