Terroirist Tuesday: Winemaker Showcase – Luisa Ponzi’s 20th Anniverary

Welcome to binNotes’ Terroirst Tuesday.

Today’s topic: Winemaker Showcase – Luisa Ponzi’s 20th Anniversary

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by L.M. Archer, FWS

If you follow binNotes, you know that yours truly favors Burgundy, Pinot, and wine makers.  As a woman, I also admit to an appreciation for women leaders in the industry – badasses all.

Today, binNotes takes time to acknowledge  one of Willamette Valley‘s formidable woman wine makers celebrating her 20th year as an industry leader – Luisa Ponzi, of Ponzi Wines.

Scion of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir pioneers Dick and Nancy Ponzi, Luisa doesn’t fall to far from the vine, as evidenced by her mother’s leadership role in the community, especially with the ¡Salud! Program and Annual Pinot Noir Auction, as well as the International Pinot Noir Celebration.

Oregon born, Burgundy educated,  Luisa’s wines combine a respect for the old world with an unflinching honesty of expression unique to her native Willamette Valley. Santé!

Additional links:

Oregon’s ¡Salud! Program: The Power of Passion, Pinot and People

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#AYIBpreview – A Year in Burgundy

Fresh from my trip to Burgundy, I just finished viewing a private screening of ‘A Year in Burgundy’.

Why should YOU see this film?

Because the 1/12 hour film skillfully navigates viewers through four unforgettable seasons –  one year –  of up-close and personal access to  Burgundian wine makers from Mâcon to Côte de Nuits, including  Madame Lalou Bize-Leroy of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti fame.

Because you learn to appreciate the vagaries of draught, hail, rain, and the ‘grape police’ – perils all in Burgundian wine-growing.

Because you learn the practical side of  wine making, including pruning, harvest, triage, pigeage, battonage and élevage, as it applies to real people, real-time.

Because you learn about the instinctive, unteachable ‘art’ of wine making – the intuition required to allow each wine its maximum expression with minimal intervention. To let the wine have its say about its particular terroir, in its own voice.

(How telling that this film’s subtitles translate some wine-makers’ term for the ‘character’ of a wine as ‘terroir.’)

Because ‘A Year in Burgundy’ captures the heart and soul of the people of Burgundy – and their respect for the vines, terroir and traditions of this 2,000 year old wine-making region.

Because the film engages, rivets and intoxicates – just like the wines of Burgundy.

Go see this film. Then raise a glass to a great wine region, its wine, and its people. And leave a comment about your experience below. Santé!

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What I’m Watching Now: You WIll be My Son (‘Tu Seras Mon Fils’)

Gilles Legrand’s film ‘You Will be My Son’ (‘Tu Seras Mon Fils’) explores the issue of succession at a prestigious wine estate in France.

Here’s the trailer… (don’t worry – it’s subtitled)..the film tackles the usual time-honored topics of fathers vs. sons, sex, and sports cars, set against a gorgeous backdrop of well-manicured vineyards. Can’t wait to watch the entire movie once it hits Seattle…Santé!

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…in case you haven’t noticed, binNotes has a new look. That’s not all.  In October, binNotes changes hats at Lachini Vineyards to Guest Blogger during my upcoming studies in Burgundy and travels in France.

Look for upcoming October guest blogs at: lachinivineyardsblog.com.

In addition:

I’ve got some great events coming up, including attending Restaurant Zoe’s Burgundy Wine Dinner with Peter Wasserman this Monday, September 30th –  can’t wait to share the experience.

NOTE: Peter Wasserman’s mother is legendary  Wendy  Wasserman, a guest instructor at French Wine Society’s Master Level Bourgogne Program in which I’m enrolled. The Immersion program includes studies at Burgundy Wine School, guided by esteemed instructor Jean-Pierre Renard.

No, this isn’t an info-mercial. I’m just super-excited to geek out!

NOTE: WordPress has started incorporating random ads into sites of bloggers who do not pay to ‘opt out’, as a means of collecting revenue.  Regrets – those ARE info-mercials.


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Two More Months…

Note to Self: Transition from writing warm, happy thoughts about artisan wine makers and wine communities to living the brutal reality of Tasting Room Confidential involves a steep learning curve…and consumes all hours of day except rare hours of sleep…

But enough about art vs. industry…

…Only two more months until I venture forth to Burgundy – center of pinot universe – for a little French Wine Society Immersion Master Program…plus a little stopover in Paris…promise to write soon…Santé!

