True North | Oregon Bound

On the road again…in search of Burgundy, bubbles, and beyond…

This week I head north to Oregon for the Oregon Wine Symposium in Portland before wending my way to the Willamette Valley for a little vineyard tromping, then on to the Oregon Chardonnay Celebration at the Allison Inn & Spa.

You can follow the action via Instagram @binnotes.

And yes…do please continue to watch this space for links to my forthcoming professional features in Oregon Wine Press, Meininger Wine Business International, and South Bay Accent Magazine, as well as my exclusive interview with Hospices de Beaune’s Ludivine Griveau in the upcoming issue of basil + salt Magazine.

Per usual,  while I no longer post non-professional features on this site, I do continue to tipple through trade samples in The Hedonistic Taster for all you food and wine aficionados looking for unpretentious, concise tasting notes to help you muddle through the wine maze…

Thanks – look forward to hearing your comments. Cheers!

Copyrighted 2018. binNotes | L.M. Archer | All Rights Reserved.


The Hedonistic Taster | № 36 | #Winophiles + Love: L’Amour du Patrimoine

The Hedonistic Taster |  № 36 | #Winophiles + Love: L’Amour du Patrimoine

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML


“Wine should not be regarded simply as a beverage, but as an art of living, a pleasure.” – Henri Jayer

Welcome to The Hedonistic Taster, an intimate showcase of artisan winemaker trade samples. The title “Hedonistic Taster” derives from the term ‘hedonistic tasting,’ coined by legendary Burgundian vigneron Henri Jayer.

These tasting notes focus upon Burgundy, bubbles and beyond, including emerging pinot noir and bubbles producers worldwide.

Today’s Tasting:  #Winophiles+Love: L’Amour du Patrimoine

Famille Bougrier Pure Loire Rosé d’Anjou 2016 paired with organic salad, marinated salmon and freshly baked, seeded boule.

What better Valentine’s Day pairing than L’Amour and French wine?

This month’s French #Winophiles, a group of wine industry influencers with a penchant for French wines, share their favorite pairings with wines generously facilitated by Jill Barth’s co-host Lynn Gowdy of Savor the Harvest.

These wines represent four exciting French wine regions currently capturing consumers’ attention: Savoie, Loire Valley, Beaujolais, and northern Rhone Valley’s Côte de Brune and Côte de Blonde.

Affordable, accessible, and food friendly, the wines vary in cultivars, approach, and style, but all hail from long-established domaines that share a common respect for terroir, and L’Amour du patrimoine, or heritage.

Jean Perrier et Fils Apremont, Savoie.

Wine: Domaine Perrier & Fils Apremont Gastronomie, Fleur de Jacquère

Vintage: 2017

About the Producer:  A seventh-generation family owned domain founded in 1853, Jean Perrier & Fils possesses 62 hectares in the sloping mountains of Savoy and the French Alps. Learn more about Domaine Jean Pierre et Fils here.

Alcohol: 11.5%

Suggested Retail:  $13

Producer Specs100% Jacquère – a mid-sized, thick-skinned, tightly bunched grape variety native to Savoie noted for its bitter, juicy pulp.

Fruit sourced from old domain vineyards planted to argilo-calcaire soils in Les Marches, St. Baldoph and Apremont. Manual harvest, pneumatic pressing, three-week fermentation.


Robe: Light lemon-gold robe.

Nose: Mountain flowers, yellow and white.

Palate: Lemon, Anjou pear, fleurs blanches, mineral core. Light body, bright acids, clean finish. Fresh, complex, idiosyncratic. Excellent quality for the value.



Wine:  Famille Bougrier Pure Loire Rose d’Anjou  

Vintage: 2016

About the Producer: One of the Loire Valley’s last family owned domaines, Famille Bougrier is a sixth-generation winery founded in 1885. The winery comprises 85 hectares on three domaines spanning from Nantes to Sancerre.

More about Famille Bougrier here.

Alcohol: 11%

Suggested Retail:  $13.99 (Sold exclusively at Total Wines.)

Producer Specs: 50% Gamay, 50% Grolleau. Clay with silica soils. A blend of both macerated and pressed juice, matured in stainless steel tanks.


Robe:  Pale rose-petal pink robe.

