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BARONESS ROTHSCHILD TO PREVIEW WINE LABEL EXHIBITION IN ROCHESTER.

THE WINES of Baron Philippe de Rothschild will occupy center stage in two events in Western New York this coming week.

Members of the Buffalo Chapter of Les Amis du Vin will hold a tasting of the wines in Buffalo Tuesday and the Baroness Philippine de Rothschild will be in Rochester Thursday to open a private preview of an exhibition of original paintings of labels for the wines.

The Buffalo tasting is set for 8 p.m. in the Hilton Hotel. Guest speaker will be Elizabeth Trendup from Palace Brands, importers of Mouton Cadet and Baron Philippe's regional wines. Wines to be tasted will include 1985 Medoc, 1985 Pomerol, 1986 Saint Emilion, 1984 Mouton-Baron-Philippe, 1984 Cleric-Milon and 1984 Mouton Rothschild. Call 634-2456 for reservations.

The Baroness Philippine, who took over operation of the estate upon the death of her father, will attend the invitation-only preview of works by some internationally celebrated artists from whom the late baron and the baroness commissioned art for labels for Mouton Rothschild since 1945: Braque, Chagall, Cocteau, Dali, Miro, Moore, Motherwell, Picasso and Warhol, among others.

The Mouton Rothschild paintings exhibition is touring the United States for five years under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. Bernard Sejourne, the artist for the 1986 label, will accompany the baroness at the exhibition at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery. The exhibition will open for the public next Friday.

Western New Yorkers have a new group of low-priced California varietals to explore. The Monterey Vineyard is introducing three wines: Classic Sauvignon Blanc, 1987 Classic Chardonnay, 1988 Classic White Zinfandel and 1985 Classic Cabernet Sauvignon, all selling at $4.99.

"We take a labor-intensive, small winery approach, including barrel fermentation and aging, " says Monterey's winemaker Phil Franscioni. "We feel that these wines convey the essence of varietal distinctions."

New Releases: The Wine Group Ltd. is starting nationwide distribution of vintage-dated varietals under the William Bates Winery label in an oval-shaped 750 ml. bottle. The line includes White Zinfandel, Chardonnay and White Grenache and will be priced between $4 and $6. . . Santa Barbara Winery has turned out a light, fruity wine called Beaujour. Similar to a Beaujolais, it is made entirely of Zinfandel grapes and has a fresh raspberry taste. . . Sutter Home Winery has agreed to purchase the Montevina Winery of Amador County in a move to build on its commitment to Zinfandel production there. Sutter Home holds a dominant position in Zinfandel production. . . Glen Ellen Winery is doing some experimenting with closer vine spacing and trellising methods to control the effect of sunlight on the vines.

The Buffalo Branch of the International Wine & Food Society will taste some Beaujolais Nouveau wines and several of the great crus of Beaujolais this evening at 7:30 in the Calasanctius School dining room. The latter wines of the 1987 vintage have received high ratings in national tastings.

A U.S.-Russian joint venture trading company known as Torg International has been formed to import wine, beer, soft drinks and food products into this country. The arrangement is between Soyuzplodoimport and the Cleveland Export Import Trade Co. Torg will be headquartered in Englewood Cliffs, N. J.

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