Hello friends. Another set of highly-allocated new releases today, this one from Caleb Foster at Buty. Quick reminder on our allocation scheme for high-demand, low-supply wines like these: We favor breadth over depth, so that everyone gets one bottle before anyone gets two. And our formula for prioritizing allocations includes list tenure, overall orders, frequency of orders, and recency of orders, among other factors; it’s like the BCS formula, only less scrutable.
I’ll keep this relatively short, since these are scarce, but Caleb Foster founded Buty in 2000 after many years working with Rick Small at Woodward Canyon. In the dozen years since, the winery has developed a reputation for consistent excellence, and for focus. The lineup has been at six wines for many years now: two whites and four reds, three released in the fall, three released in the spring. Today’s offerings come from the most recent spring release, and show a winemaker at the peak of his creative powers:
2010 Buty Merlot-Cabernet Franc
This used to be a little easier to source, but Paul Gregutt’s 94pt review in Wine Enthusiast for the 2009 vintage has made this one more challenging to bring in. Yields were down significantly in 2010, and only 220 cases were produced, so there is barely any of this to go around. Another notable development for 2010 is that this is single-vineyard. Although not listed on the bottle, it comes entirely from Conner Lee Vineyard, a terrific site outside of Othello (location here), east of the Wahluke Slope.
Always the most immediately approachable of the Buty reds, this blend of 58% Merlot and 42% Cabernet Franc is all about the mouthfeel for me. Texturally, this is plush and silky and so eminently drinkable, but there is enough good 2010 acid to keep things lively too. The flavors seem very Merlot to me: good pure plum and black cherry fruit, dusted in high-cacao chocolate and coffee. The Cabernet Franc appears more on the fringes, adding bay leaf and poblano complexities. The whole package hangs together well, balanced and beautiful.
2009 Buty “Rediviva of the Stones” (Cab-Syrah Blend)
This one has always been difficult to source, as it comes from the coveted Rocks area of the Walla Walla Valley. Caleb has two “Rediviva” wines in the lineup. Both are blends of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah; the Columbia Rediviva from Phinny Hill Vineyard, and this Rediviva of the Stones from LeFore, Morrison Lane, Les Collines, and River Rock Vineyards. It’s mostly Syrah cofermented with a little Marsanne. Those two combined comprise 77%, and Cabernet Sauvignon makes up the remainder.
This is the most aromatically expressive, openly beautiful Rediviva of the Stones that I have experienced from Caleb. Perhaps the Marsanne coferment adds that extra oomph to the nose; regardless this is a glorious pastiche of white flower petals, earth, seaweed, and black fruit. There is plenty of the umami character that many associate with the rocks: a real savory meatiness that kept me returning to the glass over and over. Caleb was one of the first in the valley to play with Syrah-Cabernet blends, and this bottling feels like, after nearly a decade doing it, he is close to achieving mastery of these types of wines.
No reviews yet for this one either, although previous vintages have received some rapturous reviews and strong scores, and I’m certain that if I wait for the publication of reviews, this will be long gone.
Please limit order requests to 4 bottles of Merlot-Cab Franc and 6 bottles of Rediviva, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping.