A Toast to Michael Batterberry

St. Supéry Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2009
Thomas Matthews
Posted: September 30, 2010

Sometimes a wine gains significance from the occasion on which it is served, going beyond what is actually in the bottle.

For example, Schramsberg’s Blanc de Blancs, which debuted in 1965, was America’s first commercially produced, Chardonnay-based brut sparkling wine. But its reputation was made when President Nixon served the wine at the historic “Toast to Peace” in Beijing, China, in 1972.

On Sept. 27, I attended a Celebration for Michael Batterberry, the founding editor of Food Arts, who died on July 28. Hosted by Marvin R. Shanken and held at the Pierre Hotel in New York, the event drew many luminaries of the culinary world, including Danny Meyer, Sirio Maccioni, Dan Barber, Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller. Food Arts is a sister publication of Wine Spectator, and I considered Michael a mentor and a friend.

The event was a unique and appropriate combination of food, wine, music and remembrance, all things Michael loved. And though the wine was not meant to attract attention, I couldn’t help but check the label as it was poured: a 2009 Sauvignon Blanc from St. Supéry in the Napa Valley. It was delicious, with bright flavors of guava, lime and herbs.

Frankly, I wasn’t calculating ratings at the time. But I know now that whenever I hear “Bird Songs at Eventide,” which was beautifully sung by Robert White, accompanied by Philip Edward Fisher on the piano, I will taste the wine, and think of Michael.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for St. Supéry Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2009 (88 points, $20).

Member comments   2 comment(s)

Josh Moser — Sunnyvale, CA —  September 30, 2010 11:23am ET

Thomas - In 2003 I had my rehearsal dinner at St. Supery and it was the first time I tasted their Sauvignon Blanc. I think it is hands down one of the top 5 Sauvignon Blancs (in the under $20 price range) produced in Napa. You can find for around $15 at Safeway. When we have people over I always pour a recent vintage of the St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc and people love it. The Provenance Sauvignon Blanc gets better ratings, and it is quite good, but I think the St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc is just as good. Girard and Turnbull also make a very nice Sauvignon Blanc.


Tim Mc Donald — Napa,CA —  September 30, 2010 1:42pm ET

Thomas, I met Michael in the late eighties and appreciate your comments about him. The man was amazing and a classy straight up epicurean. Food Arts continues to be a must read for anyone in the hospitality biz.
Cheers to Mr. Batterberry and I am sure he would have loved the St Supery SB! Tim


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