Terroirist Tuesday: A, B, E’s of EcoTravel to the WV

 Welcome to binNotes’ Terroirist Tuesday.

Today’s Topic:  A, B, E’s of Ecotravel to the Willamette Valley

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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Traveling to the IPNC this summer? Want a guilt-free way to enjoy the WV while reducing your carbon footprint?  binNotes breaks down the A, B, E’s of eco-travel for you:

A: AMTRACK

Amtrack offers daily round-trip routes from Seattle to Portland daily.

Fares: ~$34-$122/RT, depending upon your travel budget.

Schedule: Daily. Duration: ~4.15 hrs.

Perks: Plug ins, 2 free checked bags + 2 carry-ons, baggage assistance, Bike on Board.

Caveats: Few plug-ins available in value/coach.

Find out more about Amtrack travel options here.

B: BOLTBUS

Fares: ~$17-$25/OW. Non-refundable.

Schedule: Daily. Duration: ~3.15 hrs.

Perks: WiFi, extra leg room, plug-ins, reserved seating, group boarding. NOTE: One $1 fare offered randomly each one-way trip.

Caveats: Non-refundable fares. No additional discounts offered. 2 small carry-ons + 1 bag stowed. No baggage assistance. Bikes & golf clubs allowed as 1 stowed item as space allows.

Find out more about BoltBus travel options here.

ecoSHUTTLE
Once you’ve arrived in Portland, ecoShuttle offers 100% biodiesel travel options to Oregon’s Willamette Wine Country.

Fares: Prices vary, according to group size. ecoShuttle caters to any group size, but the average group has between 8 and 20 wine lovers. Many wineries try to limit the size of groups, though ecoShuttle can work with groups of up to 32 guests.

Schedule:  ecoShuttle picks you up where you want,  when you want.

Perks: ecoShuttle whisks you to wine country, where partners in sustainability provide discounted or complimentary tasting fees to EcoShuttle groups. Enjoy a taste of Oregon while keeping a positive impact on the planet!ecoShuttle also can suggest and arrange boxed lunches from local providers along the tour. View a sample itinerary here.

Caveats: Guests are welcome to enjoy wine along the way, though it’s best to keep your palette clean for the next stop.

Find out more about EcoShuttle options here.

Cheers!

***

Thank you:

BoltBus

EcoShuttle

***

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved. A 

#FF: @TheWIneMovie – American #Wine Story

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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 Welcome to a special edition of  Follower Friday,  featuring:

The Wine Movie

Check out binNotes’ follower The Wine Movie’s award-winning documentary American Wine Story  – a film about a few career-changing, dream-pursuing, windmill tilting wine makers as they lose sleep, hair, and sometimes sanity in the process…but never hope.

Nice to see another venue shining a light on these modern-day heroes.

Cheers!

 

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved. 

Restaurant Intervention: Le Caviste, Seattle

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.  

binNotes reprises ‘Restaurant Intervention’ for a cameo appearance by Le Caviste  in downtown Seattle. Luckily, no intervention required…

By L. M. Archer, FWS

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Need an authentic Parisian bistrot-à-vins fix? Alors! Look further than Le Caviste in downtown Seattle.

Le Caviste channels all the best features of that favorite little Parisian bistro you’ve secretly dreamed about revisiting someday – you know the one…tucked away in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower (or, in this case, The Space Needle…) with quaint chalk board menus offering up the daily plats du jour and wines by the glass, charming butcher-papered tables, and that inimitable French bonhomie.

Le Caviste has it all, including a truly Parisian-inspired wine list.

Let’s talk about the wine list. Both white and red lists feature affordable, everyday regional wines by the glass or bottle. Whenever possible, wines sourced reflect organic and sustainable vineyard practices.

Delightful finds include a blanc and rouge from  France’s Savoie, as well as those from the more familiar Loire, Rhone, Bordeaux, and Burgundy regions. In search of something a bit more complex? Look for a hidden gem or two premier crus tucked among the carte des vins, with uncharacteristically modest prestige pricing to match.

Generous plats du jour groan with locally sourced bread, eggs and mushrooms, charcuterie, artisan cheese, imported fish and  olives –  all designed to stave off hunger and mitigate excess wine intake.   On your way out, a sweet little retail section beckons with tasty little take-out bottles at ridiculous retail prices.

But before you exit,  check out owner and oenophile David Butler’s lovingly compiled list of best wine bistros in ParisIt’ll make you want to jump-start your return to the City of Lights someday…with a few stops at Le Caviste for inspiration!

