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.
San Francisco Chronicle, October 31, 20
2012 Bethel Heights Aeolian Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir ($42, 13.7%): Cousins Ben and Mimi Casteel are putting this stalwart property on an auspicious future track. Their Aeolian is a mix of vines about 15 to 20 years old in windier sections of their exposed Salem property, and it’s tightly wound in the way Oregon wines used to be. Even as it opens, it’s a sleek wine: bayberry and Bing cherry, more mineral and floral, not revealing an ounce of fat.
“Oregon’s ripe 2012 vintage — either a crowd-pleaser or a bit of a snooze, depending on your view. The good news: Several classic properties — Willakenzie, Brick House, Bethel Heights, to name three — were in fine form, finessing what could have been a forgettable year. Their wines show a welcome constancy against the whims of style.” Read more (sub req)
Wine & Spirits Magazine, October 2014
The aroma on this wine brings to mind warm apples in the sun, the fragrance touched by oak and finely integrated on the palate. The salinity of its texture gives it energy, grip and precision, with enough detail to merit pairing with coq au vin blanc.2012 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Casteel Eola-Amity Hills - 94
This has a dark resolve. Its red plum and floral scents, its focus and depth all gain with a day of air. But its texture is the marvel here, firm and muscular, with an acidity that gives the wine an almost propulsive quality. Decant it for leg of lamb.
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.