It's no secret that I believe 2017 to be a spectacular vintage for Willamette Valley Pinot, a classic in the making. Talk to winemakers and you'll hear the same thing. I love the '17 Casteel because it's broad shouldered yet perfectly chiseled, delivering sumptuous fruit for the part of my brain that loves that and tons of electric intrigue for the other part. It strikes me at different moments as outgoing, then contemplative, even slyly mysterious. It exists outside the realm of a typical tasting note -- who needs "berries and spices" when you can have ethereal completeness? Not me. I urge you to add this to your collection, to savor it for days, to stash some for the future.
This is Willamette Valley Pinot noir royalty on full display. The only Bethel Heights Pinot that carries the family name, representing their favorite barrels, the epitome of the vintage.
And when Ben Casteel -- one of the most talented and most humble winemakers in the Valley --poured the '17 Casteel for me yesterday, my impression was confirmed. Ben said, "I think this is one of the best we've made." I corrected him. "The best."
2016 vintage notes
94 points Wine Advocate: "The nose of the 2016 Pinot Noir Casteel bursts from the glass with violet and lilac aromas over blueberry pie, cardamom, potpourri, bitter peel, tree bark and tilled loamy earth. Medium-bodied, the palate is packed full of blackberry and bramble berry preserves notes, with a wonderful frame of fine-grained tannins and loads of freshness, finishing very, very long with layer after layer of earth and savory notions."
2015 vintage notes
94 points Vinous: "Smoke-accented black raspberry, cherry cola and candied rose scents, along with hints of star anise and mocha. Silky, sweet and broad on the palate, offering juicy, densely packed red and blue fruit and spicecake flavors that pick up floral pastille and licorice flourishes as the wine opens up. Supple tannins add shape to a smooth, extremely long finish that leaves behind sappy red berry liqueur and five-spice powder notes." - Josh Raynolds
2014 vintage notes
94 points Wine Advocate: "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.
2012 vintage notes
Nothing short of incredible. I'm asked all the time if certain wines are "really that good." Yes, this is really that good. It's better, in fact. One of my top Pinots of the 2012 vintage, f-ing wow! Sexy and supple, amazingly deep and rich yet stunningly elegant. So superbly integrated and balanced. - Marcus
Only 230 cases made, the 2012 is a blend of Dijon clone blocks from Bethel Heights' Estate Vineyard, planted in 1994 and 1996.