Want to know what the critics have to say about Bethel Heights for current and past vintages? We’ve got the highs (and sometimes the lows) for you to ponder.
The New York Times, December 19, 2013
"Why Oregon Will Fondly Remember 2011" - Eric Asimov
The wine panel recently tasted 20 bottles of 2011 pinot noir from Oregon...People like me who love pinot noirs of finesse and restraint will adore the 2011 vintage. The best wines are clear, focused and vivacious.
Fragrant, subtle and graceful, with stony, spicy berry flavors.
Wine Spectator, November 2013
A lovely, open-textured style, offering black cherry and mineral flavors against soft tannins, lingering enticingly. Drink now through 2017. 143 cases made. –HS
The Wine Advocate, October 2013
The Bethel Heights 2011 Pinot Noir Estate displays tart-edged dark plum and cherry with a glowingly cyanic enhancement from their pits. Infusions of fresh ginger, black tea, iris root and citrus oils are as vintage-typical as the wine’s brightness of fruit. Firm yet polished at mid-palate, this finishes with zesty invigoration and interactive complexity, benefiting from the levity and prominent acidity that are likewise vintage hallmarks. In short: a quintessential and delightful 2011 Willamette Pinot that offers fine value and ought to delight through at least 2018.2011 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Willamette Valley - 90
From a combination of Vita Springs and estate fruit, Bethel Height's basic, Willamette Valley appellation 2011 Pinot Noir projects vintage typically juicy, tart cherry and red currant that contrast yet compliment fascinatingly and deliciously a saliva-inducing undertone of marrow-rich veal stock. There is a striking and exhilarating buoyancy here borne at least in part of the mere 12.0% alcohol. A berry seed crunch lends invigoration to a mouthwateringly sustained finish, capping an excellent value that should drink beautifully through at least 2017, though quite possibly well beyond.2011 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Carter Vineyard - 91
Sage, saliva-drawing charred meat, dark cherry, blackberry and chard are the prominent components that make Bethel Heights 2011 Pinot Noir Carter Vineyard pungently, piquantly, and mouthwateringly impressive, as well as surprisingly complete and complex considering it originates with a single Dijon clone (#115). Firm but polished in feel and palpably extract-rich, it finishes with almost startling grip. While not as elegant or vibrant as this year's SoutheastBlock, we have here a dense ball of energy that should be worth following through at least 2022.2011 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Illahe Vineyard - 91
Believing the quality of fruit from this vineyard in 2011 to be too good to just blend into their generic Pinot, the Casteels have bottled a dedicated 2011 Pinot Noir Illahe Vineyard. Deep ferrous and beef blood low-tones here could almost be mistaken for those of a Syrah, but the vivacity and levity as well as the exuberantly juicy brightness of tart dark plum and blackberry are all-Pinot, as is the sense of melting-away tannins, which as the Casteels point out is a special tribute to this vintage and how they handled it, since this site - like neighboring Freedom Hill - has an, in their view, well-earned reputation for tough tannins. Earthy, stony and otherwise "mineral" nuances abound. And speaking of Syrah-like traits, there is a bite of black pepper adding to the invigoration of this Pinot's vibrant finish. It ought to merit following through at least 2020.2011 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Southeast Block - 92
The Bethel Heights' 2011 Pinot Noir Southeast Block - from one of several 1979 Pommard blocks on their estate - has an exposure that, in collaboration with relatively deep and water retentive soil - you might think would prove a handicap in largely rainy, ripeness-challenged 2011. Instead, the first things I notice here are the mouthwatering sense of salinity allied to deeply savory, marrow- and bone-rich meat stock. These mingle with juicy, crunchy seed and piquantly pit-inflected elderberry and sour cherry on a firm, unapologetically but finely tannic palate, leading to a finish of near vibratory grip and invigoration, to which black pepper and crushed stone add emphasis and intrigue. This unusually forceful yet somehow elegant expression of 2011 energy also illustrates this vintage's paradoxical potential for metaphoric darkness allied to acid-driven brightness. It will, I strongly suspect, be worth following through 2022, and quite possibly beyond.
The Wine Enthusiast, September 2013
Oregon’s Other Pinots “This estate-grown offering was a standout among several dozen tasted for this article. It’s loaded with bright fruit flavors of grapefruit and pear, and even in the ripe 2012 vintage, it maintains the trademark minerality and a detailed, focused finish.”
Portland Monthly, October 2013
Oregon's 50 Best Wines
“Every year for a decade, the Casteel family has chosen a few barrels that best express the vintage to create their sought-after Casteel Reserve. The 2011 selection shows stunning balance with intense concentration, low alcohol, and vibrant acidity, teeming with notes of blackberries, black currant, and cherries.”