Bethel Heights Vineyard

Owner(s) Ted Casteel, Terry Casteel, Pat Dudley, Marilyn Webb
Web site www.bethelheights.com
 
Link to this site

Bethel Heights Vineyard was founded by Ted and Terry Casteel and Pat Dudley and Marilyn Webb. The Casteels were in academics at the University of Michigan teaching English. They visited Oregon and fell in love with it. They then gave up their old lives and went to University of California at Davis to study viticulture.

Planted between 1977 and 1979, Bethel Heights Vineyard was one of the first vineyards in the Eola Hills. The first wines were made in 1984. Bethel Heights now produces approximately 10,000 cases yearly, most of which comes from its 70-acre vineyard and the newly planted Justice Vineyard.

The winery produces several Pinot Noirs, including an Estate, and several block-designated special bottlings, usually the Flat Block and the Southeast Block, vinified separately from adjoining parts of the vineyard. A barrel selected and blended reserve, the Casteel Reserve, has recently been added to the lineup.

The next generation, cousins Mimi (viticulture) and Ben (winemaking) Casteel are now involved in the winery.

The winery tasting room is open from May through October Tuesday through Sunday from 11-5 (November, March and April, weekends only). The address is 6060 Bethel Heights Road, NW, Salem OR (about twenty minutes northeast of the town of Salem). 503-581-2262. The Bethel Heights B&B is directly across the street (503-364-7688). The wines are available on the website with some distribution to fine wine stones.

Reviewed Wines

2012 Bethel Heights Vineyards ÆOLIAN Estate Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.42, TA 0.60, 2,390 cases, $42. This bottling is from the second generation of vines on the estate, planted in the 1990s. Harvest Brix 23.9º. Aged 11 months in 40% new French oak. Unfined. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of blackberry, black raspberry, spice and balsam lead to a mid weight core of sappy blueberry, pomegranate and black raspberry fruits framed by modest dry tannins. A vein of racy acidity adds energetic tension, and the raspberry-driven finish is remarkably persistent and refreshing. Very accessible now, but time in the cellar will bring the aromatics to life. Score: 90. Reviewed October 6, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 Bethel Heights Estate Vineyard Southeast Block Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., 150 cases, $50. From a small section of the estate vineyard planted in 1979. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. A complex nose offers nuances of cherry, raspberry, potpourri, rose petal and smoky oak. Impressive mouth filling richness, yet suave and refined with flavors of dark cherry and raspberry clothed in youthful tannins and complimentary oak. Amazingly intense grand cru finish that seems to build in intensity over a lengthy time. This wine has the structure and balance to age beautifully. Very special. Score: 93. Reviewed December 11, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 Bethel Heights Estate West Block Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 100 cases, $50. From a small section of the estate vineyard planted in 1977 to own rooted Wädenswil clone. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of sweet cherry, violets, and spicy oak. Soft, elegant and seamless, with a core of cherry, raspberry and cranberry fruits accented with spice. Very juicy with supple tannins and a silky finish. Lacks a bit of intensity on the attack, but a very pleasurable drinking wine. Score: 90. Reviewed December 11, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 Bethel Heights Iliahe Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 125 cases, $50. This vineyard is located in the foothills of Oregon’s coast range of mountains. The name, Illahe, is a local Chinook word for soil or earth. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Plenty of savory blueberry and blackberry fruit with spice, underbrush and earthy accents on the nose. This unique terroir-driven wine features layers of flavors of boysenberry, blackberry, black currant, anise, iron and earth. The youthful tannins are well integrated and the finish is bold and lengthy. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with more composed and expressive fruit. Score: 92. Reviewed December 11, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 Bethel Heights Estate Vineyard Flat Block Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 250 cases, $58. From a block in the estate vineyard characterized by shallow, gravelly soil planted in 1979 on its own roots. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is remarkably fragrant with aromas of cherry pie, spice and rose petal. Very soft and elegant on the palate with a mid weight core of tasty cherry, raspberry and cranberry fruits backed by a hint of oak seasoning. Juicy and crisp, with a lengthy finish. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with more intense fruit expression. Score: 92. Reviewed December 11, 2014 ARTICLE »

