2011 Betz "La Serenne" Columbia Valley Syrah
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(100% Boushey fruit planted to the Phelps clone in a higher-altitude site; aged in 45% new oak): Lucid red-ruby color. Aromatic scents of boysenberry and graphite. Lovely spicy, peppery lift and energy to the brooding, primary dark berry flavors. Intense and impeccably balanced wine with a light touch and lovely lingering perfume. This is a moderate 13.8% alcohol, with a relatively low pH (for this wine) of 3.62 and 6.1 grams per liter acidity. Owing to its serious inner-mouth tension, I'd wait a couple years before pulling the cork on this beauty. Incidentally, winemaker Betz cut the percentage of new oak aging from 65% to 45%, and noted that his crop level in 2011 was a good 15% lower than the previous year, partly due to the damaging frost in November of 2010. 93+ Points.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Coming from the Boushey Vineyard, which is the highest elevation vineyard of the three Syrahs, the 2011 Syrah La Serenne is 100% Syrah that was aged in a combination of new and neutral barrels. As with the Besoleil, it’s beautifully perfumed and elegant, with Cote-Rotie-like pepper, game and bacon fat to go with notions of blueberry, blackberry and violets. Medium-bodied, juicy, lively and pure, it’s a fabulous and elegant effort to enjoy over the coming decade. (JD)
Sourced entirely from the Boushey Vineyard, this is light but complex. A mix of rhubarb, pomegranate, earth and mushroom, it has a suggestion of savory umami flavors and even a hint of stable, all in good balance. (PG)
Lithe and sleek, this is lifted by a streak of acidity, with vibrant blackberry and floral flavors blazing through the finish. Drink now through 2019. (HS)