Happy Holidays | Feliz Navidad | Joyeux Noel |

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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™.


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

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Copyrighted ©2014. All Rights Reserved. 

Restaurant Intervention: epulo, Edmonds, WA.

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.  

By L. M. Archer, FWS

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“He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise.” ~ Henry David Thoreau



e-pu-lo:  sumptuous food, banquet or feast.

I finally know what the sin of gluttony feels like. Or, rather – what it tastes like.

It tastes like e-pu-lo bistro’s Manila clams with Parsley, ​Chervil, Chives, Garlic & Pinot Gris, plus a side of toasted bread to sop up the sauce. Oh, and a side order of sautéed green beans with garlic. lemon and chili to add to the flavor-fest. So simple. So delicious. So sumptuous. A true banquet of the senses  – and stomach.

Meat eaters – my  partner-in-crime swears by the Braised Beef Short Rib with Garlic​ Mashed Potato, Arugula & Demi Glace. Not one succulent morsel left on his plate, either.

Wines by the glass or bottle include some reasonably priced Old World selections, as well as familiar top-shelf New world pours with prices to match.

Warm, attentive staff, soft lighting and cozy bistro seating help set the stage for ongoing crime of self-indulgence. And, like any self-respecting bistro, this venue accommodates families, foodies and francophiles alike. Proprietary parking on the side ensures a seamless, hassle-free dining experience. Sinning never tasted so good.


Epulo Bistro on Urbanspoon

Link here for more  binNotes Urbanspoon Restaurant  Interventions.


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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All images courtesy the author. All Rights Reserved.

Napa for Normal People

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 Napa for Normal People©

by. L.M. Archer, FWS

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Is Napa for normal people? Or for just the rarified – those willing to dole out $20+ tasting fees to sample $100+ bottles of wine in multi-million dollar facilities owned by multi-billion dollar corporations and family empires?


binNotes recently travelled to Napa to find out.

I first pondered the question of a ‘Napa for Normal People’ while listening to an International Guild of Sommelier’s podcast about Napa’s history. The podcast, a frank, free-wheeling discussion with Tim Mondavi of Continuum Estates, John Williams of Frog’s Leap, and Press Restaurant sommelier Kelli White, centered around Napa from the repeal of Prohibition in 1933 to the 1990’s.

This roundtable recalled a Napa of collaboration, curiosity, and collegiality among mostly family owned wineries – wineries dedicated to quality and innovation. I wondered – what about Napa today?  Does a Napa for ‘normal’ people exist, a wine region not unlike the Willamette Valley or Walla Walla, where you’re more apt to meet the wine maker in jeans and fleece swearing at a tractor than airbrushed in glossy wine magazine ads?  The answer surprised me. Hopefully it will you, too.


 Bellying up to the bar at  JoLe Restaurant in downtown Calistoga, my partner in crime and I sensed we’d happened upon something special.

Subdued conversations thrummed through the scrums of tightly packed tables arranged French bistro style – the clientele a mix of locals and visitors – always a good sign. We took a place at the prep bar overlooking the place.

An upbeat, impeccably attired server brought the wine list and menu. Perusing them, I found myself uttering an uncharacteristic expletive:

“Holy @#$%.”

  Forget the usual big name Napa Cabernet makers we’d driven by en route to dinner. This place featured gems from off-the-radar wine makers like Shypoke, Shafer, Jericho, Larkmead, and Laura Michel.

And the food matched the same innovative vibe, featuring well-paired fare like locally sourced grilled asparagus with strawberries and lamb tongue with watermelon.

By the end of the evening, I realized I’d stumbled down the rabbit hole into another Napa – where wines reflect terroir, not Wine Advocate tout sheets, and food reflects local flavors, not Food Network soundbites.

 And then it hit me.  ‘Napa for normal people’ does exist – a quiet revolution burgeoning within Napa today, similar to its post-Prohibition Renaissance.

Intrigued, we chatted with the person behind the prep bar – owner Matt Spector. I learned about his journey from Pittsburg to Napa with his wife and pastry chef, Sonjia – a tale laced with passion, peril, and perhaps a bit of profanity. A story built upon hard work, humility, humor – and a commitment to quality.

