2012 Buty, Rediviva of the Stones, $60
Winery info: Founded in 2000 by Nina Buty and Caleb Foster, Buty quickly became one of the most respected wineries in the state. Their continual focus on detail at every step of the process produces wines of remarkable nuance, depth, and balance, vintage after vintage.
Winemaker: Chris Dowsett, who began working in his family’s vineyard in Oregon in the early 1980s, studied viticulture in Australia, and worked at Robert Mondavi and Schramsberg in California, and with John Abbott (of Abeja renown) in Walla Walla. He also makes wine for his own label, Dowsett Family Winery.
Grapes: 78% Syrah, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Mourvèdre. Cellared for 19 months in neutral oak.
Vineyard source: Buty’s own Rockgarden Estate, planted in 2008 and 2009 in an alluvial section of the Walla Walla Valley, right next to Christophe Baron’s Cayuse vineyards. The site is strewn with basalt cobblestones and was selected and developed specifically for this wine.
Flavor profile: 2012 was an exceptional vintage, with the weather cooperating at every stage of development. As a result, this vintage of Rediviva is beautifully structured and silky-textured with elegance, depth, and complexity. As the winery notes, the Syrah brings lush red fruit, the Cab adds high-toned floral elements and mid-palate weight, and the Mourvèdre contributes tannic structure and spice.
Production/Availability: 370 cases and still in stock.
Drinkability: The 2012 wines tend to drink well even in their youth, but this one would certainly develop six to eight years in your cellar.
Food Pairing: Perfect for hearty fare such as roasted or grilled meat dishes, or pork.
2013 Tempus Cellars, Grenache, $25
Winery info: Tempus is a small winery in Walla Walla owned and operated by the Forest Family. Joe Forest, previously worked at Seven Hills and Dunham Cellars and he is also winemaker at Patit Creek Cellars. They released their first vintage in the spring of 2009. The winery takes its name from the Latin word meaning “time.” The image of the tortoise on the label alludes to the “lengthy and steadfast nature of making wine.”
Winemaker: Joe Forest
Grapes: 100% Grenache
Vineyard source: Den Hoed, on a bluff above the Columbia River in the Yakima Valley, just where the river turns away from the Oregon border. Much of the soil is wind-blown loess, situated above the Missoula flood level. It is a very coveted vineyard that is proving to be an excellent site for growing a wide variety of grapes.
Flavor profile: Rich and savory with a nice touch of spice. It is wonderfully expressive and true to the varietal character of the Grenache. Another great Washington interpretation of a Rhône grape.
Production/Availability: About 190 cases and it should be available into next year.
Drinkability: Very approachable now, like almost all Washington Grenache.
Food Pairing: Very versatile, especially with the foods of fall. Thanksgiving comes to mind!