Please Welcome our next Special Guest - Aline Baly - Proprietor of Chateau Coutet

I am pleased to welcome Aline Baly, proprietor of Chateau Coutet as our next special guest here on Berserkers. When you post questions for her, please remember to post each question you have for her as a separate thread within which the discussion of the topic will continue. Many here have met Aline at various tastings, including most recently the UGC tastings. If you have met her, you already know that she is a wonderful, friendly and knowledgeable women. I wish to thank all of you for your questions in advance and also want to thank Aline for taking the time to be with us.

Aline will be answering your questions officially beginning the week of February 14th, but please get your questions in early.

About Ch. Coutet:
"1787, former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson, then ambassador to France, celebrated Château Coutet (pronounced Cootay or COU-tett) as the best Sauternes from Barsac. In 1855, the estate was classified as a First Growth and recognized for its continued excellence. Today, as the oldest and largest Barsac estate, Château Coutet stays true to its tradition of distinction and quality. The finest Barsac-Sauternes is produced annually under the direction and management of the Baly family as well as the technical and commercial collaboration of the Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A. company, the vineyard’s exclusive distributor.

An English fortress built in the 13th Century, this citadel with its square tower, a design typical of the era’s military constructions, became a wine producing estate in 1643. Previously owned by the Lur-Saluces family, the property was home to Chateau d’Yquem’s horse stables, transformed in the late 19th Century into a 110-meter long cellar (the longest in the appellation). A second round tower in the property’s northern plot, a Château Coutet landmark, was built originally to breed pigeons and peacocks for the region’s Gascon lords. Vertical wine presses from the 1920s, a 14th Century chapel and a Bordeaux cobblestone courtyard are a testament to the estate’s rich architectural and regional history.

Château Coutet benefits from an exceptional terroir. The vines’ deep roots extract elements from a limestone and clay-based soil, giving the grapes freshness, richness and strength. For this reason the wine carries the name “Coutet,” derived from the Gascon’s word for knife, to signify the fresh, lively and crisp palate that is the estate’s signature style. In its youth, the property’s wines display generous notes of white flowers, citrus fruits, honey and vanilla. Time brings out deeper, warmer notes in which spices combine with exotic nectars and candied fruits. Age also enhances the harmony of its roasted Botrytis character and its distinct aromas to give Château Coutet a delicate and unique bouquet that is unsurpassed.”

Hello everyone!

Thank you so much for the warm welcome.I am looking forward to chatting with you all over the course of this month.

The weather at Coutet is bit more pleasant than the east coast’s snowy conditions-- with mild temperatures today (above average I believe – to make up for the past 2 days’ seasonal cold and humidity). However, we are experiencing some drizzling today, a bit of bummer since the team is out and about the 95 acres, preparing for 2011 by pruning.

Feel free to ask me all sorts of questions. I’ll be working with our cellar master and chief of viticulture to respond to the technical questions. My uncle and I will be collaborating to answer the questions related to history and more general questions too – like food pairings for example.

Looking forward to hearing what you all want to know about our golden appellation and one of Bordeaux’s oldest classified first growth of Barsac!

Have a great end of the week,