HBD!

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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Today Francophiles worldwide celebrate Le Fête Nationale, also known as ‘la fête du 14-juillet‘…better known as Bastille Day. 

Regardless, it’s a time to celebrate égalité, fraternité, et liberté with food, wine and friends…and fireworks.

Care to share how do you plan to celebrate?

Leave a comment below, or send a tweet @binNotes #bastille day!

Santé!

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved. Image courtesy: metislinens.blogspot.com

Guest Blog Redux: International Food and Wine Pairing Round Up

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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.

Cheers!

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 Have a happy 4th of July!

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Thank you:

Carlo – TUG

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!

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 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

Santé!

 

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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.

PROVENCE: HISTORY

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.

PROVENCE: PRODUCTION

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.

PROVENCE: TERROIR

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.

PROVENCE: ART OF THE BLEND

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.

PROVENCE: TASTING NOTES

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.

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Thank you: 

Julie A. Peterson, Vins de Provence – US Office

Eric Entrikin, Master Sommelier

William Belickis, Chef/Owner – Mistral Kitchen

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All Rights Reserved.

WITWIB? VdP & NV

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

by. L.M. Archer, FWS

WITWIB? Wines of Provence Wine Tasting at Mistral Kitchen

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I’m in a rosé state of mind…. after a fabulous recent wine tasting hosted by Wines of Provence and paired with the provocative flavors of Mistral Kitchen.

 Master Sommelier Eric Entrikin and Vins de Provence host Julie Peterson  put attendees through our wine tasting paces, while chef/owner William Belickis dazzled with his culinary delights.

Check back later this week for the low down on summer sippers from sunny Provence…and the inside scoop on my current trip to Napa, including some exciting, under-the-radar artisan wine makers.

Cheers!

Mistral Kitchen on Urbanspoon

 

 

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All Rights Reserved.

Terroirist Tuesday

 Welcome to binNotes’ Terroirist Tuesday.

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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Welcome to binNotes’ Terroirist Tuesday binNotes is out of pocket this week.

Enjoy binNotes Guest Post: The Good Life France: Burgundy – France’s Most Seductive Wine Region

Don’t Miss out! Underground Cellars: Sonoma Winecation #Giveaway

Cheers!

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved. All images ©2014 Courtesy the author.

Published: The Good Life France – Burgundy Wine Region

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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It’s Official!

 My featured guest blog on Burgundy’s Wine Region is now published in The Good Life France.

Read it here.

Santé!

 

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Merci:

Janine Marsh – The Good Life France

Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved.

Burgundy: France’s Most Seductive Wine Region

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog. Today’s Terroirist Tuesday: binNotes’ Guest Blog for The Good Life France  later this week.

Burgundy: France’s Most Seductive Wine Region

by L.M. Archer, FWS.

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Burgundy seduces, intoxicating first-timers and return visitors alike with its charm – and wines.

Easily accessible by train or car, Burgundy lies south of Paris approximately 190 miles. Comprised of three departments, five subregions, and over 3800 domaines, Burgundy offers an endless array of wine tasting options. Moreover,  its quaint lifestyle and respect for tradition provides a lovely interlude from the hectic pace of city life.

In Burgundy, two grape varietals rein supreme: the noble Pinot Noir, and the fair-haired Chardonnay. Home to notable Grand Crus such as Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, and Romanée-Conti, Burgundy also boasts the production of affordable Crémant de Bourgogne, Bourgogne Aligoté, and Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains, among others.

Here, terroir serves as touchstone for understanding the ‘soul’ of Burgundy’s wine. When planning your trip to Burgundy, understanding its subregions will help you get a lay of the land.

 

Yonne: Chablis, Grand Auxerrois

Located in the western part of Burgundy, the Yonne department includes famed Chablis and lesser-known Grand Auxerrois wine subregions. Here, high profile Chablis pours up mineral-driven Chardonnays – thanks to its famous chalky soils. Nearby  under-the-radar Grand Auxerrois proffers pocket-friendly pours of unusual diversity, including Sauvignon Blanc in St. Bris, César-Pinot Noir blends in Irancy, and Melon de Bourgogne in Vézelay.

I love Chablis for its expansive horizons, bright light and sense of independence from the rest of Burgundy. I also enjoy the affordable off-the-beaten track selection of wines made from secondary varietals that abound here.