Nose: Yeasty peach and apricot fuzz notes.

Palate: Ripe stone fruit bouche, lilting floral finish. Medium body, slightly sweet.

Vignerons de Bel-Air Saint-Amour 2016 Cru de Beaujolais.

Wine:  Vignerons de Bel-Air Saint-Amour Cru de Beaujolais

Vintage:  2016

About the Producer: Founded in 1929, Vignerons de Bel-Air includes 250 growers and 700 ha vineyards dotted throughout Beaujolais.  Vignerons de Bel-Air lays claim as the largest producer of Crus du Beaujolais, all estate bottled.

 More about Vignerons de Bel Air here.

Alcohol:  13%

Suggested Retail: $18.99

Producer Specs: 100% Gamay sourced from 60+ year-old, gobelet-trained vines planted in a soil admix of granite, clay, limestone and schists.

Hand-harvested, semi-carbonic and traditional fermentation, aged five months in stainless steel tanks.



Robe: Clear garnet robe.

Nose: Mushroom, red currant, dusty mineral notes.

Palate: Pomegranate, dark cherry, deep mineral core. Acids, tannins and finish+.

Vidal-Fleury 2013 Cote-Rôtie Brune et Blonde de Vidal-Fleury.


Wine:  Vidal-Fleury Côte-Rôtie Brune & Blonde de Vidal-Fleury

Vintage:  2013

About the Producer: Established in 1781, Vidal-Fleury remains the oldest continuously operating winery in the Rhone Valley.  More about Vidal-Fleury here.

Alcohol: 13.5%

Suggested Retail: $72

Producer Specs: 95% Syrah, 5% Viognier.

Fruit grown on extremely steep, thinly layered granitic terraces. Southwestern Côte Blonde contains silica-rich gneiss and clayey sands; northeastern Côte Brune sports mica-schist, coupled with iron and manganese oxide, producing deeper soil with more clay.

Extended traditional maceration (three weeks), “pigeage” at initiation, then pump- over. Indigenous yeast induced fermentation. Controlled, rather warm maceration (30°C /86°F). 100% malolactic fermentation.

Aged on lees three years in barrels and wood vat “foudres”.
Natural clarification, stabilization by settling, one filtration via Cross Flow. Unfined. Bottle maturation: 6 months prior to shipment.


Robe: Dark ruby robe.

Nose: Potpourri, pepper, dark red fruit.

Palate: Nose carries through to bouche. Surprisingly thin-bodied, acids and tannins+, quiet finish.

More #Winophile L’Amour here:

Camillia Mann at Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “L’Amour dans une Bouteille ou Quatre”

Susannah Gold from Avvinare tells us about “Love in the Rhone Valley”

Jeff Burrows at Food, Wine, Click! gives us “French Wines for ‘His’ and ‘Hers’ Valentines”

Jill Barth from L’Occasion takes us on a sensory route “Tasting Romance: French Wine and the Senses”

Michelle Williams of Rocking Red Blog helps us “Celebrate La Saint-Valentin with French Wine”

David Crowley of Cooking Chat dishes up “French Wine Picks and Pairings for Valentine’s Day” and “Beef Stew with Root Vegetables and Côte-Rôtie Wine”

Lauren Walsh from The Swirling Dervish shares “How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Wines”

Liz  Barrett from What’s in that Bottle pairs “Celebrate Galentine’s Day with French Wines & Fondue”

Gwendolyn Lawrence Alley at Wine Predator shares “Sweethearts: French Wines and Pizza”

Wendy Klik at A Day in the Life on the Farm shows us how to Spice up your Love Life with Shrimp Etouffee”

Nicole Ruiz Hudson from Somm’s Table shares “Cooking to the Wine: Domaine Chardigny Saint-Amour with Roasted Salmon and a little Romance”

Martin from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog tells us about “Celebrating L’Amour Du Vin With French Wine At The Table”

Rupal of Journeys of a Syrah Queen swirls up “Valentine’s Day Romance with French Wines”

Jane at Always Ravenous asks “Why Does French Food and Wine Taste So Good? Love!”

Lynn at Savor the Harvest shares “L’Amour du vin”

More of The Hedonistic Taster here.

Always nice to hear from you, dear readers!  Please feel free to leave your comments below and on social media – cheers!

