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.

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.


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

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™.


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

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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.  

Top 3 Takeaways: Burgundy’s HdB 2014

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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



Care to share? Leave your comment below – and thanks for stopping by.

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved.  

Images courtesy: |Hospices de Beaune | |

American Wine Story

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Like wine? Like compelling stories about wine? You’ve landed on the right page!

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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Looking for a movie about real heroes that also leaves you hankering for a great glass of wine?

Well, it’s here!

Image: Courtesy American Wine Story

This weekend, binNotes received an invite to the pre-screening  of American Wine Story  – available October 14th worldwide on iTunes and On Demand.

Powerful, poignant, and deeply personal, American Wine Story intertwines the legacy of Willamette Valley legend Jimi Brooks of Brooks Winery with other tales of a few far-flung American wine makers, chronicling leaps of faith from secure careers to follow dreams and pursue a common passion – wine.

Watch it here.

Care to share? Leave your comments below.



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Thank you:

Alisha Lumea – Polished Brands

Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved. |  Image courtesy: Willamette Wines

Pinot with Passion: Wooing Tree Vineyard | Central Otago, NZ

Welcome to binNotes: Meet the Winemaker

Like wine? Like compelling stories about wine? You’ve landed on the right page!

Today’s Exclusive:  Wooing Tree Vineyard |  Central Otago, NZ

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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It all started with the tree. The Wooing Tree. A rendevous spot for most of Central Otago’s ‘wooing’ couples. Fertile ground indeed, and the eventual site for award-winning Wooing Tree Vineyard, known for their ‘Pinot with Passion.’

binNotes first tasted Wooing Tree wines at The International Pinot Noir Celebration 2014, where owner Steve Farquarson held court over our Friday luncheon table. His wines poured out their sun-kissed brilliance with supple, food-friendly, red-fruited ease.

Pinot enthusiasts may recognize New Zealand’s Central Otago wine region for its annual  Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration, an event set against a stunning, craggy-mountained backdrop which features live music, epic cuisine, and world-class pinot. Known as ‘Vineyards on the Edge’, Central Otago grows pinot in the southern-most region of the world.

The story of Wooing Tree Vineyard centers around two couples who share passion, pluck, and some amazing luck to create one of Central Otago’s most well-recognized wineries.

So grab a glass of wine,  get cozy, and listen up as binNotes talks terroir with Steve Farquarson of Wooing Tree Vineyard:

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

SF: My wife Thea and I were working in IT in the UK and wanted to come back to New Zealand (home), but` didn’t really want to go back to an office job in the city. We really wanted to shift back to Central Otago for the outdoors lifestyle and were looking at setting up or buying a business down there, at this stage a vineyard was not part of the idea. We were talking to my sister and brother-in-law Jane and Geoff Bews and found out they were thinking about something similar, so we decided to pool our resources. We discovered quite a few vineyards were being setup in Central and very quickly we were thinking about doing this ourselves. So in 2001 we had the idea, later on in the year we were buying and setting up the vineyard which was planted in 2002. We stayed living in the UK and set it up remotely and shifted back for our first harvest 2005. Since then we have been hands on running a winery business with a very steep learning curve.   

b/N: Tell readers a bit about the history of Wooing Tree Vineyard  - what makes it so unique?

When we bought the land it had been unused for 100 years, before the grapes were planted, a number of trees needed to be felled and cleared, and unbeknown to us, one of these trees had quite a history.  The ancient tree commanded a place in local lore as a lovers’ rendezvous, and therefore had been given the name of the ‘Wooing Tree’. If only it could talk, it would have many a story to tell! Of course, the Wooing Tree was saved and the problem of coming up with a vineyard and wine label name was also solved. Today, the Wooing Tree is a popular place for weddings and marriage proposals and now sits prominently in the middle of the vineyard.

New Zealand’s Central Otago wine region has been called  “Vineyards on the Edge.” It’s the southern-most wine region in the world, and though it’s on the same 45th parallel as Bordeaux, the climate favors Burgundy’s pinot noir.

b/N:  What brought you to this wine region in general, and the production of Pinot Noir in particular?

