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.
Wine & Spirits Magazine, June 2014
Vinous and concentrated, this has a tannic undergirding that seems a hallmark of the 2011 vintage. There’s nice polish to the texture, a vinous core supporting dried plum and black cherry scents, and a subtle earthiness that suggests squab as a pairing.Bethel Heights 2011 Eola-Amity Hills Estate Flat Block Pinot Noir – 91
Lean and taut, this wine’s scents of rye and lavender rise out of a core of dark cherry fruit. It’s lean, in keeping with the vintage, and could use a little time in the cellar for its elements to coalesce.
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, July/August 2014
Brilliant ruby. High-pitched, mineral-laced red and dark berry scents are complemented by notes of cola, anise and vanilla bean. Silky and open-knit on entry, offering sweet black raspberry and rose pastille flavors that tighten up with air and pick up an exotic blood orange nuance. Shows excellent clarity and lift on the finish, which is framed by silky tannins.2012 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Casteel Eola-Amity Hills - 92
Ruby-red. Intense mineral- and spice-accented aromas of red berries, cherry pit and fresh rose, with a hint of cola building with air. Shows excellent clarity and power in the mouth, offering sappy raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and a suave touch of spicecake. Finishes with a snap of juicy acidity, supple tannins and strong floral persistence.2012 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Estate Eola-Amity Hills - 90
Bright red. Spicy black raspberry and cherry pit on the nose, with notes of white pepper and allspice adding complexity. Juicy and focused, offering cherry and dark berry flavors with a touch of medicinal bitterness. Turns sweeter with air and shows very good clarity on the finish, which is firmed by dusty, fine-grained tannins that fold smoothly into the wine's fruit.2011 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Carter Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills - 91
Brilliant ruby-red. Pungent dark berries, cherry pit and licorice on the nose, with subtle herb and earth nuances adding complexity. Sappy and focused, offering bitter cherry and blackberry flavors and a touch of spicecake on the back half. Finishes with strong tangy cut, a touch of cola and echoing dark berry and allspice qualities.2011 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Justice Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills - 90
Brilliant ruby-red. High-pitched redcurrant, cherry and floral scents are complemented by suggestions of anise and succulent herbs. Lively and precise on the palate, offering tangy red fruit and bitter chocolate flavors that unwind slowly, picking up sweetness and a hint of five-spice powder. Chewy tannins firm the finish, which lingers with very good focus and vivacity.2011 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Southeast Block Eola-Amity Hills - 91
Intense red berry and cherry pit aromas are complicated by anise, woodsmoke and musky underbrush. Appealingly sweet raspberry and rose pastille flavors are firmed by juicy acidity, picking up a peppery nuance with aeration, along with a touch of bitter herbs. Closes sappy, focused and quite long, with firming tannins building slowly and evenly.2011 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Flat Block Eola-Amity Hills - 90
Ruby-red. Aromas of dried cherry, redcurrant and peppery spices, with notes of licorice and musky earth adding depth. On the palate, incisive bitter cherry and licorice flavors are given spine by juicy acidity and unfold slowly with air. Becomes steadily sweeter on the nicely focused finish, which is firmed by fine- grained tannins.
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.