A story worth sharing here.


b/N: Who or what brought you to the Napa region?
“I joke that my wife Sonjia brought us here – she is from Northern CA., and had worked in Napa before moving to Philly, where we met. When we would visit her parents, we would always stop here first for a few days. The same things that bring so many tourists here are the same things that brought us: Lifestyle, landscape and of course the food and wine. We always thought we would settle here, and when we had a chance to sell our restaurant in Philadelphia we figured it’s now or never. ”

b/N: Tell readers a bit about the history of JoLe Restaurant – what makes it unique?
“JoLe actually begins in Philly where Sonjia and I met. After working for other people, we opened our own restaurant called Matyson ( Matt & Sonjia). Fast forward 5 years – now we’re in Napa looking to open our second place, and we need a name. We have to boys Joseph, who was 4 at the time, and Jacob Levi, who was 6 months. Put their names together you get JoLe, so from Matyson – JoLe was born. At our restaurant in Philly we did themed tasting menus every week;  they became the biggest part of our business. Those menus inspired our menu here, where you can design your own experience by choosing from the a la carte menu to make your own tasting -with or without wine pairings. Our feeling was you have limited time in the Valley  – why not be able to try as many things as possible –  especially with the wine, two 5 course dinners offers the diner a chance to try 10 different wines?”

b/N: You have an incredible wine list, featuring many of Napa’s under-the-radar rock stars and burgeoning artisans. Tell readers a little bit about the process that goes into creating JoLe’s eclectic wine list.

(Answered by James Cerda our wine buyer and GM):

“Our wine list really begins with our open tastings that we hold each week. Each Wednesday and Thursday between 3-4:30 p.m. we hold open tastings where any distributer, sale representative or even winemaker can stop by and pour whatever wine they have with them.  In any given session, we will taste between five and twenty-five wines, usually from all over the world. About 90% of the wine we purchase come from these open tasting. What I’m really looking for during these tastings  are distinctive wines.  Something has to jump out at me, but I’m not looking for one thing specifically, but if I’m still thinking about a wine a day or two later, I either purchase it that week, or add it to my list of wines to be purchased in the future. With each week that passes, the list of wines to purchase in the future grows longer and longer.

When it comes to what wines make the list at any given time, I try to shape the menu around a multitude of different palates. We usually have around 60 different wines by the glass, and I like to think that no matter who walks through the door, I will have a wine by the glass that will fit their palate.  This means that  with the most popular varietals like Pinot, Cab and Chardonnay, I usually have two to three different offerings of each, all in different styles, and usually from different areas of the globe. Other popular varietals such as Merlot, Zin Grenache, and Syrah are also almost always represented on our list as well. After that, I get to fill out the list with quirky wines that I like, like a Gruner Veltliner from the Von Strosser winery, possibly a Mueller Thurgau from Alto Adige, or Charbono from right here in Calistoga. Price point is important as well. Our by the glass price ranges from $7-$35 per glass, and  I think that one can find some great values at whatever price point they are looking at.

My favorite aspect about our wine list are the small local projects that we get to highlight.  Many come from wine makers who have cut their teeth at other wineries, and are now just starting their own projects. These are sometimes the most interesting wines on our list and often times they are some of our best sellers. It’s really great that we get to offer these phenomenal wine makers a platform to showcase their wines.

With so many wines from all over the world and so many producers right here in our back yard, there is no possible way to showcase every great wine at one time, so we have taken on and embrace change when it comes to our wine list. The wine list is constantly evolving. This means that each time a guest returns to JoLe, they are likely to discover at least a couple of new wines since their last visit, and sometimes a completely new menu. Our goal is to create  an exciting and ambitious by-the-glass program that is ever-changing, and focuses on smaller producers who have something to say. Often guests will come in twice in one trip and be able to have a different menu then the night before.”

b/N: JoLe’s inventive, farm-to-table fare pair perfectly with the wines offered. Tell us about how you and your wife Sonjia collaborate on the menu – do you have specific flavor profiles you each/both favor, or is it more improvisational?

“Improvisational would be the best way to describe our menus. I always tell people we do American food that way we can take from the melting pot that is our country. Aside from myself and Sonjia, there are only 6 other cooks in the kitchen, and we ask all of them for input. As things come into season, we will get them on. We change pieces of the menu at different times, usually within 5 weeks the whole menu will have change.”

b/N: JoLe offers a taste of first-rate food, wines and staff without the hype or high prices typically associated with Napa. Did you deliberately set out to offer a ‘normal side of Napa?’