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IPNC P2P 2013: 70 Wineries, 15 chefs, 4 hrs…

Note: I’m currently in Orlando at the 2013 Society of Wine Educator’s Conference, and decided to pack only my iPad sans keyboard as an experiment…Note to Self: iPad doesn’t allow cool photo formatting, and adding links is a royal pain..so regrets for the less than graphically appealing and link-less post…

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Pinot geeks and foodies unable to attend the full-on International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville, Oregon at Linfield College’s – check out IPNC’s Sunday afternoon Passport to Pinot!
Formerly known as The Walkabout, this event pairs 70 worldwide Pinot producers with 15 local chefs for 4 hours of fun outside on Linfield College’s Commencement Green amidst a glorious sunny afternoon featuring live entertainment and round-table seating. Attire resembled Kentucky-Derby casual, with sundresses, shorts and stylish hats the rule rather than the exception.

This year’s P2P kicked off with a guest lecture and book-signing by renown author and New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov at 1 PM, followed by pourings by 30 wineries from 2-4 PM, followed by pourings by 30 additional wineries from 4-6 PM.

BinNotes could only stay long enough for the first pouring rotation, which included:

Domaine Arnoux Pere & Fils: 2010 Savigny-les-Beaune
Domaine Champy: 2010 Beaune 1er Cru Les Champs Pimont
Domaine Charles Audoin: 2010 Marsannay Au Champ Salomon
Domaine des Clos: 2010 Beaune 1er Cru Les Avaux
Domaine Gille: 2010 Cote de Nuits Villages
Domaine Marc Roy: 2010 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur
Evening Land Vineyards au Chateau de Bligny: 2010 Chambolle Musigny
Maison Ambroise: 2010 Nuits-Saint-George Vieilles Vignes

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of French wine in general, and Evening Land Gamay in particular. I also wanted to do a little reconnaissance for my trip to Burgundy in October.

NOTE: binNotes fave: Alexandrine Roy’s exceptional Domaine Marc Roy 2010 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur emerged a favorite – balanced, refined, elegant.

Anthill Farms: 2011 Abbey Harris Vineyard
Bonaccorsi Wine Company: 2010 Sebastiano
Étude: 2010 Heirloom Estate
Flowers Vineyard & Winery: 2010 Sea View Ridge Estate Vineyard
Gainey Vineyard: 2010 Limited Selection
Kutch Wines: 2011 McDougall Ranch
Saintsbury: 2010 Lee Vineyard

NOTE: binNotes faves: Flowers Vineyard & Winery stood out for it’s freshness, delicacy, and subtle aromas…lovin’ the extreme northern Sonoma coast…

Adelsheim Vineyard: 2010 Elizabeth’s Reserve
Amelie Robert Estate: 2010 Wadenswil Clone
Anam Cara Cellars: 2010 Reserve Estate
Belle Pente Vineyard & Winery: 2010 Estate Reserve
Cristom: 2010 Louise Vineyard
De Ponte Cellars: 2010 Dundee Hills
J.K. Carriere: 2010 Vespidae Willamette Valley
Lemelson Vineyards: 2010 Jerome Reserve
Matzinger Davies Wine Co.: 2010 Matzinger Davies
Montinore Estate: 2010 Estate Reserve
Ponzi Estate: 2010 Ponzi
Solena Estate: 2010 Domaine Danielle Laurent
Soter Vineyards: 2010 Mineral Springs Ranch
Tendril Wine Cellars: 2010 White Label

I so looked forward to ‘tasting through’ the soils of the WV AVA’s at Passport To Pinot – Chehalem, Ribbon Ridge, Dundee, Carlton-Yamhill, The Mac (McMinville), and Eola-Amoty Hills. But missing out on the second pouring did not make that goal feasible.

NOTE: binNotes faves: Belle Pente Vineyard & De Ponte Cellars tied for most balanced; Ponzi Estate remains a benchmark for truly ‘great’ Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs.

