We have been using the term â€œcult wineâ€ a lot lately at currentVintage. That is risky business, because at any given moment, we might be asked to define â€œcult wineâ€, which is somewhat abstract–and more than a little bit controversial. Allocated. Highly-rated. WAITING LIST. These are terms often associated with cult-status wines. To some, that makes them more appealing. To others, a complete buzz-kill.
In this blog last week, I paid tribute to â€œThe Two Garysâ€ and, in doing so, referred to them as cult winemakers. I donâ€™t think there is much to dispute there. Whether or not you like cult wines or buy them or think that they should or should not exist, the fact remains, that, some wines have a cult-like following, usually because of what’s in the bottle. Pisoni and ROAR are definitely in that club.
However, for the purposes of our store and this blog, we should be clear that some wines are considered cult wines because the world says they are and some wines are cult wines because I say they are.
In my world, cult-worthy includes Betts & Scholl.
Richard Betts is a Master Sommelier and the architect of the Wine Spectator Grand Award-status wine list at the Little Nell in Aspen, CO. I have been a fan of his for a long time, having seen and read glimpses of him over the last 10 years. He is not just knowledgeable and talented, but he has the natural charm and charisma that make him a great TV personality and of course, now easy to idolize as a winemaker.
In 2001, Richard partnered with Dennis Scholl, a Miami-based art collector, real estate mogul & card shark, and the two decided to make wineâ€”in Australia. They started with Grenache and Riesling, and after much critical acclaim, moved on to Hermitage!
Everything about these guys is cool. Richard Betts is definitely a rock star of wine, but how about Dennis Scholl? There is something really endearing about a card counting math geek-cum-real estate tycoon who loves art? He is so passionate about modern art that he has commissioned seven different established and emerging artists to create the labels for the Betts & Scholl wines.Â As he says, a wine label is like a record coverâ€”you want it to stand out.Â And they doâ€”these labels are captivating and interesting, much like their contents. The Riesling is fruity and Vibrant with a capital V.Â The O.G. Grenache, I truly loved; velvety & luxe. Full, yet elegant. Rich fruit, totally sexy.
Fun. Interesting. Different. Creative. Adventurous. Sexy.
Small-production. High & Lo. Rock Star & Geek.
Do you see why Betts & Scholl figures in my world of cult-worthy wines?
And currentVintage has them exclusively on Nantucket….
Riesling Eden Valley 2008
Light, crisp and beautifully focused, with cantaloupe, papaya and lime flavors that bounce easily across the palate and into the long, fragrant finish. Subtle and absolutely enticing. Drink now through 2016. 250 cases imported. 92ptsâ€“HS (WS)
Grenache Barossa Valley “The O.G.” 2006
Velvety, round and remarkably transparent, with raspberry, cherry and dusky spice flavors competing for attention as the flavors sail through the long finish, framed with fine-grained tannins. Drink now through 2013. 900 cases made. 90ptsâ€“HS (WS)
2005 Hermitage Blanc
Ripe and showy, but with good underlying grip to the dried papaya, creamed peach, fig, yellow apple and brioche notes. The long, juicy finish has a nice gilding of toast. Drink now through 2013. 400 cases made. 93pts â€“JM (WS)
2005 Hermitage Rouge
Very juicy, with lots of fig, currant paste and crushed plum fruit flavors that race ahead of dark tar, licorice and bittersweet cocoa notes. The long, toasty finish has plenty of grip. Best from 2010 through 2017. 425 cases made. 92 pts â€“JM (WS)