2010 Bethel Heights Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., 300 cases, $28, screw cap. All grapes sourced from Eola-Amity Hills. Aged in 30% new French oak. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy nose with delicate aromas of red cherries and raspberries with a hint of oak. Light in weight, featuring red fruits with an underpinning of citrus and oak, backed by mild tannins and bright acidity, finishing with tart cherry and herb flavors. Decent. Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Bethel Heights Black Label Estate Grown Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., 3,000 cases, $32, screw cap. Composed primarily of older estate vineyard blocks. Aged in 30% new French oak. · Moderately deep reddish-purple color in the glass. Penetrating aromas of black cherries, dark red berries, earth and complimentary oak, that really draw you into the glass. Crisp, with a core of earth-kissed dark red stone fruits and berries, wrapped in supple tannins, offering a good cut of acidity, finishing with some aromatic persistence. A solid value priced wine that will work nicely at the dinner table. Good (+). Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Bethel Heights Carter Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

12.4% alc., 200 cases, $50. Pommard clone planted in 1982. · Enticing aromas of cherries, fraise du bois, forest floor, stem and sandalwood. Moderately light but flavorful, with a core of juicy, dark red cherries. Good structural integrity, polished tannins, finishing dry and savory. Good. Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Bethel Heights Estate West Block Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., pH 3.31, TA .0645, 132 cases, $50. The heart of the West Block is a 5-acre section of Wädenswil (UCD 1A) clone vines planted in 1977 on their own roots and are the oldest Pinot Noir vines at Bethel Heights. The Wädenswil tends to be late ripener with higher acidity and darker color. 100% destemmed fruit. Barrel aged 11 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Alluring aromatics bursting forth from the glass with notes of dark berry preserves, black currants, dark cocoa, truffle and subtle herbs. Quite earthy, featuring rich black fruit flavors with hints of black tea leaf and tar, finishing with impressive fruitdriven intensity and length. The wine offers a mild grip of tannin and well integrated acidity. Quite typical of Wädenswil clone. Better two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Very good. Reviewed January 19, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Bethel Heights Justice Vineyard Estate Grown Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

12.7% alc., 150 cases, $50. Primarily Pommard and Dijon clones. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Pleasing array of dark red cherry and berry aromas with a hint of oak vanillin. A step up in mid palate impression, with moderately rich and ripe cherry flavors that are expansive and long on the generous finish. Well-integrated oak. Needs more time to fully integrate the tannins but will be worth the wait. Very good. Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Bethel Heights Southeast Block Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.65, 135 cases, $50. From a 6-acre section of the estate vineyard planted in 1979 in deep red clay soil that is volcanic in origin. The vines are 100% own-rooted Pommard clone. 100% destemmed fruit. Aged 11 months in 50% new French oak barrels. Wines from Southeast Block have been bottled separately since 1991. · Moderately dark reddish-purple hue in the glass. Scintillating aromas of dark cherries, raspberry jam and cardamom spice. Intensely flavorful, tasting of ripe black fruits including cassis, and brewed black Oolong tea. The fruit has remarkable staying power in the mouth and finishes with pleasing crispness and length. An immensely satisfying wine. Reviewed January 19, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Bethel Heights Southeast Block Estate Grown Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., 200 cases, $50. Pommard clone planted in 1979. Adjacent Flat Block but with deeper soils. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The bright aromas jump out of the glass right after pouring exhibiting a lovely perfume of black cherries and spice. Darker fruited with more earthiness, evident oak and astringent tannins than the Flat Block. Finishes very long with a dark cherry flourish. This wine definitely will benefit from a few years in the cellar. Very good (+). Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Bethel Heights West Block Estate Grown Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., 200 cases, $50. 1977 Wädenswil planting. · Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Powerful aromatics filling the glass with the scents of fresh dark berry tart and black cherry cola. Discreetly rich core of marionberry, blackberry and plum fruit, backed by ripe tannins and brought into a juicy focus by lively acidity. A complete wine with a very long, richly fruited and refreshing finish. Classy juice. Very good (+). Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Bethel Heights Estate Flat Block Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.66, 167 cases, $58. The Flat Block is one of seven different sections of Pinot Noir planted over 37 acres in the estate vineyard. It was planted in 1979 on a flat table of the vineyard and is 100% own-rooted Pommard clone. The soil is gravelly and of a different mineral composition than the neighboring Southeast Block. This 3.3-acre block consistently has a distinctive character, usually offering the most refined and elegant Pinot Noir. Wines from Flat Block have been bottled separately since 1991. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. This is one of those wines that makes you sit up and take notice. Marvelous aromas of black cherries, damp earth, and warm s’mores. Earthy, exotic, and erotic black cherry and black berry flavors with a compliment of spice. The fruit is robed in ripe, firm but polished tannins, invigorated with bright acidity, and blessed with a charge of black cherry flavor on the dancing finish. Seduction.com. Reviewed January 19, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Bethel Heights Flat Block Estate Grown Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., $58. Pommard clone planted in 1979. · Medium garnet color with slight haze (unfiltered) in the glass. Very expressive aromatics that are captivating. Perfume of oak-kissed black cherries and berry jam on toast. A cherry bombast supported by perfectly matched tannins and acidity, seductively endowed with a very soft mouth feel, finishing like a three hour movie you don’t want to end. An exceptional wine that will please any Pinot connoisseur. Very good (+). Reviewed September 12, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Bethel Heights Estate Casteel Reserve Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.75, 270 cases, $60. A blend of select barrels from several blocks in Estate vineyards and is meant to represent the best expression of the vintage. This is the only Bethel Heights Pinot Noir that carries the Casteel family name rather than a place name. In recent years, more of the chosen barrels have come from the second generation Pinot Noir blocks that are reaching fifteen years of age (The second generation vines and second generation winemaking team is reaching maturity together!). 50% clone 114 planted in 1996, 20% 667 from Justice Vineyard planted in 1999, and 30% from old vine Wädenswil clone planted in 1977. 100% destemmed fruit. Barrel aged 11 months in 60% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Fresh aromas of black cherries, black raspberries, grilled plum and rose petals. Mineralcharged middleweight flavors of red and black stone fruits and berries with beautifully balanced tannins and a refreshing riff of nervy acidity on the finish. Does not have the intense fruit flavors or density of the three block bottlings, but its vibrancy and focus is more reflective of the vintage. Very good. Reviewed January 19, 2013 ARTICLE »