“…We just do our thing cook the food we like and by the wines we enjoy. We work at a high level on both sides of the line but we implore a Mom & Pop attitude. Someone wrote about us in Philly and deemed our place “casually sophisticated,” that still our goal.”

b/N: You have great staff – they really add to the dining experience at JoLe. How are you able to attract and retain such great people? 

“Of course as business grew, we were able to attract more quality employees. While we want people to bring their own personalities to the table, we ask that they check their egos. I think people who work with us understand that they are part of a dream that is being realized by us. It is a special thing to be a part of.”
b/N: What is/are your greatest challenge(s) running a restaurant in the Napa region? 

“Our greatest challenge is being a seasonal business. After six years we have learned to manage it, but I will never get used to slowing down in the winter. ”

What are your thoughts about ‘Napa for Normal People’? Leave your comments below.


For more information about JoLe Restaurant:

http://www.jolerestaurant.com | 1457 Lincoln Ave, Calistoga, CA 94515  | (707) 942-5938

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 Thank you:

Matt & Sonjia Spector, JoLe Restaurant - Calistoga, CA

Copyrighted 2012-2014. All Rights Reserved.

Guest Blog Redux: International Food and Wine Pairing Round Up

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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International Food and Wine Pairing Roundup

Here’s the newly migrated link to my recent guest blogger contribution ito the 2014 International Food and Wine Pairing Blogger Roundup, hosted by London wine merchant Roberson Wine.


Roberson Wine Featured Blog


 Have a happy 4th of July!

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Thank you:

Carlo – TUG

Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved.

Love in the Time of Chocolate

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

The Terroir of Chocolate – Part 3

by L.M. Archer, FWS


Hey wine and chocolate lovers! You’ve just bitten into that 85% dark chocolate truffle, paired with a lovely little pinot noir from the Willamette Valley…the chocolate caressing the inside of your mouth, the wine whispering gently…your body and soul wrapped in conjugal bliss around the world’s most toothsome twosome…

…ever wonder who conjures up all that artisanal chocolate magic?  Recently, binNotes caught up with Amano Chocolates  founder and Head Chocolatier Art Pollard to talk about love, passion, and the terroir of chocolate.  Amano  means ‘they love’ and ‘by hand‘ in Italian – a name evocative of award-winning  Amano Chocolates‘  love and passion for the careful crafting of artisan chocolate through traditional methods, exacting standards, and exotic sourcing.

Tell readers a little bit about the ‘story’ of Amano Chocolates.

“We launched in 2007 with the single most goal of creating the world’s finest quality chocolate. This is of course, a tall order and somewhat subjective but, I’ve always believed if you are going to do something, do it all the way. It was a long journey prior to launching of course… It took two years to build our factory with lots of experiments to ensure that the finished chocolate wasn’t just good but was exceptional.

Somehow, National Public Radio managed to get samples of our early test batches. Much to our surprise, in February of 2007 they announced that we were one of the best chocolates in the US. We hadn’t launched yet but we looked at each other and said:”I guess we just launched.” We turned on the website and that began an amazing journey.

Since launching, we have won over 150 first place awards through competitions in Europe and the United States. What is more amazing to me however is how what we have done has touched people’s lives both here and in our farmers lives. The joy that I see in their eyes when I take the finished chocolate back to the farmers is truly priceless. As to whether we make the world’s finest quality chocolate, I’ll leave that up to you. It is after all a highly personal question. The world’s finest chocolate truly is the one we love the most.”

As a chocolatier, do you find that the terroir of chocolate ­,like wine ,­ informs its flavor profiles?

Most definitely, the terroir of the cocoa has a huge affect on the finished flavor of the chocolate. At least if the chocolate maker wants it to. Many of the interesting flavors are actually removed by the larger chocolate companies. There are many reasons for this. One of which is consistency. The large chocolate companies want their chocolate to taste the same day in and day out. Hershey’s still tastes like it did 50 years ago or when it first started. (It was made with spoiled milk then and is made with milk that is artificially spoiled now.) I understand and somewhat appreciate why they make these decisions. One of which is they don’t want to be confronted that the chocolate they made last week, last month or last year was better than what they are making today.

In their quest for consistency however, they miss out on the wonderful world of flavor. Cocoa is after all an organic ingredient. It comes from plants, it is made from the soil in which it is grown and is subject to weather and other environmental effects.

