WITWIB? FoodableTV!

binNotes | a wine blog

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

binNotes joins Foodable TV!

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“It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one.”
― M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

Hey folks! It’s official – binNotes has joined the contributor team at FoodableTV…looking forward to dishing on the food scene in Seattle with you all!

Foodable TV

And in April, don’t forget to tune in for more of my new wine maker interview series the Red Thread™, where I talk terroir with artisan wine makers worldwide.

Care to share? Feel free to leave your comments below.

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Copyrighted binNotes 2015. All Rights Reserved. | Images courtesy Foodable TV.

‘A Year in Champagne’ | The Movie

binNotes | a wine blog

 by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

‘A Year in Champagne’  | The Movie

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“An indulgence. A celebration. A seduction. A triumph. This is the essence of Champagne, isn’t it?” – A Year in Champagne

Who doesn’t love bubbles?

This weekend, binNotes attends an exclusive showing of ‘A Year in Champagne‘ a movie from the same fine folks who brought you the acclaimed film ‘A Year in Burgundy.’

Join in the fun – follow along on Instagram for a real-time review of the event and tweet your favorite bubbles to @binNotes!

Hey Seattleites:

A special Seattle SIFF screening of ‘A Year in Champagne’ happens 3/9/15, 7:00 PM, SIFF Center Cinema. Learn more here .

'A Year in Champagne'  is a film that captures the essence of the world's most seductive wine region.

‘A Year in Champagne’ | A film about seduction.

Care to share? Feel free to leave your comments below.

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Copyrighted binNotes 2015. All Rights Reserved. | Images courtesy ”A Year in Champagne.”

RT™ | Q & A

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

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

  Red Thread™  | Q & A

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binNotes is still on the road talking to wine makers for the new Red Thread™  wine maker interview series. A big shout out to all the wine makers thus far for their graciousness, hospitality, and kindness towards Lucca, the Red Thread™ mascot.

Some have asked me the difference between binNotes and the Red Thread™ . The Red Thread™ series is an adjunct to binNotes | a wine blog.

Some people ask me why I created the Red Thread™. Why I write a wine blog. As most of you have figured out by now, it’s clearly not for the money. Nor for free wine. Nor for power or prestige. I write about wine makers because I’m a human being with a need for inspiration, creation and connection. I don’t think I’m alone in these desires.

Add to the mix that I’m also a shy, reserved introvert with an unexpected flip side – exceptional curiosity, creativity and risk-taking. Go figure. So my leap of faith into wine writing most days feels more like a thud.

But I write binNotes and create the Red Thread ™  because I feel it’s important to put skin in the game. My skin. My blood. My heart. To travel this path less taken, to tell these wine maker stories. Stories about people with exceptional vision, guts, and artistry. People willing to suffer, sometimes bleed, and maybe lose some sleep in pursuit of a dream, a need, a desire to create something beautiful.

The world needs beauty. It needs heroes. It needs these stories. I hope you find as much inspiration in them as I do. And I hope this helps answer some of your questions. Please feel free to leave more if you have them. Cheers.


Care to share? Please feel free to leave your comments below.

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Copyrighted binNotes 2015. All Rights Reserved.  All photos courtesy the author.

WITWIB? RT Red Thread™!

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

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

WITIB? | On the Road with the Red Thread™ 

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L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML


If you want to start an argument in the wine world – and believe me, it’s not hard to do – all you have to do is mention the word terroir.                   -Eric Asimov 

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binNotes hits the road this month to interview some favorite wine makers in some far-flung wine regions for the Red Thread™.

While the regions and wine makers may vary, the storyline does not: modern-day heroes overcoming obstacles to pursue their passion: wine, the Red Thread™ that binds us all.

Spoiler Alert: There will be talk of terroir.


Care to share? Please feel free to leave your comments below.

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Copyrighted binNotes 2015. All Rights Reserved. 

Red Thread™ Exclusive | Damsel Cellars

binNotes | a wine blog

Red Thread™  Exclusive | Damsel Cellars 

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

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“I don’t damsel well. Distress, I can do. Damseling? Not so much.”
― James Patterson, Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports


Welcome to the Red Thread™.

