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.


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.



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


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


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. 

WITWIB? Wine Tasting!

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

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

WITWIB? Wine Tasting!

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Seattle - Winter 2014

Seattle – Winter 2014

This week, binNotes bundles up and trundles off into the bitterly cold Seattle winter scape to attend an exclusive release event for a rising star among women winemakers in the region.

You can check out my interview in the next installment of The Red Thread™ later this month.

Next week, be a hero of social, office, and family holiday gatherings with my Burgundy: Top Five Obscure, Accessible and Affordable Wines feature.

As always,  please feel free to leave a comment or question.

Thanks for stopping by – and remember: ’tis the season to drink – and drive – responsibly!


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Copyrighted 2014. All Rights Reserved. 

Top 3 Takeaways: Burgundy’s HdB 2014

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog

by L.M. Archer, FWS

Attention Burgundy Lovers!

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Top 3 Takeaways: 2014 Hospices de Beaune | Burgundy

The highlight for any Burgundy lover, 2014 marked the 154th annual Hospices de Beaune auction, celebrated every third Sunday in November.

Named for Beaune’s charitable hospital founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, Chancellor to the Duke of Bourgogne Philip the Good, the auction features wines from Domaine de Hospices de Beaune, an assemblage of vineyards bequeathed by prestigious patrons over the centuries. Proceeds from the auction fund the charity.

binNotes’ top three (3) take-aways from the 154th Hospice de Beaune auction:


Hospices de Beaune 2014

1. Record-Breaking

This year, Domaine des Hospices de Beaune sales reached € 8,082,525, breaking earlier records of €6.3 million euros set in 2013. The 2014 figures reflect 417 barrels of red wine and 117 of white wine.
NOTE:  Burgundy accounts for just 0.4%  in wine sales globally. What do these astronomical 2014 auction sales mean for the future of one of the world’s smallest wine regions? Only time will tell.

Ludivine Griveau

2. History-Making

Domaine des Hospices de Beaune named Ludivine Griveau its first woman winemaker. Griveau, former principal winemaker at  Maison Corton­ André, takes the reigns from Roland Masse, Hospices de Beaune wine maker for 15 years, who retires this year.

NOTE:  Hats off to Hospices de Beaune for this history-making move.

Hubert de Montille

3. Leave-Taking

While Burgundy’s 154th Hospices de Beaune auction rolled on, Burgundy’s wine community mourned the loss of legendary vigneron Hubert de Montille, made famous in the movie Mondovino, who died on November 1st.

Hubert de Montille died in style – eating lunch with family and friends over a glass of 1999 Pommard Rugiens. Irrepressible, irascible, uncompromising, Hubert de Montille built on his family’s legacy through determination, pragmatism, and a quest for the sublime.

NOTE: In late 2013, binNotes attended a wine-tasting dinner featuring Peter Wasserman, who regaled us with stories of his family’s cherished friend, M. de Montille.

binNotes leaves you with Peter Wasserman’s tribute to the man – may we all live, and die, so well.

Hubert De Montille,
“He was my father’s best friend. Hubert was for lack of a better word one if the greatest men i have had the honor to know. From the earliest memories of being at table with “les grands” the adults, Hubert was the one who taught me how to appreciate good food an great wine. Where as one could butt heads with one parent or another one could not deny Hubert. It was unthinkable. He would have us taste everything we drank, describe it, and if the description was not correct we would have to go back at it until the master was satisfied. He made sure to let us know that it would be a long apprenticeship. He once told me that i would not know how to taste properly until i was at least forty, and Aubert De Villaine to add: and then you will realize you know nothing. Truth be told they were both correct. Hubert was a powerful influence in my life. I will remember the great man till the day I die. He was and will remain one of the great men of Burgundy.” -Peter Wasserman



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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved.  

Images courtesy: |Hospices de Beaune | |

Top 10 Takeaways: WTC 2014

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by. L.M. Archer, FWS

Top Ten Takeaways:  WTC14 – Paso Robles, CA.