To make the chocolate consistent, the beans are roasted way past the point where the interesting and wonderful flavors are. These flavors are literally “burned out” leaving a mass of roasty flavors instead that come primarily from the burned cellulose that has undergone a maillard reaction. The aromatic flavor compounds go literally up the chimney.

However, with good fine quality chocolate such as Amano, these flavors are preserved. Roasting is a process where the natural flavors of the bean are actually enhanced and brought out. Just as spices are enhanced by a light gentle roasting, so too are cocoa beans. Too much however just means the flavors are lost rather than enhanced. ”

 If terroir indeed informs the flavor profile(s) of chocolate, how does that translate into the chocolate grown and used in Amano Chocolates?

Each chocolate that we make is completely and totally unique in terms of flavor when compared with the other chocolates we make. We have one made from literally the world’s most highly sought after cocoa, for example, (Chuao) that has a huge number of layers of flavor that keep coming at you in intoxicating waves. Another, our Dos Rios is more straight forward but, tastes like bergamot orange and lavender. (These aren’t flavors we are adding, they are a natural component of the beans.) Both are incredibly delicious but for very different reasons. Another chocolate we have tastes like grapefruit but has this incredibly leatheriness and earthiness to it. Each and every time you taste a chocolate made by Amano, it has its own story not only in terms of where the cocoa comes from but also in terms of flavor.

Where does Amano source its chocolate?

We source just about all of our cocoa directly from the farmers who grow the cocoa. This means we often have really incredible relationships with the farmers and their families. The farmers with whom we work live in countries such as : Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, and Venezuela. Needless to say, I have quite a few frequent flyer miles at this point.”

You mentioned three (3) basic types of chocolate. What are they, and where are they grown?

“Classically, cocoa is divided up into three groups: Criollo, Trinitario, and Forestero. Criollo has meant cocoa that has a genetic heritage through Venezuela. Forestero comes from the upper Amazon basin. Trinitario is a variety that is actually a hybrid between the two that originates (as the name implies) from Trinidad. These varieties have been transplanted all over the world. However, most of the cocoa out of the Caribbean is Trinitario and most everything out of Africa is Forestero as it is what is preferred by the large chocolate companies due to Forestero’s high disease resistance and productivity. (Flavor is far down on the list of priorities for the industrial chocolate companies. It is far more important for them.)

These terms are often confusing and are used differently by different people for different reasons. Modern genetic research has shown eight distinct genetic groups and it is my belief that many more will be found as genetic research continues. Each variety has its own unique flavor characteristics and each genetic group has many sub­groups. Cocoa has never really been bred like other agricultural crops so there are few distinct native varieties like we have with apples. (Though there are clonal groups.) All in all, the mix of genetics and flavors are really exciting. There is the very real possibility that neighboring valleys will produce very different cocoa and finished chocolate. Even more amazing is you can have a similar effect with neighboring farms.

Can you take readers through the basic process in making an Amano Chocolate bar? 

“Wow, that is huge… The amount of work that goes into making chocolate is far more than anyone ever expects. But, here is the ‘short’ run­down:

  •  The trees are highly disease susceptible. Thus the farmers have to put a lot more work into their cocoa trees than other crops. So, as you can imagine, it all starts with a farmer who cares for their trees.
  • Each pod must be hand cut from the tree. (Not picked but hand cut so as to not hurt the tree.) Each pod equates to approximately one chocolate bar.
  • The pods are split open by a machette one by one and the beans removed and then pulled from the central stock they grow on.
  • For 3-­7 days the beans are fermented in giant wooden boxes. Each day they must be taken out and turned over and put back in. That’s a lot of work.
  • The cocoa is dried. This takes 5-­7 days. The cocoa is put out in the morning and brought back in in the evening. Some farmers turn it over every hour.
  • The cocoa is then put into bags and shipped to us.
  • We hand sort the cocoa to remove any sticks, stones, and other items that aren’t supposed to be there.
  • The beans are hand roasted in our antique cocoa roaster.
  • The beans are dumped onto a cooling table that cools the beans and stops the roasting process.
  • The shells are removed in our winnowing machine. (All built of mahogany and maple.)
  • The bits of bean (now called nibs) are stone ground into a paste.
  • Sugar is added.
  • The cocoa (now like bread dough) is fed through a refiner that makes this smooth. This is all done with buckets and by hand so it is a lot of work.
  • The chocolate is put in the conche. We have a complicated conching process. The difference between not enough conching and too much is about 30 seconds.
  • The chocolate is unloaded and it is filtered and run past magnets to ensure it is safe.
  • The chocolate goes into our cool room to harden into 50 lb.blocks.
  • When it is time to mold, the chocolate is remelted.
  • The chocolate is tempered so it will crystalize properly. This is a heating and cooling process and can be quite tricky.
  • The chocolate is then fed into a molding machine that injects the chocolate into molds.
  • The chocolate cools and hardens.
  • All the bars are hand wrapped and put into boxes.