Copyrighted 2018 L.M. Archer | binNotes. All Rights Reserved.


Great Northwest Wine: SIP! McMinnville Best-of-Show Barking Frog Winery 2013 Sangiovese

Always nice to witness great things happen to great wine folks.

As one of the SIP! McMinnville wine competition judges, lovely to see Great Northwest Wine‘s feature on 2018 SIP! McMinnville Wine and Food Classic’s Best-of-Show Barking Frog Winery 2013 Sangiovese in their latest issue…read the full article here.

Did you know…that SIP! McMinnville Food and Wine Classic celebrates its Silver Anniversary this year, claiming fame as one of the region’s oldest and most successful destination food and wine events, featuring 70+ wineries and breweries and 20+ locally sourced eateries serving over 7,000 participants?

SIP! McMinnville happens March 9-11, 2018 at the Evergreen Space Museum. 

Learn more here.



Copyrighted 2018 L.M. Archer | binNotes. All Rights Reserved.

The Hedonistic Taster | № 35 | Smith-Madrone, Napa Valley

The Hedonistic Taster |  № 35 | Smith-Madrone, Napa Valley

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML


“Wine should not be regarded simply as a beverage, but as an art of living, a pleasure.” – Henri Jayer

Welcome to The Hedonistic Taster, an intimate showcase of artisan winemaker trade samples. The title “Hedonistic Taster” derives from the term ‘hedonistic tasting,’ coined by legendary Burgundian vigneron Henri Jayer.

These tasting notes compliment  binNotes | Affordable Burgundy, bubbles and beyond.“Beyond” includes existing and emerging producers of Pinot Noir worldwide.

Today’s Tasting: Smith-Madrone | Spring Mountain District,  Napa Valley, CA.

Here are some shocking Wine Country après-wildfire statistics:

According to a Sonoma State University Wine Business Institute study on the impact of last year’s Wine County wildfires, 99.8 %  of California’s North Coast vineyard acres were not affected by the fires. Moreover, 93 % of wineries surveyed reported no structural damage or long-term impact.

What does this mean?

It means that you need to hop on over to Napa and Sonoma ASAP.

Ask these fine folks how they’re doing. Taste their wines. Eat their farm-to-table food pairings sourced from local farms that also survived the wildfires.

These are proud, passionate, resilient people. People eager, willing and grateful to share the bounty of Wine Country with you.

I can think of no better place to start than Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Wineryon Spring Mountain in Napa Valley.

Founded in 1971 by Stuart Smith, Smith-Madrone straddles Spring Mountain atop steep, rocky, dry-farmed slopes rising between 1,300-2,000 feet. Today the Smith family, including enologist Stu, brother and wine maker Charles, and son and assistant winemaker Sam, produce ~4,000 cases of small-lot, artisanal wines annually from this 200-acre ranch overlooking Napa Valley.

Smith-Madrone wines represents the graceful soul of Old Napa combined with the unbreakable spirit of Napa Reborn – supple, approachable, with a powerful core of mountain je ne c’est quoi. A good place to start, indeed.

Smith Madrone 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District – Napa Valley.

Wine: Smith-Madrone Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon

Vintage: 2014

Alcohol:  13.9 %

Suggested Retail:  $52

Link to Producer Specs


Robe:  Opaque garnet-ruby robe.

Nose:  Dark fruits, tomato leaf, tobacco, black tea, capsicum back-note.

Palate: Medium body, firm tannins, balanced bouche, lengthy finish. Age-worthy for the patient; savor-worthy now for those who eschew delayed gratification.m


Smith Madrone 2015 Chardonnay, Spring Mountain District – Napa Valley.

Wine: Smith- Madrone Spring Mountain District Chardonnay

Vintage: 2015

Alcohol:  14.9%

Suggested Retail:  $34

Link to Producer Specs


Robe:  Pale gold robe.

Nose:  Apricot, nectarine, fleurs blanches.

Palate: Light body, lush florals and stone fruit bouche, unctuous finish.

Learn more about Smith-Madrone here.

Tastings by appointment only.

More of The Hedonistic Taster here.

Always nice to hear from you, dear readers!  Please feel free to leave your comments below and on social media – cheers!

