By Bennet Bodenstein
I truly believe that in the body of every wine enthusiast there beats the heart of an adventurer. While we all have our favorites there is always the urge to find another wine that we may enjoy. Sometimes we win and then there are the other times. Most of us have achieved great finds and the occasional disappointment, which then goes on our “avoid at all costs” list. It was therefore a great pleasure when I encountered the Butternut California wines.
All of the Butternut wines that I sampled had one thing in common; they were all true to the variety. That may not seem like such a big deal but all too often a winemaker will add their own individual touches to a wine, which, in my opinion, often detracts from the true beauty of the wine. Not so with Butternut. The Butternut winemaker starts the process and then turns it over to Mother Nature to do her thing in her own magical way. What results are wines that could be considered the definition of the variety and, in the case of the rosé, the style.
Butternut 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon ($14.99). Roll out the artillery pieces, line up the tanks, the war is about to begin. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most argued over and criticized wine of them all. There are those who will debate if the American Cabs as good as or better than the French at the drop of a hat. This wine will not end those squabbles but it is an excellent peacemaker. The Butternut 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon has been made to be enjoyed now as the hard tannins usually associated with a Cabernet Sauvignon are held in check. This wine does not abandon all of the charms that have made Cabernet Sauvignon so popular; it reinforces them.
Butternut 2017 Chardonnay ($14.99). Chardonnay has had many incarnations and a very broad price range; however, one thing has been almost universally true, if you want a decent one, it will be costly. The Butternut 2017 Chardonnay changes all of that. Here is a well-made wine, which preserves the true nature of the Chardonnay grape. The grapes have been selected from vineyards that lie in some of California’s cooler regions, which assure the winemakers of a selection of better grapes. The choice of grapes proves to be a good one as this wine displays all of the charm of a California Chardonnay. This wine accents the aromas of hazelnut and spiced apple with suggestions of fig, butterscotch and sweet oak. The fruit and acid is nicely balanced and there is even a hint of melon in the background. The finish displays that creamy sensation rarely found in affordable Chardonnays as well as host of white fruit flavors. This is an excellent wine at an affordable price.
Butternut 2016 Pinot Noir ($14.99). This wine exhibits everything that makes for a better Pinot Noir; an inviting dark ruby color, a firm body, a captivating aroma, a positive and definable flavor and a long, enduring finish all wrapped in a smooth, velvet-like robe. The aroma displays, cranberries, and menthol. The flavor is about as classical as it can get; black cherry, caramel, spice, and a subtle hint of mushrooms. All of these carry over to a finish of cherry and dark summer berries then ending in smooth, silky fruit filled finish that lingers on the palate for a very long time. As a person who is known to be critical of Pinot Noir wines, this wine exceeded my expectations and is more than worth its affordable price.
Butternut 2016 Rosé ($14.99). Ho hum, another rosé. Not this time, this rosé is made from 100% Tempranillo and is jam packed with summer fruit flavors. Watermelon, citrus and floral aromas seem to leap out of the glass when the wine is poured. The flavor presents strawberry and grapefruit balanced by a crisp, fruit filled finish. For a change of rose’s, I recommend this summertime refresher to you.