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. 

Top 5 Obscure, Affordable Wines from Burgundy

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog

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.

IMG_7685

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.

Santé!

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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.  

WITWIB? Wine Tasting!

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

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

WITWIB? Wine Tasting!

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Seattle - Winter 2014

Seattle – Winter 2014

This week, binNotes bundles up and trundles off into the bitterly cold Seattle winter scape to attend an exclusive release event for a rising star among women winemakers in the region.

You can check out my interview in the next installment of The Red Thread™ later this month.

Next week, be a hero of social, office, and family holiday gatherings with my Burgundy: Top Five Obscure, Accessible and Affordable Wines feature.

As always,  please feel free to leave a comment or question.

Thanks for stopping by – and remember: ’tis the season to drink – and drive – responsibly!

Santé!

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Copyrighted 2014. All Rights Reserved. 

Top 3 Takeaways: Burgundy’s HdB 2014

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog

by L.M. Archer, FWS

Attention Burgundy Lovers!

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Hospices-de-Beaune-auction-10004678

 

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

Santé!

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved.  

Images courtesy: wine-searcher.com |Hospices de Beaune |  Decanter.com | Mondovino.com