Sante!

Le Caviste on Urbanspoon

Le Caviste  | 1919 7th Avenue | Seattle, WA 98101 | 206.728.2657

4 to Midnight Tuesday through Saturday


Link here for more  binNotes Urbanspoon Restaurant  Interventions.

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All images courtesy the author. All Rights Reserved.

Thank you:

David Butler, Owner – Le Caviste | Seattle

Terroirist Tuesday: The Terroir of Chocolate, Part 2

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

Terroirist Tuesday: The Terroir of Chocolate, Part 2

The Terroir of Chocolate, Part 1  here.

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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Today’s Terroirist Tuesday: The Terroir of Chocolate, Part 2 spotlights  three (3)  exceptional chocolatiers from Seattle’s 2014 International Chocolate Salon.  These chocolatiers stand out for their passion, drive, and artistry. Here’s their take on the terroir of chocolate, as well as the sweet life of a chocolatier:

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Tell readers about your ‘story.’ 

Andrea Torrenzio | Dolcetta Artisan Sweets

“I got into baking after college out of pure love for the craft.  I find it so satisfying to make a product, especially to make something beautiful and delicious that makes people happy….  I’ve always loved eating and baking with chocolate, but was at first intimidated by the tempering process.  I finally decided to tackle that fear and learn to temper and have been dreaming of and creating my business ever since… I’ve been successful as a pastry chef and have a good life, but by the end of 2012, I had ended up in a dark place, really struggling to find any joy or purpose.  At the same time, a friend was diagnosed with advanced cancer, and I felt that I owed it to him to, being lucky enough to be able to do what I want to with my life, to go ahead and live my dream, and create something beautiful and joyful.  It has been at times challenging to get to this point, but every challenge makes me stronger, and I am excited to see what I have created and to see where it will take me.”

Shannon and Christy Fox | Evolve Chocolate Truffles 

“Girl meets girl.

Girl & girl fall in love.

Girl & girl make truffles.

When we started the business three years ago one of our name choices was “girl meets girl”.  But because of the constant evolution of our lives and growth of the company we chose “evolve”.  Stemming from 20+ years in the restaurant industry, Christy who is a formally trained chef along with Shannon found that the bounty of Whatcom County and surrounding areas were truly a muse for creating culinary magic. Each and every truffle produced pays homage to what we believe in, which invokes local collaboration.

Love inspired.

Chef skilled.

Locally sourced.”

Rebecca ‘Becca’ Roebber  |  Kallari Chocolates

“Kallari is one of the only farmer owned and operated chocolate cooperatives, they grow and make their own chocolate from bean to bar…The Kichwa indigenous farmers use heirloom cacao called cacao naccional, which has a fruity and floral notes. They grow the cacao on chakras, which is land interspersed with other medicinal, fruit and hardwood trees…Kallari is made up of 850 farming families that have been able to maintain their way of life due to the production of chocolate. There are no middle men, the farmers are also the chocolatiers.”

***

As a chocolatier, do you find that the terroir of chocolate – like wine – informs its flavor profiles?  If so, how does that translate into the chocolate grown and used in your chocolates?

“Definitely.  It has been exciting to see so many small batch single origin chocolates come on the market over the last few years.  I have only worked with a few, but I hope to add more to my line.  One that really excites me is Cru Sauvage from Felchlin, foraged wild cacao from the Bolivian Amazon. http://www.felchlin.com/en/product/cacao-bolivia  It has nice depth and is fruity but not sour.  Of course, the fermentation, roasting, and conching play parts too.  I have had single origin chocolates that I did not enjoy, but then again I’ve had some less-than-great wines, too.  Chocolate is an agricultural product, so of course origin and handling will affect the flavor…I use what I think is delicious.  I think it is good to use a variety of chocolates in order to create the best pairings in the confections. ” – Andrea Torrenzio  | Dolcetta Artisan Sweets

“Yes of course, we trust our supplier for 85% & 45% organic, fair trade, non-GMO, sustainably grown cacao primarily from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Peru.  Because there are no stabilizers added to our chocolate, the subtleties of the terroir changes from batch to batch…Because of the subtle changes in terroir, we use our finely tuned palates to coax those flavor distinctions into a new flavor profile.” -Shannon and Christy Fox | Evolve Chocolate Truffles 

