TGLF | Saint Vincent Tournante Wine Festival

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by. L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

 binNotes latest feature in The Good Life France is out!

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Greeting, dear readers! You can read my latest feature on Burgundy’s St. Vincent Tournant in The Good Life France here.

TheGoodLifeFrance.com

TheGoodLifeFrance.com

Care to share? Feel free to leave your comments below…Santé!

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Copyrighted 2012-2015. All Rights Reserved. |  Images: Courtesy St. Vincente Tournante

SVT | Burgundy’s OTHER Famous Wine Festival

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by. L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

“Jamais en vain, toujours en vin.” (“Never in vain, always in wine.’)
-Motto of Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin

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You may know about Burgundy’s annual Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction held each November. Maybe even about the entire Trois Glorieuses, of which the auction is a part. But did you know about Burgundy’s OTHER famous wine festival – the St. Vincent Tournante?

Celebrated in late January each year, the festival honors the January 22nd feast day of St. Vincent, patron saint of wine.

Originally organized by medieval wine guilds under the Church’s aegis, the event eventually fell into obscurity. However, during the 1930’s, the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, or Brotherhood of the Knights of the Tastevin, revived the festival as a means of attracting attention to Burgundy and its wines.

It worked. Today, the event draws thousands of visitors to a carefully choreographed collaboration between the Confrérie, the Church, and local winemaking mutual aid societies. These brotherhoods offer assistance to local vignerons in times of need.

St. Vincent Tournante ‘revolves’ from village to village each year. While the hosting town varies, the ritual remains fixed: a sunrise procession led by the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, each brotherhood carrying banners and carved effigies to the Graves of the Fallen (originally honoring those fallen in World War I), then on to Mass, followed by a roast pig dinner and ceremony.

In 2015, Gilly-les-Citeaux | Vouget hosts ‘The Way of the Monks’ St. Vincent Tournante, marking 900 years of Cistercian wine making tradition in Burgundy with a walk from the castle of Gilly-les-Citeaux to the Cistercian Abbey of Clos de Vougeot.

Burgundy owes much to these industrious holy men. The monks considered wine making a spiritual endeavor, seeking to reveal God’s voice through soil, fruit, and wine – deeming pinot noir the most expressive conduit.

The Cistercians not only cleared the lands of Clos de Vougeot and other areas in Burgundy, but also tended the vineyards, erected stone fences (clos), and maintained meticulous records. Their records proved the bedrock to Burgundy’s codification of lieu dits and climats, as well as the inspiration for the more intangible concept of  terroir.

It’s no miracle that the monks of Clos de Vougeot turned Burgundy’s limestone into sublime wines. Passion, hard work, and a desire to give voice to the land – these traditions continue today.  St. Vincent Tournante offers a rare opportunity to share in this unique spirit of Burgundy.

 Santé!

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Copyrighted 2012-2015. All Rights Reserved. |  Images: Courtesy St. Vincente Tournante

Nous Sommes Tous Paris

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by. L.M. Archer,  FWS | Bourgogne ML

“He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with vertigo.
Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic.
Nothing is more sublime.”
― Victor Hugo

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We all have that place. You know the one – the place that touches your heart, your soul, your dreams. That place where the impossible seems possible. For binNotes, that place is…well, while I live in Seattle, my heart belongs to Burgundy, and my soul to Paris.

Paris – City of Lights, gateway to Burgundy, and international cultural nexus. Paris, where one finds solace in what Peter Mayle refers to as the French ‘happy combination of formality and intimacy.’ Paris…that one book one never quite finishes…always a new chapter to discover.

Today binNotes honors the City of Paris for her courage and grace under recent pressures.

“As long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost….”      Marcel Proust

Santé!

Care to share? Please leave a comment below. binNotes resumes regular posting next week.

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Copyrighted 2015. All Rights Reserved. 

3 Mystery French Wines Explained

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by. L.M. Archer,  FWS | Bourgogne ML

“Mystery is the wine of this universe. It makes us dizzy and makes us feel happy! Man needs enigma so that he can get rid of the dullness of reality!” - Mehmet Murat ildan

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Happy 2015, dear readers!

Today binNotes takes on three mystery French wines: vin jaune, vin gris, and vin de soif.

So what’s the mystery? After all, they each start with ‘vin,’ the french term for wine. They also share a common heritage – vive le France! Perhaps the answer resides in what the French refer to as ‘that which makes something unique,’ or its sui generis.

Case in point: vin jaune. While vin jaune may sound like the protagonist in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, it means ‘yellow wine.’ The wine derives its jewel-like color from fermenting late harvest Savagnin grapes for six years and three months in barrel. During fermentation, the wine develops a film of yeast, known as the voile, which imparts a nutty flavor profile similar to sherry. However, unlike sherry, vin jaune is not fortified. Locals recommend pairing vin jaune with savory dishes, Comte cheese, and walnuts.

binNotes fave: Producer Chateau D’Arlay.  Available special-order in the Seattle area at McCarthy & Schiering.

The second, vin gris means ‘grey wine.’ While a bit Dickensian in tone, the taste leaves one begging for more. The term vin gris stems from the ‘grey’ coloration (actually a light pink) produced when making white wine from red grapes, typically pinot noir or gamay. Pressing involves minimal skin contact, with fermentation typically occurs in stainless steel tanks. Think of vin gris as a more sophisticated version of rosé, and serve accordingly as an apéritif, with brunch, fish, fowl, or as a lovely grace note to any cheese course.

binNotes fave:

Robert Sinskey Vineyards Vin Gris. Pale rose-petal robe, elegant, dry, discrete finish. Hard to find – sells out upon release.