Yep, it is a huge amount of work.”

Anything else you care to share about Amano Chocolates with readers?

“I love what I do. Each of us is completely absorbed and passionate about what we do.”

Finally, here’s a question I ask all the winemakers I interview, and it seems appropriate to ask you as a chocolatier: “If making chocolate has taught me anything, it’s taught me…?”  

“Each and every step is the most important step.”

Check out Art’s cool Amano Chocolate blog here – cheers!

The Terroir of Chocolate, Part 1

The Terroir of Chocolate, Part 2 


Thank you:

Art Pollard, CEO  / Aaron Davidson- Amano Chocolate 


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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved. 

Terroirist Tuesday: International Food and Wine Pairing Blogger RoundUp

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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Terroirist Tuesday: International Food and Wine Pairing Roundup

Read binNotes’ contribution to International Food and Wine Pairing Blogger Roundup here.

Cheers to London’s upscale Roberson Wine

for including binNotes in the fun!


 Check back  for binNotes’ upcoming summer features:

Terroirist Tuesday: Napa for Normal People

Wine Region Road Trip: The A, B, E’s of EcoTravel

Meet the Winemaker: Vigneron de Bourgogne Exclusive



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Thank you:

Carlo – TUG

Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved.

Vins de Provence Rosé: Pink is the New Black

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

by. L.M. Archer, FWS

Vins de Provence Wine Pairing at Mistral Kitchen

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 Real men drink rosé.

That’s right. Rosé is the new black. And a pink that men CAN drink- as evidenced at the recent  Vins de Provence  wine tasting hosted at Mistral Kitchen.


Blame it on the Phocaeans, who settled the port city of Massilla (modern-day Marseilles) back in 600 BC, bringing with them vines to cultivate, and the birth of winemaking in France.

By 200 BC, Massilla allied with the Roman Empire. The Romans came, saw and renamed the region “Nostra Provincia” (‘Our Province.’) Membership in the Roman Empire had its privileges, earning Massilla the right to export its wines across the vast Roman Empire. By 100 BC, Massilla’s wines grew in stature along the Mediterranean. During this time, winemakers introduced short maceration before fermentation, producing wines of a pale color. These pale wines earned renown as the prestige quaff of aristocrats.

Over the centuries, various vagaries of church and state dimmed Provence’s light as a wine region – until the 14th century, when landed patricians and religious orders acquired and developed vast vineyards in the area. Provence and rosé held court again until the phylloxera epidemic of the late 19th century,  which decimated most of the vineyards. A tenacious region, Provence once more re-established itself at the turn of the 20th century.


Today, 90% of Provence’s wine production is rosé,  accounting for 10% of world’s rosé. Moreover, rosé is the only wine that’s enjoyed sustained double-digit market growth each year for the past 9 years.

The wine regions of Provence. | Image: Courtesy Vins de Provence.

Image: Courtesy Vins de Provence.

Three (3) of Provence’s major appellations produce 96% of the region’s AOP (Appellations of Provence) wines. These include:

Côte de Provence: Provence’s oldest and largest appellation, 85% production is rosé, and  75% of Provence’s total rose production. Côte de Provence’s four other non-contiguous subregions include:

  • Côte de Provence Sainte-Victoire
  • Côte de Provence Fréjus
  • Côte de Provence La Londe
  • Côte de Provence Pierrefue

Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence – Provence’s second largest appellation,  35% rosé. Note: Cabernet Sauvignon introduced here in 1960.

Coteaux Varois en Provence  – A chalky, mountainous interior region known for some of Provence’s more powerful rosés.