“The soil is one of the main components to the flavor of the bean itself, the richness and biodiversity of the Amazon soil plays a large part in the flavor profile of the finished chocolate bar. It also has to do with fermentation and roasting, similar to the wine making process…The process starts with the fruit, a pulpy sweet and sour juice that surrounds the seed in the pod. Once the pods are ripe and the farmers harvest the seeds they are brought to the fermentation center. There the cacao is fermented for about 7 days in fermentation boxes made from wood. They are then dried under a green house for about two weeks. They are then roasted, winnowed and produced into chocolate all within 3 weeks of harvest. Their chocolate is the freshest in the world, because it is made in the country of origin by the farmers growing it.” -Becca’ Roebber  |  Kallari Chocolate

***

What makes your chocolate different from other chocolates on the market?

“I really focus on flavor, I aim for clean, well-balanced flavors that you don’t have to search for.  I do enjoy trying chocolate with new and different flavor combinations, but I still want it to be delicious, not just novel.  My chocolates tend to be a little less sweet than others.  I do use some milk and white chocolates, but I balance them with tart flavors like passion fruit or salty bits like pretzels, and most of my bonbons and truffles are molded or made with 60% or higher couverture.” -Andrea Torrenzio | Dolcetta Artisan Sweets

“With both of our backgrounds in the culinary arts, the taste of local ingredients lends a hand to the ultimate sensorial experience.  With truffle making we dance using a blend of local organic spices and bright flavors, using the small batch method.  When we drive to the creamery in Lynden to pick up our cream and swing by the blueberry fields to pick up our blueberries, we are adding to the local terroir of our flavor profiles. Hand-rolled, hand-dipped and hand packaged with an extremely classy touch while keeping our grassroots philosophy.”  -Shannon and Christy Fox -| Evolve Chocolate Truffles 

“Kallari is known for being less astringent than many chocolates, its fruity and floral flavor is complemented by mahogany, passionfruit, cloves and other tropical notes.” -‘Becca’ Roebber  | Kallari Chocolate

***

Finally,  “If making chocolate has taught me anything, it’s taught me…?”

“Chocolate is a great reminder that there are things you can control and things you can’t.  Sometimes chocolate seems to have a mind of its own, and willing and wishing won’t get it into temper, only stirring and patience will. Also…Sweetness counts!  I love my craft, but I also find it a little bit silly.  Spreading joy through high-end handcrafted confections is great, but I also feel strongly that everyone should have basic sustenance.  I’ve given 10% of my sales to the local organization Food Lifeline since I started selling in 2010.  I’ll continue to give to them and other worthy causes.” -Andrea Torrenzio  | Dolcetta Artisan Sweets

“Making chocolate truffles has taught us to treat each batch as if it’s a living organism, kind of like a child or something you are giving life to.  Appreciation of life, love, local and what’s good has been our main agenda.” -Shannon and Christy Fox | Evolve Chocolate Truffles 

“Making chocolate is an art. Every year, like wine, yields different notes based on many factors, such as climate. Chocolate that tastes simply like chocolate has been over processed, often masked by sugar and milk.  Tasting chocolate is a journey of flavors that all start at the source. This sensitive bean needs so much care and love to taste as fine as single origin, craft chocolate. Once your taste buds have had the experience of both, your world will change.” - Becca’ Roebber  | Kallari Chocolate

***

The Terroir of Chocolate, Part 1

***

Thank you:

Seattle Chocolate Salon

Andrea Terrenzio |  Dolcetta Artisan Sweets

Shannon and Christy Fox |  Evolve Truffles

Becca Roebber | Kallari Chocolates

Cheers!

 

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved. 

Terroirist Tuesday: The Terroir of Chocolate, Part 1

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog. 

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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I attended Seattle’s 2014 International Chocolate Salon with one simple question for chocolatiers:

‘Does terroir inform the character of chocolate, as it does wine?’

The resounding answer? Yes, it does. Like Burgundy’s wine subregions, chocolate’s growing regions and microclimates vary, and these variations inform the flavor profiles of the finished product. More on this next week in Terroirist Tuesday: The Terroir of Chocolate - Part 2.