 

Cote d’Or: Cote de Nuits, Cote de Beane, Hautes Côtes

The golden slopes of the Côte d’Or encompass Burgundy’s celebrated Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune subregions, glistening from Dijon to Santenay.  While Côte de Nuits wears the crown for world-class reds, Côte de Beaune holds forth with its ‘Royal Court’ of sumptuous whites, including Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet, as well as velvety reds like Pommard and Volnay. The Cote d’Or also includes the lesser-ranked but higher altitude Hautes Côtes (upper slopes) that rise behind Cote de Nuits and Cote de Beaune.

Many consider the Cote d’Or the heart of Burgundy, and Beaune its center of the universe. It’s where I go to wander  the cobblestone streets, marvel at the weekly market, and lose myself in the quiet grandeur of this most aristocratic place.

Saône-et-Loire: Côte Chalonnaise & Mâconnais 

Beyond the high-rent Côte d’Or department lies Burgundy’s southern outpost, home to the Côte Chalonnais the Maconnais subregions, and some of Burgundy’s most budget-friendly wines.

Côte Chalonnaise lays claim to the birthplace of Burgundy’s Crémant de Bourgogne. Postcard picturesque villages like Mercurey supply a host of supple, reasonably-priced reds, while wine co-op capitol Montagny plants a flag for fresh, inexpensive whites.

Mâconnais anchors Burgundy in the south with its rolling hills, jutting escarpments, and famously refreshing whites like famous Pouilly-Fuissé.

This region serves my favorite source of super-affordable, easy-quaffing whites. Mâconnais wine makers share a desire to try harder, to exceed expectations – maybe because they fall in the shadows of bigger shouldered Chablis and Cote d’Or. I also enjoy Macônnais for its proximity to another favorite wine region, Beaujolais.

All in all, Burgundy offers wine connoisseurs, neophytes and voyagers alike unimaginable treasures worth discovering, for those fortunate enough to venture there. Like any seductress, Burgundy waits patiently  with a sly smile for you to unlock her charms.

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Copyrighted© 2012-2014. All images courtesy the author. All Rights reserved.

Thank you: Janine Marsh, The Good Life France

 

Écoutez! FWS Update

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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It’s official! binNotes has passed the FWS Bourgogne Master Level Program exam.

Whew…time to break out the Crémant de Bourgogne!

Thanks to my dear readers, friends, family, freelance clients, and co-workers for putting up with me during the past few months as I lived, breathed, and dreamt BOURGOGNE all day, every day…Burgundy, the most Magnificent of Obsessions. Well worth the effort.

Santé!

 

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved.

Terroirist Tuesday: Get Your #Terroir On, Part 2

Welcome to binNotes’ Terroirist Tuesday. Today’s Topic: Terroir, Part 2

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by L. M. Archer, FWS

Welcome back! First, a shout out to thedrunkencyclist, who graciously pointed out that these Terroirist Tuesday quizzes lack a clear winner, only general results. True. Unfortunately, while PollDaddy looks pretty, it only quantifies the answers, not qualifies them, viz, doesn’t say who answered what.

Ok, ok. binNotes promises to post future quizzes without visually appealing but statistically unappealing PollDaddy – opting instead for the good ole’ ‘Comments’ section to track results. This should make the competitive at heart among you – everyone – enjoy the experience a bit more.

So without further ado – let’s cut to the chase and post the Terroir quiz results (press ‘View Results’) and  the answers below.

Well. Those are the results. Here are the answers:

1. Terroir refers to: All of the above. 

  • A viti-vinicultural concept regarding a defined piece of land.
  • A term derived from the word ‘territory.’ 
  • A Burgundian term describing the various climactic, topographical and vinicultural influences contributing to a wine’s unique personality.

2. In Burgundy, the term ‘climat’: Refers to a defined piece of land.

3. In Burgundy, a cadastral unitIs a technical term used by geographers to describe a parcel of land.

That it – we’ll unpack the term terroir in Terroirist Tuesday: Terroir: Part 3…after a few fun sidetrack posts, including binNotes first guest-blogging gig on all things Burgundy for The Good Life France.

In the meantime…remember: Life without wine is no life at all…thanks for stopping by. Santé!

Copyrighted 2012-2014. All Rights Reserved. All photos courtesy of the author.

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