The balance of Provençal appellations include:

  • Bandol: Seaside-facing ampitheatre-shaped vineyards featuring man-made stone walls.
  • Cassis: Provence’s oldest AOC composed of terraced limestone cliffs overlooking the sea. 70% white – primarily aromatic Marsanne with resinous, saline, floral and fruit notes.
  • Bellet – Terraced single commune above the Var River near Nice, known for its rose-petal aromatic rosés. Note: It’s the only AOC authorized to produce chardonnay in the region.
  • Palette – Smallest appellation with strict aging requirements: 8 months for rosés and 18 months for reds:  Note: Produces vin cuit served with traditional 13 Desserts de Noel Provençaux.
  • Les Baux de Provence – An organic and biodynamic stronghold straddling both sides of the Alpilles Mountain range. Note: White wine production is not authorized here.
  • Coteaux de Pierrevert –  Newest, most northern AOC with strong alpine influence. Note: Bordeaux grape production not authorized here.


Other influences upon Provençal terroir include a balmy Mediterranean climate, which ensures over 3000 hours of sunshine a year. Oh, and a little thing called the Mistral – a cold, dry wind  the blows away humidity almost 150 days of the year.

Several mountain ranges punctuate the soils of Provence, dividing the calcareous limestone, clay and sand of the west with the quartz schist of the east. Western soils produce wild resinous herbs known as garrigue, while the east low-growing scrub grows, the vegetation adding a distinct subtext to the flavor profiles of Provencal wines.

These nutrient-poor soils support an abundance of grape varietals, including Grenache, Rolle, Syrah, Mourvédre, Carignan, Cinsault, Counoise, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tibouren.


Provençal winemakers follow the same short maceration times developed 2600 years earlier, using the direct press method. This means the grapes are pressed immediately after picking to retain freshness and pale color. Rosé is made from red grapes, not a blend  of white and red, so winemakers avoid longer skin contact and concomitant darker juice pigmentation.

Complexity develops through blending small-batch, single-variety rosés, then combining them into a final cuvée for the desired aroma, balance, and flavor profiles. Most undergo élevage in stainless-steel tanks, though some winemakers now employ judicious use of oak in some rosés.

Provence rarely employs another method of making rosé, known as saignée. In saignée, a portion of the juice is ‘bled off, and the rest of the juice and skins remain to make red wine.


Vins de Provence define rosé as a dry wine with the ‘character of a red’ and the ‘crispness of white.’ Designed to pair well with food, Provençal rosés provides versatility and range – as an apéretif, small bites sidekick, or full meal deal.  Think of it as the LBD of wine. Pink IS the new black…santé!

Vins de Provence Tasting Menu wines included the following:

1a. Le Provencal 2013 – 14.99. 50% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 10% Syrah. Low yields, high concentration of flavors. Soils: Sandy limestone.  Soft color, fruit notes,  mouth feel and finish.

1b. Terres de berne 2013 – 19.99. 50% Cinsault, 40%Grenache, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Rose-petal pink, acid plus, tart fruit flavors.

2a.  Sables d’Azur Rose 2013 – 11.99. Syrah, Cinsault, Grenache. Soils; Limestone pebbles, clay, sand. Salmon-color, white flowers, red fruits, citrus. Clean, fresh, sharp finish.

2b. AIX Rose 2013 – $20  Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Counoise. Soils: Mineral-rich limestone, gravel, clay. 70% direct press, 30% saignée. Apple, mineral notes.

3a. Les Clans 2012 – 65.00. Grenache, Rolle, Syrah, Tibouren, Cinsault. Chalky clay from NE highland area near Fréjus. Triage: 3x. 90% free run, 10% mild press. Barrel fermented 10 months in 600-litre demi-muids. Battonage 2x weekly. Herbal, tannic.

3b. Quat’Saisons 2013 – 24.00. Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Syrah. Hand picked, sorted. Light press. Light fining, natural sedimentation. Soil: Clay/limestone slopes w/ small stones. Highland area – more inland. Pale strawberry color, stone fruit, citrus.

4. Terra Amata Rose – 11.99. 30% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Cinsault, 15% Mourvedre, 10% Carignan, 8% Rolle, 2% Ugni. 105 Saignee, 65% direct press, 25% old maceration. Aged 4-6 mos. in vat. Soils: Silicious-clay soils. Best bang for the buck – smooth, soft red fruit and citrus flavor.

Click here to learn more about Vins de Provence.


Thank you: 

Julie A. Peterson, Vins de Provence – US Office

Eric Entrikin, Master Sommelier

William Belickis, Chef/Owner – Mistral Kitchen

Mistral Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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