2008 Bethel Heights Vineyard Estate Grown Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $25. An Oregon certified sustainable wine. · Medium reddish-purple hue in the glass. Pleasing aromas of spiced berry compote, chocolate toffee and mocha java. Tasty moderately rich dark berry and plum core with a subtle oak accent of coffee and dried herbs. Enough power to satisfy now, but withholding some of its charms. Better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle indicating further bottle aging will be beneficial. Good. Reviewed November 7, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Bethel Heights Casteel Reserve Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

13.2% alc.. · Alluring scents of fresh berries, minerals and savory herbs. The fruit is juicy, sweet and subtlety spiced. The perky acidity on the finish makes you want another sip. Reviewed December 17, 2008 ARTICLE »

2007 Bethel Heights Estate Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

13.2% alc.. · Tart cherry and cranberry flavors form the nucleus of this medium-weighted wine featuring lovely floral and herbal notes on the nose and soft tannins on the finish. Reviewed December 17, 2008 ARTICLE »

2007 Bethel Heights Flat Block Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

13.2% alc.. The Flat Block is a 3.3 acre section of the estate vineyard planted in 1979 all to Pommard clone. The rocks underlying this block have a different mineral composition from those of the Southeast Block. As a result, this wine is the most refined and elegant of the Bethel Heights Pinot Noirs. · When I tasted this one I wrote, “Gorgeous” and underlined it. This is classic Pinot Noir with perky dark red Pinot fruits livened with herbs and spice and set off by brisk acidity and supple tannins. This could be the star of the vintage. Reviewed December 17, 2008 ARTICLE »

2007 Bethel Heights Justice Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

13.2% alc.. Primarily Dijon clones 114, 667, 777. · An impressive expression of redder fruits enhanced by Asian spices backed by a bright acidic backbone. A lovely wine of charming elegance. Reviewed December 17, 2008 ARTICLE »

2007 Bethel Heights Southeast Block Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

13.2% alc.. The grapes from this block were the last to be picked in this vintage. · This is a highly structured and textured wine with tannin to spare. There are copious amounts of black cherry and black raspberry fruit framed by healthy oak, earth and meat. Don’t even think about drinking this wine for another year or two. Reviewed December 17, 2008 ARTICLE »

