THE WINE ADVOCATE, OCTOBER 2012
2010 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Casteel Reserve – 92
Combining fruit from several sweet spots on their property (and reflecting two Dijon clones and a bit of Wadenswil), the Bethel Heights 2010 Pinot Noir Casteel Reserve displays a delightfully juicy and flower-bedecked amalgam of red and black currant, elderberry and cherry, as well as a polished feel and saliva-inducing undertone of nut oils and salted, fatty roasting pan scrapings that send my salivary glands into palpitations. And there’s a real ping of energy in this wine’s dynamic and sustained finish. This ought to be worth following for a decade.
2010 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Flat Block – 91
Bethel Heights’ 2010 Pinot Noir Flat Block – from Pommard Selection vines planted in 1979 – evinces sour cherry with fresh ginger as well as orange and lemon zest. Infectiously juicy and bright; polished in texture but pointed; it delivers a vibrant finish, its fruit capped with crushed stone and mouthwatering salinity.
2010 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Southeast Block – 91
Bethel Heights’ 2010 Pinot Noir Southeast Block reflects a deeper soil than that of other blocks of Bethel Heights. A maritime mingling of salt and alkali along with black tea smokiness and bittersweet floral perfume inflect dried cranberry, dried cherry and red licorice in the multifaceted nose and interactively complex palate performance of a Pinot that should remain more than merely viable over the next 8-10 years.
2010 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir West Block – 91
The Bethel Heights 2010 Pinot Noir West Block from their estate – showcasing a 1977 Wadenswil planting – is alluringly scented with iris and violet as well as dark cherry and blackberry that then inform a silken-textured palate. The tart edge one expects from this vintage and sub-region – not to mention from the present collection – is here in spades, despite the extra textural allure; and a saliva-stimulating combination of salt and iodine brings this to a rousing conclusion that practically compels the next sip. As with the corresponding Justice bottling, I’d love to think that over the coming decade this would become yet more complex and perhaps take on just a bit more fat, but who can know?
2010 Bethel Heights Vineyard Pinot Noir Justice Vineyard – 91
From a vineyard just below their original estate, but farmed by them, the Bethel Heights 2010 Pinot Noir Justice Vineyard boasts abundant ripe but tart-edged blackberry suffused with saliva-liberating salinity as well as black tea and bay laurel. With fine-grained tannins and a superb sense of sheer cling as well as vibrant “ping,” this is surely a quintessential, lean and energetic exemplar of its vintage and appellation that ought to perform well for the better part of a decade, during which it will hopefully pick up yet further complexity and perhaps a bit more