Finally…vin de soif  is not an actual wine per se, but rather a French term for “light, easy drinking wine.” Choose your vin de soif – any versatile, affordable wine that transitions easily from casual social gathering to table – for drinkability, not aging potential.

binNotes fave: Jean Perrier et Fils Savoie Abymes Cuvee Gastronomie. Made from Savoie’s regional Jacquère grape, the wine features a gold-green robe, bright acidity, and fresh finish. Distributed widely in the US, including Metropolitan Markets.

Care to share a favorite vin jaune, vin gris, or vin de soif with the binNotes community? Leave your comments below…Santé!

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Copyrighted 2015. All Rights Reserved. 

Happy Holidays | Feliz Navidad | Joyeux Noel |

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

by. L.M. Archer,  FWS | Bourgogne ML

Happy Holidays!

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Holiday Greetings, dear readers worldwide!

A heartfelt thanks to all of the incredible wine makers and industry professionals who shared their stories with binNotes© | Red Thread™ in 2014:

binNotes takes a break to spend time with family through the holidays.

Join me back here after January 5, 2015 for more of The Red Thread™.

Santé!

Care to share? Please leave your comment(s) below.

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Copyrighted ©2014. All Rights Reserved. 

Top 5 Obscure, Affordable Wines from Burgundy

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

 Top 5 Obscure, Affordable Wines from Burgundy

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The Way of the Cross - Domaine Romanée Conti, Burgundy.

The Way of the Cross – Domaine Romanée Conti, Burgundy.

Affordable Burgundy is NOT an oxymoron. In truth, Burgundy offers far more than just elite Premier and Grand Crus, boasting a broad spectrum of food-friendly wines for every palate and price point.

However, finding such wines typically means veering off the grand vins route into more obscure areas of this rarified region.

binNotes helps get you there with some favorite hidden gems – just in time for the holidays.

1. Chablis | St. Bris, Grand Auxerrois. Burgundy is not just a two-varietal wine region, nor is Chablis just about Chardonnay.

St. Bris, located in the western corner of Chablis knows as the Grand Auxerrois, is the only commune in Burgundy authorized to grow Sauvignon Blanc. The wines produced here possess a nervy verve, owing to chalky soils comprised of tiny sea creatures. binNotes’ favorite St. Bris producer: J-F Bersun, a father-son operation with cellars dating back centuries.

IMG_7685

2. Côte de Nuits: Looking for an economical entry-point into Burgundy’s most illustrious wine subregion? Why not try Cote de Nuits-Villages wines? These consistent-quality quaffers draw from five villages, including Fixin and Brochon in the north, plus Premeaux, Comblachien and Corgolion in the south.

3. Côte de Beune:  Love Chablis, but hate the price? Try St. Romain, a remote village with unique, chalky soils at high elevations producing chardonnays that rival Chablis in tensile brightness, with a touch of chiseled minerality.

4. Côte Chalonnaise: Looking for the perfect apéritif? For those with champagne taste on a micro-brew budget, try this sub-region’s specialty: crémant, a reasonably-priced sparkling wine made in the méthode traditionnelle from one or more approved varietals, including Sacy, Aligoté, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cèsar, and/or Gamay.

5. Macônnais: Passe-Tout-Grains. An inexpensive red wine in a subregion that grows 89% white wine? Yes! Passe-tout-grains, a red blend of one-third Pinot Noir with the balance in Gamay and/or a touch of Cèsar, proves the perfect pour for fence-straddlers caught between Burgundy and Beaujolais.

The Rock of Solutre in Burgundy's Maconnais subregion.

The Rock of Solutré | Macônnais | Burgundy.

Santé!

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Care to share? Please feel free to leave your comment below – and thanks for stopping by.

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Copyrighted 2014. All rights reserved.  

#MWWC13: Serendipity

Welcome to another installment of the Monthly Wine Writers Challenge.

#MWWC13: Serendipity 

By L.M. Archer, FWS

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MWWC logo

Yes, folks…it’s time to interrupt binNotes’ regular posts for another

Monthly Wine Writing Challenge throw-down.

Let’s start with some shout-outs to #MWWWC brainchild, thedrunkencyclist,  last month’s MWWC winner, TalkaVino, and  The ArmChair Sommelier  for  MWWC ‘s winning logo.

This month’s Wine Writing Challenge topic: Serendipity

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Serendipity: ‘the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.’  -New Oxford American Dictionary

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Serendipity. The story of binNotes, actually. For if it weren’t serendipity – a term coined from Horace Walpole’s The Three Princes of Serendip….starting with a stumble down the rabbit hole of wine drinking, forays into freelance writing, a gob-smacking Larry Meinhert lecture on terroir, life-altering trip to Burgundy, pains-taking accreditation in wines of France and Bourgogne, ongoing forays into the wine regions of France, Spain and beyond, sorties into the Willamette Valley, insights into the business of wine, wine growing and wine makers, revelation of a wine-making soul sister, pursuit of cyber-stumbling upon fellow bloggers like The Drunken Cyclist, and subsequent swallowing whole into the maws of  MWWC… serendipity accounts for virtually every ‘red thread’ shared here on binNotes.

As 2014 draws to a close, binNotes counts her blessings for serendipity, ‘the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way’ in wine and words. The thing about serendipity, though…it only happens when you’re NOT looking for it…Santé!

Care  to share? Leave your comments below.

Psst…You can vote for binNotes’ MWWC13 entry? Vote here. 

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Copyrighted 2014. All rights reserved.