In the meantime, enjoy  binNotes’ favorite tasting notes from Seattle Chocolate Salon 2014:

Perfume and Chocolate

I didn’t get it at first. A gauntlet of hand-crafted fine fragrances bank the walls leading into the Chocolate Salon. I thought this event was about chocolate? After sampling the perfume, however, I got it. Both chocolate and fragrance creation involve the custom-blending of exotic ingredients – resulting in end products that delight the senses. So it does makes sense, no pun intended.

binNotes personal fave: Pamplemousse*, by SweetTeaApothecary.com. Sweet Tea Apothecary crafts ‘Historically Inspired Perfumes’ such as Dead Writers, Pemberly, and La Reine Antoinette. *Note: Owner and perfumer JT Siems shares that Pamplemousse is the number one seller in Seattle – a blend of Ginger, bamboo, white tea, saffron, grapefruit and honey.

Chocolate For All Diets

  • Smitten artisan truffles offer a lactose-free way to indulge with flavors like Vanilla Carmel and Tahitian Vanilla Bean Sea Salt. Chocolatier Vanessa Holden and her husband Otho Bel design their chocolates to pair well with wine, pinot especially…gotta love ‘em!
  • Chocolatier Andrea Terrenzio’s Dolcetta Artisan Sweets provides gluten-free hazelnut truffles. And 10% of all profits go to feed people in need – a sweet treat all around.
  • Gusto Chocolates, the savory side of Forte Chocolates, mixes it up with combos like Bacon and Dark Chocolate or Rosemary and Sea Salt White chocolate bars…perfect with wine!

 

Wine…and Beer…and Chocolate

 

Indigenously Sourced Chocolates

Amano Artisan Chocolates sources their flavorful chocolates from diverse microclimates throughout remote regions of Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Madagascar, and Papua New Guinea.

binNotes’ personal fave: Dos Rios Dark 70% Chocolate bar, from rare Dominican Republic beans. Hints of lavender and bergamot, which chocolatier Aaron Davidson confirms reflects the surrounding vegetation.

Kallari Chocolates represents the only farmer-owned chocolatier attending the 2014 Seattle Chocolate Salon. Kallari sources from the Kichwa tribe of Ecuador in the Amazon Rain Forest.

binNotes’ personal fave: Sacha 60% cacao and coffee bean chocolate bar.

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Thanks to  Seattle Chocolate Salon – see you back here next Terroirist Tuesday for Part 2: The Terroir of Chocolate.

Cheers!

 

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved. All images courtesy of the author.

Terroirist Tuesday: Oregon Wine Month 2014

 Welcome to binNotes’ Terroirist Tuesday.Today’s Topic:  Oregon Wine Month – May 2014

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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 OWM logo May 2014

Where will you be May 1- 31, 2014?  If you’re an Oregon wine lover (especially pinot noir), you’d best walk, run, drive, or wing west for annual Oregon Wine Month. Wine, dine, groove and art-walk your way through a wine region inhabited by folks with a healthy respect for the land, and a passion for crafting quality pours. Here’s the scoop:

LOOK: Calendar of Events: Learn more about Oregon Wine Month events here.

LEARN: AK Air’s Oregon Wines Fly Free Program

When? Starting May 1.

How? Simply show your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan membership and in-bound boarding pass (paper or digital) when you visit any of Oregon’s 300 participating tasting rooms.*

What? Any custom or winery created case of wine checks for free as baggage on your returning domestic Alaska Airlines flight.

Where? Oregon Wines Fly Free applies to departures from four Oregon airports – Eugene, Medford, Portland and Redmond – as well as Washington state’s Walla Walla.

Who? View the current list of *participating wineries. Note: Check back daily for participating winery list updates.

LISTEN: NW Vine Time

Listen to Northwest Vine Time Radio’s host Brian Bushlach dish with various Oregon wine luminaries, including:

May 3: Explore Southern Oregon wines with emerging stars Herb Quady of Quady North and Linda Donovan of Pallet Wine Company.

May 10: Uncover Columbia Gorge’s stellar scenery and spectacular diversity with Bob Morus of Phelps Creek and Robb Bell of Cathedral Ridge.

May 17: Preview South Willamette Valley’s Memorial Day weekend activities and wines with Ray Walsh of Capitello and Lorne Mews Benton Lane Wineries.

May 24: Celebrate Memorial Day weekend with Northern Willamette Valley’s rising stars Jesus Guillen of White Rose and Remy Drabkin of Remy Wines.

Note: The show airs on KXL FM 101 in Portland,  KIRO in Seattle, KPNW in Eugene, KFLS in Klamath Falls, KTIL in Tillamook, KWRO in Coos Bay, KLOO in Corvallis, KCMX in Medford and KACI in The Dalles.

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What are you waiting for? Lose yourself in Oregon Wine Month…and remember…what happens in OWC stays in OWC…Cheers!