SF:  We were part of a ‘second wave’ of producers in Central Otago so when we were looking at what variety to plant we had the luxury of the hard work the pioneers had put in finding out what grew best in the region.  It was clear Pinot Noir liked the climate in Central Otago, other varieties such as the Bordeaux ones had been tried, but just could not ripen. We have a continental climate with a short but hot summer and cold nights. The hot days and cool nights make it perfect for Pinot Noir to ripen up slowly, whilst building up the fruit flavours but still retaining the great acidity. We also have long day light hours, high UV light and very dry weather, and this all leads to a good hang time and no rush to bring in fruit. With the lack of rain we get to pick the fruit at the optimum time for flavours.

b/N:  Wooing Tree sits on a flat area within a wine region known for its high elevations. Central Otago also features wind-blown loess, yet your site features more sand and gravel. Talk a little bit about the terroir of Wooing Tree in particular that imparts its unique flavor profiles.

SF:  Our soils are very similar to the rest of the Cromwell basin, they are very light windblown loess and sand over a very free draining gravel base. About 70% of the Central Otago fruit is grown in the Cromwell Basin on similar soils. These soils give us great control in the vineyard in terms of irrigation; just enough to keep the vines going and if it does rain it disappears pretty quickly. It is true we are on a flat vineyard, when we were looking for land we were looking for a north facing slope, unlike many other vineyard areas in the world needing a slope for sun exposure, in Central Otago, the slope was desirable for frost protection. Having a flat vineyard we had to put in a frost protection system in from day one, we use aspersion (water) to protect the vines. In the time we have been here it has been discovered that even a slope doesn’t not always protect the vines in some frost events, hence a lot more frost protection systems going in the last few years. Wooing Tree is situated in the heart of Central Otago, giving it a good mix of the sub regions micro climates and making it one of the first vineyards to harvest, I feel this gives us plenty of time to ripen the fruit and as you say it is “vineyards on the edge” and the edge is often the season change. 

b/N:  Wooing Tree’s tagline is ‘Pinot with Passion.’ Do you have a favorite varietal  among those that you grow, and/or a particular Wooing Tree wine that you’re most passionate about?

SF:  Most of our grapes are Pinot Noir, so this is what we are most passionate about, we make three tiers for Pinot Noir, the Wooing Tree Sandstorm Reserve, Wooing Tree Pinot Noir and the Wooing Tree Beetle Juice, we also make a still white wine called Blondie and dry rosé from Pinot Noir and recently we have introduced a sweet rosé also made from Pinot Noir called Tickled Pink. We do specialize in Pinot Noir, but we do produce a couple of whites,  a Pinot Gris and a Chardonnay, these were primarily produced for the cellar door, but we are noticing a increased demand for Chardonnay, which is great news as we do love our Chardonnay.

b/N:  Tell readers a little about your team of wine makers.

SF:  We have been lucky to have two great winemakers make our wine, Carol Bunn made our wine up until 2009 and now we have the services of Peter Bartle. They are fantastic to work with and have won some great accolades for us over the years. The first vintage in 2005 resulted in a stunning pinot noir, which won the Open Red Wine Trophy at the Air NZ Wine Awards. Consequently Wooing Tree has gathered a truly remarkable following, collecting 8 trophies, many gold medals, a whole host of 5 stars, and praise from wine writers and wine lovers around the world.

b/N:  You practice Old World Burgundy traditions such as hand-harvest and low yields  Do you espouse ‘minimal intervention’ in production as well?

SF:  Yes the winemaking is very hands off as well, the winemakers are always saying they let the vineyard do the work, but of course we know that is not entirely true and they do put their special talents to work crafting the best wine from the grapes they get.

b/N:  What are your greatest challenges at Wooing Tree Vineyard? 

SF:  Frost certainly is a problem we can have many frost fighting nights from bud burst right up to harvest. Birds are another problem in the vineyard, we have to net the vines otherwise there would be no grapes left to pick. We are very lucky to have minimal rain and low humidity therefore disease is not much of a problem and apart from the birds there is very little pest pressure. We do have plenty or rabbits in Central Otago, but our vineyard is rabbit netted around the fence line to stop them getting in.

b/N:  “If owning Wooing Tree Vineyard has taught me anything, it’s taught me…”

SF:  It is a lot of hard work, but very rewarding, I love taking the product from the grapes to the bottle and then seeing the consumers enjoying it in the glass, often on the other side of the world. 


 For more information:

Physical Address: Opposite the Big Fruit Sculpture, Shortcut Road, Cromwell

Postal Address: c/o 7 Westmoreland Place |  Cromwell, New Zealand  9310

 Care to share? Leave your comments below.



Thank you:

Steve Farquarson – Wooing Tree

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Copyrighted 2014. All Rights Reserved.