Pinots from other parts of the world included:

AUSTRIA: Hillinger – 2010 Hillinger Evaline. Taut, bracing, mineral core.
AUSTRALIA: Ten Minutes By Tractor- 2009 Estate. Lush, bold, jammy.
GERMANY: Ziereisen – 2010 Jaspis. Astringent, austere, chiseled.

For foodies, chefs and their sweet and savory selections included:

Briar Rose Creamery
Coquina Supper Club
Crown Paella
Juniper Grove Farm
Men’s Artisan Bakery
Meat Cheese Bread
Bar Vivant & Pix Patisserie
Portland Penny Diner
Red Hills Market
Salt & Straw
Smith Tea
Stumptown Roasters
Walnut City Kitchen NOTE: binNotes fave: The chilled watermelon hazelnut soup!

Proceeds of this event go towards funding Salud Auction November 8 & 9th, 2013.

The Salud auction benefits Salud program, a one-of-a-kind health care program benefitting Willamette Valley’s seasonal vineyard workers.

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Thank you to International Pinot Noir Celebration. Vive SALUD!

Thank you to Ron & Marianne Lachini – Lachini Vineyards

Thanks to Lachini Vineyards Team Willamette Valley – Kate & Alex!

Somewhere in WWC…

Dear Readers:
No, I am not gone, nor have I forgotten you…it’s just that my day job has temporarily taken my writing life hostage, and refuses to negotiate…I’m sure many of you know the drill: interviewing, hiring and training staff; events scheduling, organization and management; working weekends and holidays delivering ‘Pinots Worth Coveting’ to appreciative audiences, plus the odd distribution run and special events surprise…I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but maybe it’s just be the lights of an oncoming car…

Anyway,  thanks for staying true, and staying tuned for my next post, which must and WILL be about writing and wine, not writing and whine. In the meantime, keep on enjoying wine as an art, not just a beverage…Cheers!

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Spoiler Alert: Fork in Road


As some of you may already know, I started binNotes as an antidote to drudgery while writing a historical novel set in WW II Burgundy France. Here I could ‘play scales’ word-smithing while riffing on wine as art, not just beverage.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the novel’s re-write. I fell in love with Pinot Noir. I also fell in love with the industry, and not just the art, of wine.

A college professor once grudgingly told me that I had a ‘real gift for recognizing BS.’

Well, I’ve reached a fork in the road. I call ‘BS ‘on my passive sideline-sitting, writing content.

As a pragmatist and corporate escapee, I value the opportunity to work in the wine industry and understand the reality, not just the image. Hence my recent acceptance of a position at Lachini Vineyards  handling Marketing and Special Events.

As mentioned previously, I’ve worked hard to achieve actual, not fabricated, designations in order to write accurately about Burgundy in the book, as well as unleash my Wine Geek on this blog. I consider writing as essential as breathing.

But I also have an analytical side that needs care and feeding.

Just to reiterate: I will continue to write for freelance publications, and to post here – as long as it does not present a conflict of interest…

Thanks for your ongoing interest, understanding and support – Cheers!


Continue to subscribe to binNotes for links to forthcoming freelance and event writing on Sonoma County, Wine Region Eco-Travel, and  International and Regional Pinot Noir wine events.

To learn about upcoming wine events and wine tasting notifications:

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Sonoma Pinot Classic



Still recovering from the Sonoma Pinot Classic Paulée dinner on Friday night at Arista Winery and the Russian River Valley Passport to Pinot Saturday and Sunday. Please stay tuned for more. Cheers!

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The love affair between binNotes and Pinot continues…with a much coveted invite to the International Pinot Noir Conference Passport to Pinot Sunday Walkabout on July 28th 2013.

When: Sunday, July 28, 2013, 2PM – 6:00PM

Where:  The Oak Grove at Linfield College, McMinnville, OR

What:  This event features:

  • Over 70 world-wide wineries pouring first-class Pinot noirs.
  • Over 35 different winemakers pouring during each of two sessions, plus a break in the middle for winemaker introductions.
  • 15 top-notch Northwest chefs offering specially paired culinary fare.
  • First-time ever pouring of aged Pinot noir from  a vast cellar of domestic and international wines.

Why:  International Pinot Noir Conference benefits ¡Salud!, Oregon’s one-of-a-kind  health care program for seasonal workers.

More on ¡Salud! here.

Looking forward to covering this event and sharing it with you.  ¡Salud!


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