Care to share your own OWM experience? Leave a comment below, or tweet @binnotes.

***

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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.

UndergroundCellar | Sonoma Winecation

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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Remember binNotes’ 2013 recurring fan-shout out  feature #WW ?

Well, today binNotes takes it for a #FF spin, with a special cameo appearance by:

UndergroundCellar

I love winecations. I really love an all-expenses paid winecation. Which has yet to happen. But… Underground Cellar’s Sonoma Winecation giveaway offers just that – a chance to wine an all-inclusive uber-lux getaway for four (4) to Sonoma’s wine region, including airfare, dinners, VIP winemaker experiences, and a weekend stay at Villa Terra Nova Wine Country Retreat.

Jeffrey Shaw, wunderkind  founder and CEO of Underground Cellars –  the hip, ahead-of-the-curve, only-one-of-its-kind  reverse discount upgrade wine site in Napa and Sonoma county –  chatted with binNotes recently the event, and how they do what they do.

bN: Why a ‘Sonoma Getaway’ giveaway?

JS:  ” Underground Cellars has enjoyed huge success as a start-up wine upgrade wine site. We wanted to share the success to wine lovers by offering a giveaway getaway to our backyard, the Sonoma wine region.”

bN: Your site’s growth has been explosive – why the loyal following?

JS: “For several years now, wineries have looked to ‘flash’ sites to sell their excess and overstocked wine, but at a huge cost — bastardization of their brand, reputation, and pricing structure… There is a better way for wineries to quickly sell their wine without sacrificing their brand and future pricing structure.  All they have to do is ditch the discounts and replace them with upgrades! Our members get that.

And the wineries that work with us here at Underground Cellar offer up wines they’re proud to pour – not ones that have been sitting around an un-temperature controlled wine distribution warehouse for two or three years. Our members  appreciate this committment to quality.”

bN: How did you come up with the Sonoma Getaway prizes? They’re really cool.

JS: “Underground Cellars enjoys established relationships with a lot of boutique Napa and Sonoma wine makers. Thanks to these relationships, and buzz from our loyal Underground Cellar members,  we’ve been able to attract support from  local legends like the girl and the fig, Iron Horse Vineyards, and Villa Terra Nova. They’ve been super excited to participate in the promotion, which is great!”

bN: One final question…It’s raining here in Seattle…what’s the weather like right now in Sonoma? 

JS: “Sunny. Warm – in the low 80’s. I’m going to get my mail right now, and it’s beautiful.”

Nice. Find out more about how to enter to win Underground Cellars winecation and bask in some of that Sonoma sunshine here.

Cheers!

NOTE: binNotes asked Brand Director  Brian Gallagher about contest entrant data collection. Underground Cellar doesn’t spam. Contest entrants can ‘unsubscribe’ at any time.

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved.

Thank you:

Brian Gallagher, Partnership | Brand Director, UndergroundCellar

Jeffrey Shaw, CEO | Founder, UndergroundCellar

Terroirist Tuesday: Terroirs & Signatures de Bourgogne 2014

 Welcome to binNotes’ Terroirist Tuesday.Today’s Topic:  Terroirs & Signatures de Bourgogne 2014

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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binNotes recently braved the omni-present Seattle rain to bask in the warm glow of  BIVB’s Terroirs & Signatures de Bourgogne Trade Tasting at UrbanFeast | The Foundry.

I had to blink. Twice. At the event entrance stood none other than ‘Le Renard de Bourgogne,’ Jean-Pierre Renard, legendary BIVB instructor par excellence of the French Wine Society 2013 Bourgogne Master Level Immersion Program. The man forgets more about Burgundy by breakfast than most people hope to know about the region in a lifetime. Shock and introductions aside,  I quickly asked Jean-Pierre for a quick synopsis of the way to maneuver through the event.

His recommendation: complete a nearby series of four tastings at each of four tables, culminating in a blind tasting of four wines, one from each table.  Jean-Pierre also mentioned something about filling out a blind tasting ballot form at the end for a chance to win a prize…but I was too busy enjoying the exceptional Regional, Village, Premier and Grand Crus tastings to take note, or notes. Oh, well. Bon chance to the winner.

An old axiom about Burgundy’s wines goes: It’s all about the terroir. And the producer.  Beyond the blind tasting beamed the bright lights of the trade tasting tables. Here, twenty-five Burgundy producers poured their best 2011 and 2012 vintages, each designed to showcase the ‘terroirs’ and ‘signatures’ of Burgundy. Some other vintages gamboled among the newer ones. Interestingly, most of the wine makers with whom I spoke espouse organic farming, and others investing in upgrades to biodynamic farming.