A writer’s job is to listen. 

This means allowing wine growers, wine makers, and wine regions a place to say their say on the page. 

The Red Thread™ chronicles stories about wine, the red thread that binds us all.

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A winemaker’s story is a true hero’s journey, involving obstacles, an occasional mentor, and the ultimate reward – wine. Details may vary, but never the storyline. Today Mari Womack of Damsel Cellars in Woodinville, WA. shares her story with in the Red Thread.™

I know Mari through her affiliation with Darby Winery, where she runs the tasting room and serves as assistant wine maker. But savoring Mari’s own wines calls to mind a comment our instructor at BIVB in Burgundy sometimes made.

    “Ah, yes,” he would say.”This wine captures the personality of the wine maker.”  If the remark ended with a sly smile, one knew the wine maker was a woman.

Mari’s wines capture her personality – equal parts elegance and strength. Attending her recent Release event, it’s easy to understand why many consider her a rising star in the Washington wine scene.

NOTE: Mari’s 2012 Damsel Cellars Syrah recently garnered 91 pts. in Wine Enthusiast.

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b/N: Who or what brought you to the world of wine?

MW:  My path to winemaking was not a straight line. I began working in restaurants in college and was introduced to some lovely wines and wine/food pairings and a whole new world opened up.

I caught the wine bug and began doing research on my own, attending industry tastings and starting the process that eventually led me to where I am now. I continued to work in the restaurant business and wine was always an interest, but it was relegated to the sidelines until 2011, when I decided it was time to find out what really goes on in the wine business.

First, I began volunteering in tasting rooms in Woodinville and during crush. Soon after, I was hired by Darby Winery to manage the tasting rooms. The one condition of employment I had for Darby was that he would teach me how to make wine.

b/N:  Tell readers a little bit about the history of Damsel Cellars. How did it evolve, and what makes it unique?

MW:  Damsel Cellars is a project that is still in its infancy. I’m very interested to see how it’s going to evolve. My main goal with Damsel currently is very simple: make great wine that people want to buy and enjoy.

I’m still honing my craft and there are so many variables that go into the process of winemaking. I’m constantly learning and the evolution of Damsel will be directly influenced simply by me getting smarter and better at what I do.

b/N:  You currently make wine under three different labels. What, if any, differences do you see in your approach at Damsel Cellars vs. working with your brother at Rivalry or as assistant winemaker at Darby Winery? How do you juggle it all during crush?

MW:   I think the major differences between working with the different wines (Damsel, Rivalry & Darby) is really about who is making the final decision during each step of the process.

Damsel, I feel, is really my baby and the purest expression of my style as a winemaker. Rivalry is a wonderful collaboration with my brother and we make decisions together and as the assistant to Darby, he’s definitely calling the shots and I’m helping to execute his vision for his wines.

b/N:   Do you consider yourself more old world or new world in your wine making style?

MW:  My process isn’t really new or old world. I think there are benefits to learning new techniques and continuing to keep up with the advances of the industry, but wine has been around for a very long time and there is a beauty to simply letting the wine do what it’s going to do with minimal interference.

b/N:  Does the concept of terroir influence your wine making at all? Where do you source your grapes? Do you have any favorite AVA’s or vineyards? 

MW:  I think there are very distinct differences in the grapes coming from the different AVAs in Washington State. I’m specifically intrigued by the nuances in Syrah from the various AVAs. I’m currently sourcing fruit from Boushey Vineyard (Yakima Valley) and Stillwater Creek Vineyard (Wahluke Slope).

My first goal was to find amazing fruit to work with and doing that meant finding great vineyards. I’ve been very impressed with the quality of fruit from both Boushey and Stillwater Creek. I feel going forward I would love to pick up some Syrah from Walla Walla and if there is a little extra Cabernet Sauvignon from Discovery Vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills, I’d be very happy to work with that fruit.

b/N:  Do you have any wine region(s) or wine maker(s) that inspire(s) you? If so, why? 

