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Buty Winery’s Classic Walla Walla White Blend

11 Jan

Buty Winery 2011 Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc & Muscadelle Blend by Caleb Foster Wines; Walla Walla Valley, WA. 13.8%ABV, MSRP $25/Bottle.



The Bordeaux Blend.

Red or white, the blend is classic:  Old World.


To some it might show as a touch too forward, but to others, it could demonstrate the path to perfection.

I don’t recall where I found the cache, but tonight I reached into my cellar and pulled out my last bottle.

It was both my final and my favorite of the partial case. The six long years that this white bordeaux blend has taken to mature now firmly place the bottle among tremendous company. Had this been blindly tasted, I would have (wrongly) guessed it was sourced from a première château. Likewise, I would have erred and estimated the value at from three to six times the cost. Nevertheless, this unusual winery name will stick in my brain for future purchases, as it should for others who adore Bordeaux and wines from America’s Northwest.


Deep gold in color. The nose is delicate, of dried lemon, almond butter, and grass clippings. Mature citrus attacks the palate with lemon zest, grapefruit rind, and a hint of sliced almond. Powerful acidity is prominent, not a hint of sugar remains in this towering, majestic Bordeaux-style mixture. The long, drawn finish offers limestone, slate, granite, a hint of iron, and mature oak, leaving an imprint on the taster. 

In the words of my friend Jeff, “Whoa.”


I will go back to this well, and drink again. Bravo, Caleb & Nina Foster, bravo.

For more information, the website is  Please, let me know if you have tried this wine, if it was at a comparable age, and if you experienced a similar reaction. Thank you!



à votre santé!

Summer Find: Savory White Blend Value from Pierre Lurton

4 Aug

Pierre Lurton’s Chateau Marjosse 2010 Blanc / White Bordeaux Blend. Purchased at Sherry-Lehman for $16.

I saw that winemaker Pierre Lurton had a white bordeaux blend on sale at one of my regular haunts, so I picked it up recently with one of my summer mixed cases. If you don’t recognize the name Lurton, he is the general manager of two other first growth chateaux, namely Cheval Blanc and Chateau Yquem. I remember reading a Wine Cellar insider profile, and Lurton is also featured on Youtube links like this one about the 2012 vintage.  Chateau Marjosse was the first property he oversaw, and demonstrates his success and quality at a far lower price point.

When I opened the Chateau Marjosse Blanc, I was very happy I’d tried it! The bright straw color is clear, the nose presents grapefruit, lychee and dried wildflowers. What surprised me was the lack of forward fruit on the palate, instead a very gentle pressed apple played second to the creamy oak and crisp acidity. I was impressed by the wine as a celebration as a savory white wine that could pair well with food or be enjoyed alone, and immediately recognized this white Bordeaux blend as one to rank in the much higher-priced land of expensive white blends from the area, but at the everyman’s wine price (under $20).

You can bet I’ll be looking for this wine again in the future. On sale or not, it is a terrific value in esteemed company that you don’t need either an advanced palate or expense account to enjoy and share.  Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Muscadelle make up this delicious bottle and I highly suggest that white wine lovers give this wine some strong consideration for your collection and consumption, knowing that this white is designed to be drunk within a few years of the bottling.


à votre santé!

Refreshing Wines for Hot Summer Nights

16 Jun

Ah, summer. The mere word brings joy to our minds. Recall the childhood years when you couldn’t wait until you could escape school. These days, you might relive those moments over again for (or with) your children. And we can’t forget the activities of summer, such as beachgoing, ballgames, hiking and camping, the list goes on and on.

What about the wines of summer?  Some people try to drink the same wines they enjoyed the rest of the year. I suggest you broaden your horizons and try some of the refreshing wines that can open your eyes and palate all summer long.

While pinot grigio, chenin blanc and chardonnay are popular and easy to find, I can’t begin to tell you the joy  you’ll have in finding something delicious and new to add to your repetoire! These are especially ideal for late afternoons and those early evenings on long, sultry, summer nights.  While the pictures may be of specific brands and I have blogged about many of these, today I’ll simply suggest the grape and wine type you look for in your local wine store, and see what you can find! When I’m shopping locally, I like to pick up a bottle (or three) of something new to try at a neighborhood store to drink in the next few days, and order by the case the wines I want to cellar for the future.


