Perfection in Balance: Betz 2017 Syrahs, Besoleil

Betz's 2017 Syrahs and Chateauneuf-style blend are the most balanced Syrah/Grenache line-up I've ever tasted from Washington. Ever. Balance is an overused term so I'll break it down: soaring fruit intensity, wonderful freshness, rich and silky textures, alcohol levels below 14%.

In searching for the right analogy, I was lucky to be served a perfect beef tenderloin roast Sunday evening. Fork tender, intense yet subtle flavor. Did I miss the marbling of a different cut, the char from wood fire, anything? Not for a second. That's the way perfection works.

$59.35 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($65.95 regular)

Us: Aromatic fireworks, lifting right out of the glass and straight into your happy-making senses. A cascade of red and black raspberries have a wonderfully savory-salty accent that hums through the finish, grabbing morsels of smoke and cocoa for the ride. An underlying structure, more like a shadow, adds weight to what is already a textural beauty.

94 points Wine Spectator: "Silky and elegantly complex, with expressive violet and black raspberry aromas that open to refined and polished black cherry, smoked pepper and licorice flavors, dancing toward fine-grained tannins. Drink now through 2027." Also 95+ points from Jeb Dunnuck.

$59.35 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($65.95 regular)

Us: This blew me away! Lavender, crushed summer black berries, and white pepper leads to an amazingly velvety texture carrying black fruits, dark chocolate, and roasting coffee. Even with the fullness and richness of flavor, it floats through the finish, never feeling heavy. By a hair, my favorite of the two Syrahs.

Also, 95 points from Jeb Dunnuck and 95 points from James Suckling.

$49.45 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($45.95 regular)

Us: This ode to Chateauneuf du Pape is easily, easily my favorite Besoleil. So elegant, so pure, so bright, so balanced, it is the rare Washington red that would be a great match for salmon.

93 points Wine Spectator: "Sleek and harmonious, with pretty violet, raspberry and peppered meat accents that take on layers of complexity as this sails toward polished tannins. Grenache, Mourvèdre, Counoise and Syrah. Drink now through 2025."