MW:  I’m around winemakers in Woodinville that are constantly inspiring me. Not only are many of them making delicious wine, they are happy to share their knowledge and experience with the sincere goal of elevating Washington wines. It’s a creative and competitive environment, but competitive in the best sense of the word. ­

Praise for a Washington winemaker really helps us all and raises the reputation of wine from our region.

b/N:   Any insights on being a woman wine maker in Washington state?

MW:   All the women working in the wine industry that I’ve met so far have been awesome. The women I know are driven, hard­working and passionate about what they do. As far as being a woman winemaker in Washington, the goal remains the same – to work hard and make great wine.

bN:   What are your greatest challenges as a wine maker at Damsel Cellars?

MW:  The greatest challenge for Damsel at this point is growing and creating a brand that endures. After only three (3) vintages, I’m finding that making the wine is the fun and easy part; ­getting out there and selling it is the greater challenge.

bN:   Anything else you care to share?

MW:  Wine for me is filled with romance and ritual. There is such a rich history to wine that I wanted to be a part of that story. I love the ritual of opening a bottle of wine, pulling the cork, smelling it, pouring that gorgeous liquid into a big decanter and savoring that first sip…it’s romantic and I love it.

bN:   Finally: “If wine making has taught me anything, it’s taught me…”

MW: Wine making is teaching me patience. It’s teaching me to slow down, to observe and to wait. So much of wine is a waiting game and patience has never been my strong suit. It’s a challenge, but I’m learning to give the wine time.

Learn more about Damsel Cellars here.

Red Thread™ | Damsel Cellars | ©2015 L.M. Archer from binNotes on Vimeo.



Care to share? Feel free to leave your comments below.

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Copyrighted binNotes 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Thank you:

Mari Womack, Damsel Cellars

Images: Courtesy Mari Womack, Damsel Cellars.

Note: binNotes sometimes pours for Darby Winery.

V Day | CC & W+C

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

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

Valentine’s Day  |  2015

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“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
― Lao Tzu

May you enjoy conscious coupling with the one you love this romantic holiday…and may it include wine and chocolate…Santé!

Care to share your fave wine and chocolate pairings? Leave your comments below…

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Copyrighted binNotes 2015. All Rights Reserved. 


Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

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

Walla Walla Wine @McCaw Hall | Seattle 2015 

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“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”
― Victor Hugo

No coincidence that Walla Walla Wine chose Seattle’s McCaw Hall to host their 2015 road show. binNotes attended this event, and breaks it down for you in three (3) easy pieces:

I.  Lyric

An undeniable musicality underscores the wines of Walla Walla, running the gamut of high, low and mid-notes with varying acumen.

For example, noteworthy performer G. Cuneo Cellars 2011 Bonatello Riserva Sangiovese lilts with supple grace across the palate like a Puccini libretto, while Kerloo Cellar’s 2012 Upland Grenache pours out with Carmen-esque coloratura, as Gifford Hirlinger 2012 Estate Malbec struts and frets like The Tales of Hoffman.

Scene Stealer: Waitsburg Cellars

Utterly original renditions of old world standards with new-world phrasing.

A tri-part harmony of understated brilliance. Sui generis. 

2013 Cheninieres | Snipes Mountain

2013 Chevray | Snipes Mountain

2013 Three White | Yakima Valley

II.  Luminous

“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.”  Galileo once observed. Apt when referencing the luminous wash of wines from Walla Walla. They illuminate like broad bolts of sunlight across the region’s epic expanse of hills. Something in the sun, soil, soul of the place that pulses through the vines and wines with a super-charged energy. It’s the same savage beauty experienced during my visit to Walla Walla last summer, as noted in Ode to Walla Walla.

III.  Luscious

Get real. Most Walla Walla vignerons will tell you that the fruit comes first – they just grow it, then get out of the way, and allow the wine to speak – or sing – for itself. Indeed. Walla Walla belts out some lyrical, luminous, luscious wines.


Care to share? Please feel free to leave your comments below.

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Thank you:

Walla Walla Wine Alliance

Copyrighted binNotes 2015. All Rights Reserved.