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Buty Connor Lee Merlot Cabernet Franc 2012

Bordeaux Red Blends from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • WE92
  • WS91
14.5% ABV
  • RP92
  • WS90
  • WE94
  • WS92
  • RP92
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

With a deep, rich core of spiced cherry from the merlot surrounded by layers of rose and sage from the cabernet franc, and hints of cinnamon, smoke and cobbler from oak aging, this is a gorgeous expression of what can be achieved in an iconic vineyard in a great vintage.

Blend: 63% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Franc

Critical Acclaim

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WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
A fine vintage yields a classic wine that seems sculpted out of rock. Firm lines and clear definition showcases racy raspberry fruit, limned with chiseled stone and a vein of gun metal. Excellent focus and length.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Ripe, velvety and expressive, offering blueberry, dark plum and spice flavors on a supple frame, lingering gently and persistently on the finish. Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
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Buty
Buty, Columbia Valley, Washington
Our wines aren’t 90% vineyard and 10% winemaking. They are 100% winemaking, 100% vineyard, 100% terroir. We don’t obscure any developmental stages, we include their contributions. We are not “hands off in the cellar". No way! We are completely hands on in our winemaking, knowing we are metamorphosing the sum total of our wines.

Your enjoyment of our wines involves all these efforts, making wine perhaps the most hands on food of all. The spirit of Buty wines inclusively nests all the contributions of our vineyards and winemaking and service.

Columbia Valley

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A large and geographically diverse AVA capable of producing a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington state’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA even extends into northern Oregon!

Because of its size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which are both further split into smaller, noteworthy appellations. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences extreme winters and long, hot, dry summers. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the entire year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.

Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling. These range in style from citrus and green apple dominant in cooler sites, to riper, fleshier wines with stone fruit flavors coming from the warmer vineyards.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

AUT12BUTYMERCAB_2012 Item# 136851