Albariño– fruity aromas, pear, apple and passion fruit with bright acidity


Moscato– honeysuckle and orange blossom help make this gently sweet wine a delicious aperitif.


Riesling– a year-round staple in my home. Simple two to three note wines with gentle fruit, excellent minerality and crisp acidity.


Rosé– this pink wine made from the red grapes (but without the skins, this can be an incredible ‘bridge’ wine that will work with salads, seafood, soup and steaks.


Vino Verde– a touch of fizz with citrus, green apple, and pear.


Viognier– peach, apricot, honeysuckle, and nectarine flavors are common in this grape.


Please let me know what you try this summer, and how you liked it!

à votre santé!

A Triple Crown of Wine

13 Oct

Three serious, 90-point wines for serious wine drinkers.


The First Crown: Rioja Blanco Reserva Vina Tondonia 1996

At a restaurant, I noted this white Rioja was available by the glass as a selection to pair with a light fish entrée. Unfamiliar with this rioja, I asked the sommelier about it. She beamed at my mention of the wine with this dish, explaining that it was amongst her favorite pairings. It had evidently taken a long time to find the perfect wine and they had considered a sherry before deciding on this white Rioja.

I had to try it.

A deep yellow color with a hint of sunset in the glass, this wine has sweet fruit, lemongrass and honey on the nose. On the palate, I swore it was part sauternes- it has vanilla, orange citrus, and herbs forward, with elements of tobacco, dried apples, cranberries, and clay. A lengthy finish from this luscious white, I promised myself to find a few bottles of this to try at home with my cooking. A true find, and rare in NYC wine stores. Approx 40/bottle.

Learn more about  winemaker Lopez de Herediaere.

The Second Crown: Blanc de Lynch Bages, 2002

Lynch- Bages is a classic premiere cru chateau. The white is a recent addition to the chateau’s offerings, only begun in 1990 and immediately acclaimed for top quality. A blend of three grapes- sauvignon blanc, muscadelle, and semillion, Blanc de Lynch Bages is a classic, delicate Bordeaux wine that is renowned for complexity, aromatic subtlety, and elegance.

A pale yellow color, this ten-year old white has a faint nose with pear, apple, and tangy citrus. The fruit has dissipated in the age, and in the mouth it is light, tart and acidic in a delightful fashion, with notes of vanilla and a hint of gravel. This specific vintage, having lost much of the forward fruit due to age,  is not a drink to enjoy by itself. Instead,it is a perfect match and complement for turkey, fish, chicken or lighter cheeses. When paired with a good protein or sauce, it enlightens the dish, and livens the palate: quite simply, this is a stunning wine to pair. $20/half bottle from a pricey midtown liquor store, full bottles are in the $40/range and can be found from the 2006 and later vintages.

Learn more about Chateau Lynch-Bages.

The Third Crown: Cos D’Estournel, 1996

I have been fortunate to taste this wine (vintages 1986, 1996, 2000) a few times. Deep purple in color, and the nose is black fruit with menthol, tar, and asphalt. The mouthfeel is amazing, silky and dark: black currants and blackberries with cut flowers and herbs. The top of the palate features the dark flesh of the black fruit with earth, loam, and asphalt again. With a huge finish that reminds me of road tar in a pleasant way, this is a wine that screams decadence in every sip and pairs well with game, red meats, distinct cheeses or similarly heavy dishes.

Known for an amazing terroir with a highly regulated climate,  the chateau will only uses grapes from 20 year old vines in Cos D’Estournel. Like many classic French wines, they can be difficult to source due to their level of  pedigree. Available sometimes for $20-25/glass (my best luck here was at Morrel Wine Bar in Rockefeller Plaza in NYC), online from $80+/bottle, and in many high end wine stores over $100/bottle. The good news is that there are many good years of this wine- so look for this wine when a good price comes around, and enjoy with friends. Not to be opened if under ten years old, but a wine to be enjoyed and cherished.

Learn more about Chateau Cos D’Estournel

à votre santé!

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