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.

Santé!

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

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Copyrighted binNotes 2015. All Rights Reserved. 

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. 

WITWIB? #WWWineSEA 2015

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.

Santé!

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. 

WITWIB? #WTCWAWINE @LakeChelanAVA

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

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

Lake Chelan Wine Valley | Top 3 Takeaways

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“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.” –Wallace Stevens

Washington State Wine Commission makes it look so easy…

Recently Washington State Wine Commission teed up Lake Chelan Wine Valley trade event portside at World Trade Center Seattle.

binNotes offers top three (3) takeaways from her ‘walk around the lake':

1. Attitude

Lake Chelan Wine Valley boasts a ‘naturally intoxicating‘ effect – and for good reason! The area attracts those drawn to a destination resort lifestyle offering outdoor adventure, first-class farm-to-table fare, and year-round cultural events such as the upcoming Red Wine and Chocolate Festival. It’s easy to fall in love with Lake Chelan Wine Valley, while falling in love with its wine!

2. Altitude

Lake Chelan Wine Valley rims its namesake, a 50.5 mile, 1, 486 foot deep, pristine glacier-formed lake punctuated by sky-high Cascade Mountains. Subsequently, Lake Chelan Wine Valley enjoys ‘the lake effect,’ a moderating influence translating into a longer grape-growing season and less danger of frost. Moreover, Lake Chelan AVA’s unique combination of sandy sediment and crystalline quartz, granite and mica soils add to the wine region’s viticulture complexity.

3. Assortment

Taste through the wines of Lake Chelan Wine Valley, and you’ll find nuanced flavor profiles running the gamut from the bracing Alsatian intricacy of Vin du Lac 2011 Lehm Gewurtraminer, to the crisp Alto Adige clarity of Lake Chelan Winery 2013 Pinot Grigio, to the precise Austrian minerality of Chelan Estate Winery 2008 Pinot Noir.

Varietals also span the spectrum, including Syrah, Viognier, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Malbec, Barbera and Nebbiolo.

binNotes fave(s):

Super affordable dark-horse Atam Winery 2013 Malbec. A surprisingly silky smooth sipper.

Cairdeas Winery 2013 Southern White Blend. A succulent deck, dock or bonfire-ready blend of Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Picpoul, and Viognier.

Chelan Estates Winery 2008 Estate Grown Pinot Noir. Chiseled, stealthy stunner.

So what are you waiting for? Find your own truth in a ‘walk around the lake’ of Lake Chelan Wine Valley.

Santé!

Care to share? Leave your comments below…thanks for stopping by.

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Thank you:

Washington State Wine Commission

Copyrighted binNotes 2015. All Rights Reserved. 

WITWIB? WSWA 2015

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

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

Washington State Wine Awards 2015 | Top 3 Takeaways

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“A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do.” – P. J. O’Rourke 

Greetings, dear readers! Ever wonder about what goes on at those fancy wine award events?

binNotes attended the 13th annual Washington State Wine Awards on January 26th in Seattle’s stunning Benaroya Hall. The event honors those in the wine, restaurant, retail/distribution and tourism/promotion industry professionals that best boost Washington State wines and wine region.

binNotes’ top three (3) takeaways from the 2015 WSWA and trade show:

1. White is the New Orange Black

Steely whites stole my heart this year, including some exciting unoaked chardonnays that forego malolactic fermentation. Secondary malolactic fermentation softens chardonnay, giving it that familiar, creamy texture. But snappy, malo-free whites like Airfield Estates 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay tap dance on the palate like a zesty Sauvignon Blanc. Quite refreshing, and highly affordable.

Other binNotes fave whites include:

Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2013 Shepherds Mark White Rhone Blend. A blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier. Pale straw robe, light body, crisp finish.  A perennial delight.

Avennia 2013 Oliane Sauvignon Blanc. Pale lemon robe, light/medium body, clean finish. Elegant stunner.

