THE WINE ADVOCATE, JUNE 2016
2014 Bethel Heights Pinot Noir Casteel – 94
The 2014 Pinot Noir Casteel Reserve is more of a location-orientated cuvée since 2008, coming from two parcels within the Bethel Heights vineyard. It has a crisp and very focused bouquet with dark plum, cranberry leaf and cold stone aromas that show impressive transparency. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, very harmonious and cohesive with a supple texture, very pure with great tension and precision towards the finish. What a fabulous Pinot Noir – world class…one of the finest I tasted throughout my time in Oregon.
2014 Bethel Heights Pinot Noir West Block – 93
The 2014 Pinot Noir West Block comes from Bethel Heights’s oldest vines planted in 1977. It has a crisp, slightly chalky bouquet with redcurrant and cranberry scents, fine delineation and mineralité, though quite “serious” in style. The palate follows suit with firm and quite firm tannin; this is a serious style of Pinot Noir, but one beautifully balanced and focused, great tension from start to finish with a chalkiness coming through on the finish. This is an excellent Pinot Noir that should repay long-term ageing.
2014 Bethel Heights Chardonnay Casteel – 92
The 2014 Chardonnay Casteel Reserve showed great depth and intensity. It has a perfumed nose of white flowers and melted candle wax, very well defined with lime and frangipane aromas developing. The palate is well balanced with a crisp, citrus lemon and lime-driven opening… Tasting through their 2014s and a couple of early-bottled 2015 whites, Bethel Heights once again proved that they are one of the few Oregon producers to offer exemplary wines of both colors.
2014 Bethel Heights Chardonnay Justice Vineyard – 92
The maiden 2014 Chardonnay Justice Vineyard has an attractive nose of lime flower, pecan nuts and chalk dust, quite Mâconnais in style. The palate is clean and fresh on the entry, pralines and honeycomb notes with a lovely smoked walnut tincture lending it a Meursault-like finish… Bethel Heights once again proved that they are one of the few Oregon producers to offer exemplary wines of both colors.
2014 Bethel Heights Pinot Noir Flat Block – 92
The 2014 Pinot Noir Estate Flat Block, from vines planted back in 1979 at around 538 vines per acre, has a perfumed, more floral bouquet than the 2014 Justice Vineyard, with crushed strawberry and redcurrant aromas that are well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, impressive weight in the mouth, very finessed with a crisp, quite mineral-driven finish that lingers. There is something joyful and effortless about this Pinot Noir and it comes highly recommended.
2014 Bethel Heights Pinot Noir Southeast Block – 90
The 2014 Pinot Noir Southeast Block, from vines planted in 1979, perhaps does not quite deliver the precision of the Flat Block that sits just above this vineyard. The fruit here is a shade darker, maybe earthier. The palate is medium-bodied with quite firm tannin in the mouth, linear and very focused, dark berry fruit laced with sous-bois and light spicy notes, leading to a structured finish that will probably need 2-3 years to really mellow and find its groove.