2007 Bethel Heights Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., $23 (winery retail is $30). · Moderately light reddish-purple color. Shy aromas of cherries and wine cave. Red fruited with bright acidity and a touch of citrus on the zesty finish. A simple but satisfying drink that is nicely crafted. Reviewed March 26, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 Bethel Heights Eola-Amity Hills Cuvée Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., 1.612 cases, $30. From estate and five sourced vineyards in the appellation. Aged 10 months in 35% new French oak barrels. · Well-spiced cherry and berry fruit with overtones of brown sugar with a sensible grip. A bit of alcohol peaks out on the nose. Reviewed December 17, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Bethel Heights Flat Block Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Flat Block is a 30-year-old part of the estate vineyard, own-rooted, and planted to the Pommard clone. It shows the feminine side of Pinot Noir. 50% new, medium toast French oak. · Confected cherry aromas lead to nicely spiced red fruits, particularly strawberry, ending with generous acidity. Deliciously fruity and easy to drink. Reviewed September 15, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Bethel Heights Jesse James Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 143 cases, $50. The first bottling from an extremely well-tended non-estate 4-acre vineyard planted to Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon 667. The grapes were sourced for blending but stood out so well they were designated. 1.5-ton fermenters were layered with 20% whole clusters and the remainder of the fruit was de-stemmed and placed on top of the whole bunches and left to cold soak for 5 days. Punched down twice a day during the 14 day fermentation. Aged 15 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · A generous wine showing beautiful dark cherry, raspberry and plum fruit with ample acidity and noticeable but not imposing tannins. Reviewed December 17, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Bethel Heights Justice Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 250 cases, $50. 17 acres planted between 1999 and 2001. Clones 667 and Pommard were selected for a separate bottling. Made up of wine from two fermenters with 50% and 100% whole clusters. 5 day cold soak, racked twice, aged 16 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · Lighter in weight and the most demure wine in the lineup. Pleasing ripe berry and cherry fruits attractively spiced with supple tannins and lively acidity on the refreshing finish. Reviewed December 17, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Bethel Heights Southeast Block Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 141 cases, $50. From a 6- section of the estate vineyard planted in 1979. 100% Pommard clone planted on their own roots, trained to a Scott Henry trellis and cropped to two tons per acre. 20% whole cluster fermentation. A barrel selection blended for this reserve wine. · A killer on the palate with massive black raspberry fruit. Muscular but retaining a stylish focus and a creamy texture that is most appealing. Showing just a delicate kiss of wood and gossamer tannins. Reviewed December 17, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Bethel Heights West Block Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

15.2% alc., 141 cases, $50. Composed of Wädenswil clones (UCD 1A) planted in 1977 on their own roots in a 5 acre section of the estate vineyard. These are the oldest Pinot Noir vines at Bethel Heights. In the warmest vintages like 2006, the late harvest allows the Wädenswil clone to achieve maximum flavor development and a few select barrels are chosen for a block-designated wine. Gently de-stemmed and cold soaked for 5 days, then inoculated with proprietary Burgundian yeast, aged 16 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · This is a prodigious wine with massive concentration but is not jammy as there is plenty of acid to balance the fruit. Noticeable oak compliments the spiced and syrupy dark cherry and raspberry fruit leading to a lively citric tang on the finish. The alcohol is held in tow by the impressive balance. Reviewed December 17, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Bethel Heights Casteel Reserve Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 747 cases, $60. 48% Bethel Heights Wädenswil block, 17% Bethel Heights clone 114, 10% Bethel Heights clone 777, and 25% Seven Springs Vineyard (last call!). 25% whole cluster, 5 day cold soak, both native and cultured yeast fermentation, racked once. Barrel aged 13 months in 50% new French oak. Unfiltered. · Dark red fruits and oak spice dominate the substantial aromas and flavors. The perky acidity and slippery tannins make the wine easy to drink and the long, long finish leaves a pleasant impression. Reviewed December 17, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Bethel Heights Vineyard Casteel Reserve Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., $60. From a LIVE and Salmon Safe vineyard (see feature on sustainability in this issue). · A beautiful wine of great style and sensuality. Demure scents of Bing cherry, black raspberry, baking spice and forest floor. Long and smooth flavors duplicate the aromas with an appealing earthiness. Full in the mouth showing a deft use of oak and finishing with a dusting of finegrained tannin. Balanced, gorgeous and pure. Give this wine another year for a hair-raising experience. Reviewed September 15, 2008 ARTICLE »