Dunham Cellars 2013 Lewis Vineyard Riesling. Translucent robe, light body, dry finish. Lemony- snickets, lip-puckering lusciousness.

Owen Roe 2013 Chardonnay | DuBrul Vineyard. Light yellow robe, light/medium body, bright finish. Nice acids on this – another chardonnay masquerading as a Sauvignon Blanc.

2. The Fruit Abides

I love Burgundy because of the stories the wines tell, tales built upon aeons of nuance – countless variations in terroir comprising the mosaic that is Burgundy. Washington State wines tell a story, too. That story? The fruit abides.

Regardless the varietal, the vineyard, the wine maker, it all comes down to the freshness of the fruit. And Washington state schools other wine region in freshness. Maybe it’s grape-growing eastern Washington’s ‘high desert’ effect: Dramatic diurnal shifts between warm days to bring along the sugars, and cool nights to keep acids bright. Maybe it’s the soils: basalt bedrock, Missoula floods glacial tills, caliche (arid mineral-rich soil), with a little volcanic ash for good measure. No wonder that Washington State racks up more accomplishments in forty years than other wine regions have in centuries. The fruit abides.

3. And the Winner is…

Look for a list of the 2015 winners here. A special shout-out to fellow Burgundy lover Chris Horn of Purple Cafe & Wine Bar| Bellevue, Sommelier of the Year.

Santé!

Care to share? Leave your comments below…thanks for stopping by.

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Thank you:

Washington State Wine Commission

Copyrighted binNotes 2015. All Rights Reserved. 

3 Mystery French Wines Explained

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog

by. L.M. Archer,  FWS | Bourgogne ML

“Mystery is the wine of this universe. It makes us dizzy and makes us feel happy! Man needs enigma so that he can get rid of the dullness of reality!” – Mehmet Murat ildan

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Happy 2015, dear readers!

Today binNotes takes on three mystery French wines: vin jaune, vin gris, and vin de soif.

So what’s the mystery? After all, they each start with ‘vin,’ the french term for wine. They also share a common heritage – vive le France! Perhaps the answer resides in what the French refer to as ‘that which makes something unique,’ or its sui generis.

Case in point: vin jaune. While vin jaune may sound like the protagonist in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, it means ‘yellow wine.’ The wine derives its jewel-like color from fermenting late harvest Savagnin grapes for six years and three months in barrel. During fermentation, the wine develops a film of yeast, known as the voile, which imparts a nutty flavor profile similar to sherry. However, unlike sherry, vin jaune is not fortified. Locals recommend pairing vin jaune with savory dishes, Comte cheese, and walnuts.

binNotes fave: Producer Chateau D’Arlay.  Available special-order in the Seattle area at McCarthy & Schiering.

The second, vin gris means ‘grey wine.’ While a bit Dickensian in tone, the taste leaves one begging for more. The term vin gris stems from the ‘grey’ coloration (actually a light pink) produced when making white wine from red grapes, typically pinot noir or gamay. Pressing involves minimal skin contact, with fermentation typically occurs in stainless steel tanks. Think of vin gris as a more sophisticated version of rosé, and serve accordingly as an apéritif, with brunch, fish, fowl, or as a lovely grace note to any cheese course.

binNotes fave:

Robert Sinskey Vineyards Vin Gris. Pale rose-petal robe, elegant, dry, discrete finish. Hard to find – sells out upon release.

Finally…vin de soif  is not an actual wine per se, but rather a French term for “light, easy drinking wine.” Choose your vin de soif – any versatile, affordable wine that transitions easily from casual social gathering to table – for drinkability, not aging potential.

binNotes fave: Jean Perrier et Fils Savoie Abymes Cuvee Gastronomie. Made from Savoie’s regional Jacquère grape, the wine features a gold-green robe, bright acidity, and fresh finish. Distributed widely in the US, including Metropolitan Markets.

Care to share a favorite vin jaune, vin gris, or vin de soif with the binNotes community? Leave your comments below…Santé!

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Copyrighted 2015. All Rights Reserved.