In binNotes’ opinion, three (3) producers surpassed the others at this event with their panache, passion and precision. These three included:

I. Bertrand Ody of M. Joseph Burrier | Château de Beauregard

Wines tasted:

1. Mâcon-Fuissé, 2012 – J. Burrier (Regional wine. 80% stainless/20% oak.)

2. Saint-Véran, En Faux, 2011, Château de Beauregard (80% stainless/20% oak.)

3. Pouilly-Fuissé, 2012, Château de Beauregard

4. Pouilly-Fuissé, Vers Cras, 2010, Château de Beauregard (11 mos. oak/30 new.)

5. Pouilly-Fuissé, Vignes Blanches, 2009, Château de Beauregard (11 mos. oak/30 new.)

6. Pouilly-Fuissé, Grand Beauregard, 2008, Château de Beauregard

Impressions: These wines pour fresh, clean, pristine. A discreet but discernible difference between the oaked Ch. de Beauregard and the 80% stainless regional and village wines. I found the oak protocols impart varying hints of almond to the wine. NOTE: The owner produces 20,000 cs/yr. and sells 50% of his wines to restaurants in France.)

II. Mdm. Anne Parent of Domaine Parent.

Wines Tasted:

1. Corton Grand Cru, 2011. Delicate. Parcel is midslope limestone.

2. Monthélie, 2011 –  Herbacious.

3. Pommard 1er Cru, Les Poutures, 2011. Mdm. Parent calls this ‘The Skater.’ Lively.

4. Pommard 1er Cru, Les Chaponnières, 2011. Red clay, spice, 75 yr. old vines. A wine of power and intensity.

5. Pommard 1er Cru, Les Epenots, 2011. Up for Grand Cru status. Considered one of Pommard’s two greatest 1er Crus (The other: Les Rugiens, also up for Grand Cru status.)

6. Ladoix 1er Cru, La Corvée, 2011.  The soils here transition from Côte de Nuits to Côte de Beaune.

BONUS: Pommard 1er Cru, Les Epenots, 2002, Magnum. Those infamous Pommard  tannins let loose a bit.

Impressions: Don’t mess with Madame Anne Parent, or her wines.  Unflinching. Uncompromising. A force of nature. (NOTE: See video below for more on Mdm. Anne Parent and her influential role in Pommard’s bid for Grand Cru status.)

III. Romain Taupenot of Domaine Taupenot-Merme.

Wine tasted:

1. Gevrey-Chambertin, 2011. Napoleon’s favorite wine for a reason.

2. Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, Bel Air, 2011. Great 1er cru real estate in the higher slopes above Clos de Bèze.

3. Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru, 2011. Considered one of two top 1er Crus in Nuits-Saint-Georges (the other is Les Vaucrains.)

4. Corton Rognet Grand Cru, 2011. On the Aloxe-Corton side of Ladoix.

5. Mazoyeres-Chambertin Grand Cru, 2011. Often labeled as Charmes-Chambertin; some say possesses less finesse than Charmes-Chambertin. I found no such issues with this wine.

BONUS: Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, 1998. (Served on 1st Class United Emirate.) A wine worthy of its designation. Charming.

Impressions: Discretion, elegance, finesse. Pale robe, delicate aromas, silky tannins, lingering finish. Again, indicative of how the wine and wine maker mirror one another’s temperament.

Event complete, I felt like Cinderella at the end of the ball, except my coach was a SmartCar, not a pumpkin. And instead of a glass slipper, I had only a wine glass to recall the magic of Burgundy.

Santé!

The  formidable Mdm. Anne Parent expounds upon Pommard’s Grand Cru efforts:

Video: Courtesy http://www.bergmans-bourgogne.com

 Parlez-vous français? Écouter ici pour Jean-Pierre Renard, virtuose dégustateur and ‘Le papa de ProDégustation®:

Merci: 

BIVB

Bertrand Ody, Maison Joseph Burrier | Chateau de Beauregard

Mdm. Anne Parent, Domaine Parent

Romain Taupenot, Domaine Taupenot-Merme

Le Renard de Bourgogne

***

NOTE:  For those of you trying to access binNotes guest blog for The Good Life France  –  it goes live tomorrow –  I’ll post the link as soon as it’s up!

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

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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Thank you: Janine Marsh, The Good Life France