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Drum roll, please! Check out binNotes’ top ten (10) takeaways from the Nov 12-14 2014 Wine Tour Conference in Paso Robles Wine Country:

1. Paso Robles Wine Country | Grow Wild

Grow Wild or Go Home! Paso Robles Wine Country wins out as Host Wine Region with the Most, serving up sunshine, smiles, succulent artisan fare, and stellar California Central Coast premium wines.

2. Living Roots Tours |  Pheasant’s Tears Wines | Georgia, Caucasus

Pinch me! binNotes suffered a massive case of star-struckness meeting wunderkind John Wurdeman – an Alice Feiring favorite.

John poured out his Pheasant’s Tears  wines – qvevri (clay-urn) fermented artisan wines from Georgia in the Caucasus region – while touting his Living Roots tours, tours geared towards travelers eager for an intimate glimpse into ancient Georgian terroir and culture through its wines, cuisine, and music.

A true Renaissance man – painter, musician, wine maker, restaurateur, and raconteur, John and his partner Ia Tabagari collaborate regularly with a host of international experts in the food, wine and art communities.

3. CANVAS | concierge alliance napa valley sonoma

Dynamo doyen and CANVAS co-founder | Executive Director Colby Smith spread her boundless enthusiasm, expertise, and laser-like insights to those within gold-dust sprinkling range.

CANVAS (concierge alliance of napa valley and sonoma) consolidates Napa and Sonoma area movers and shakers in the regional wine and hospitality industries.

4. Touring & Tasting  | The Premier Guide to Food. Wine. Travel

Touring & Tasting Marketing and Media Editor-in-Chief Wendy van Diver and freelance writers Michael Cervin and Jada Helm generously dished up wine, food and travel wisdom to attendees hungry for a glimpse behind the glossy media curtain.

Touring and Tasting is the premier guide for those who love food, wine and travel.

5. Vintank | Napa Valley

Vintank Chief Strategic Officer Paul Mabray schooled WTC14 attendees on geo fencing, data mining, and more.

Vintank revolutionizes wine industry technology for the Napa Valley and beyond.


6. Lunabean Media | Willamette Valley

Lunabean Media co-Founder Jeremy Schubert slashed and burned through social media strategies for fine-tuning Facebook audiences.

Lunabean Media targets corporations and wineries in premium pinot wine region Willamette Valley and beyond.


7. Eventbrite |  Second Press Wine Bar and Eatery

Eventbrite facilitated WTC 14’s fine Wine Pairing dinner at Paso Robles’ famed Second Press Wine Bar and Eatery.

A well-paced and thoughtful event, Second Press even offered food options fit for vegans like binNotes, including a tasteful polenta and portabello mushroom main.

Eventbrite uses technology to bring people together through live experiences.

Second Press Wine Bar and Eatery serves up artisan food and wine in on the square in downtown Paso Robles, CA.


8. San Luis Obispo (SLO) Wine Country

San Luis Obispo Wine Country emerged as a serious seaside contender, showcasing a variety of varietals, wine styles, and wine makers from this wine region nestled along the Santa Lucia range.


9. Mutineer Magazine | Fine Beverage Redefined.


Talk about tooting your own horn! Alan Krofp, kick-ass founder and President of  Mutineer Magazine and bad-boy drinkologist closed the conference with his trademark Horn Blast of Fury.

The millennial old soul reminded us all that life is short, technology is good, and buying a fine bottle of wine beats out buying designer jeans always!


10. Zephyr Adventures | Taste Vacations

Allen Wright, whirlwind mastermind behind Wine Tour Conference 2014 and founder of Zephyr Adventures,  talked up his new Taste Vacations, a world-wide destination wine tour company.

Allen combines keenly-honed business savvy, cutting edge industry leadership connections, and technical mastery to create must-attend beverage, food and travel conferences and tours.


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


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Copyrighted 2014. All Rights Reserved. 


Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

by. L.M. Archer, FWS

WITWIB? WTC14 – Paso Robles, CA.

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binNotes travels south this week to Wine Tour Conference 2014 in Paso Robles, California’s Wild Child wine region!

In case you didn’t get the memo, PRWC ranks high on binNotes’ list of favorite wine regions – you can read about it here:

Paso Robles Wine Country: Of  Vagabonds, Virtuosos and Visionaries.

Count on binNotes to visit old haunts, discover some new ones, plus get a lay of the land regarding PRWC’s  eleven new viticultural areas.

And as a recent affiliate of Zephyr Adventures,  binNotes also hope to learn more about what all this means.

So… stayed tuned…In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment or question – and thanks for stopping by.


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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All Rights Reserved. |  Images: Courtesy Wine Tour Conference 2014 

Bordeaux Redux: Left Bank, Right Bank, WTBD?

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

by. L.M. Archer, FWS

Today binNotes takes a mulligan on the topic of Golf and Bordeaux…two of life’s greatest challenges.

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 Back, by popular demand, here’s a previous binNotes’ post on the topic of golf and Bordeaux…

Left Bank, Right Bank, WTBD?

Understanding Bordeaux’s subregions is a lot like understanding golf – it’s all in the terrain, or terroir. Winegrowers, like skilled golfers, play it where it lays – in Bordeaux playing through some atypical water hazards, sand traps, and bunkers.

The wine region of Bordeaux is a lot like playing golf - full of water hazards.

Bordeaux subregions include the Left Bank, Right Bank, and Entre Deux Mers. So What’s the Big Difference?

Left Bank

You don’t want to snag a left hook on the Left Bank. This predominately flat expanse borders the Atlantic Ocean, and falls west of the Gironde Estuary and Garonne River. It also boasts Les Landes, Europe’s largest forest – 2.5M acres of pine trees to foil any bank shot.

In Left Bank’s Médoc and Pesssac Léognan areas, home to such prestigious Domaines as Chateaux Margaux, Mouton-Rothschild, and Haut-Brion, the warm sand and gravel soils favor Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot varietals- making Bordeaux the Biggest-Little-Cabernet Sauvignon-Growing-Wine Region in the world. Wines here hit the pin with firm structure, high tannin, pigment, acid, carrying hints of cassis, cedar, and graphite.

Thanks to the fog-inducing, botrytis-producing double-bogey action of the Ciron River cold air meeting Garonne River warm air in The Graves and Sauternais areas, white dessert wines find their sweet spot here, along with tournament-worthy dry whites composed primarily of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

Les Landes

Right Bank

No shanking on the Right Bank!  This stretch of Côtes (slopes), worm-burning plateaus, and knock-down valleys of cold soils clay and limestone favor Merlot and Cabernet Franc, yielding soft, silky, high acid dry red wines with notes of dark plum, walnut and prune. Hole-in-one AOC’s in the Right Bank’s Libornais area include Pomerol and St.-Èmilion.

The vineyards of Bordeaux stretch endlessly throughout this prestigious wine region.

Entre Deux Mers

Fore!  Entre Deux Mers, meaning ‘between two seas,’ falls between the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers, and enjoys the highest altitudes, greatest terrain variations, and most wine varieties in the Bordeaux region. We’re talkin’ a little bit o’ sand and gravel, a little bit o’ clay and limestone, and a whole lotta water, producing above par dry red and whites. Same story, different side of the Garonne River regarding the fog-borne botrytis sweet white wines.

The rivers of Bordeaux contribute to the unique characteristics of its wine.

Unlike golf, in the winemaking world, there are no mulligans. Every shot, or harvest, counts. And in Bordeaux, it’s a game played by masters. Santé!

Care to share? Leave your comments below…and thanks for stopping by!

More of binNotes on Bordeaux:

 Bordeaux 2012 St.-Emilion Reclassification – WDIAM?

There Will Be Blood – and Wine

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All Rights Reserved. 

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