Copyrighted 2018 L.M. Archer | binNotes. All Rights Reserved.

LUX Photo Essays: Judging SIP! McMinnville 2018 Food & Wine Classic

Dear Readers:

Ever wonder what judging a wine competition looks like behind-the-scenes?

Well, here’s your chance to find out!

I’m delighted to share this  LUX Photo Essay’s behind-the-scenes video capturing the 2018 SIP! McMinnville Food and Wine Classic wine competition I recently helped judge, along with Mattie John Bamman of Ravenous Traveler, David Bellows of Chemeketa Community College Wine Program and Vidon Vineyards, Hilary Berg of Oregon Wine Press, Maxine Borcherding of Taste and Compare Academy of Wine, Spirits and Food, Mary Cressler of Vindulge, Julia Crowley of  The Real Wine Julia, Christopher Czarnecki of The Joel Palmer House, Carl Giavanti of Carl Giavanti Consulting, Ted Lauder, and Patrick McElligott of Chemeketa Community College Wine Program and Sineann Wines.

LUX Photo Essays is a collaboration between photojournalist Sara Heinrichs and award-winning writer Julia Crowley of The Real Wine Julia.

SIP! McMinnville Wine and Food Classic celebrates its 25th anniversary as one of Oregon’s premier cultural, 100% volunteer-powered events this March 9-11, 2018 at McMinnville’s Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.

Eat local. Drink local. Think Oregon.

Find out more here.

Video: © LUX Photo Essays | SIP! McMinnville Wine and Food Classic.


©binNotes | redThread™. All Rights Reserved.

The Hedonistic Taster | № 34 | Chateau Paul Mas – Languedoc, FR.

The Hedonistic Taster | № 34 | Chateau Paul Mas – Languedoc, FR.

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

“Wine should not be regarded simply as a beverage, but as an art of living, a pleasure.” – Henri Jayer

Today’s Tasting: Chateau Paul Mas | Languedoc, FR.

Luxe Rural…

I’m moving beyond Burgundy and bubbles today to take on a favorite producer from the Languedoc region of France, Jean-Claude Mas of Chateau Paul Mas.

Yes, I’ve featured Jean-Claude’s wines from his eponymous Les Domaines Paul Mas earlier. I find Jean-Claude compelling for a number of reasons, most notably his commitment to “New Languedoc,” viz., producing sulphur-free and/or low-sulphite wines utilizing sustainable practices (Terra Vitis), and single-vineyard and estate expressions of diverse terroir. Most notably, his wines offer both quality and affordability, a rare combination. 

The wines spotlighted here from Chateau Paul Mas comprise two estates: the Mas family castle and adjoining 25-ha. vineyard in Conas, near the sub-region of  Pézenas in southeastern France. The name ‘Pézenas’ derives from the Latin word piscenis, meaning ‘fishpond, ‘ as an ancient legend told of a fish pond behind the chateau.

The second source, a 85-ha. vineyard in Nicole near Sète, sits a mere 30-minutes from the Mediterranean Sea.

Wine: Château Paul Mas Clos des Mûres 

Vintage: 2015

Alcohol: 14.5%

Suggested Retail: $19.99

Producer SpecsSyrah 83%, Grenache 12%, and Mourvèdre 5%. 

“The south-facing, 27-acre Clos des Mûres vineyard in the Domaines de Nicole estate is located between the villages of Montagnac and Sète, and surrounded by wild blackberry (mûres) bushes.

The wine is aged for nine months in French oak barrels (Seguin Moreau, François Frères) and American (Seguin Moreau). 30% new oak barrels, 35% one-year-old oak barrels, 35% two-year-old oak barrel.”


Robe: Porphyry robe.

Nose: Black fruit, florals, baking spice.

Palate: Black currant, blackberry, cocoa, spice, with hint of minerality. Medium body, pronounced tannins, food-friendly, age-worthy. Another high value wine.

Rating: 90

Wine: Château Paul Mas Belluguette 

Vintage: 2016 

Alcohol: 14%

Suggested Retail: $19.99

Producer Specs: Vermentino 40%, Roussanne 30%, Grenache 20%, Viognier 10%.

The Belluguette vineyard is predominantly limestone with gravel. Destemming,  skin contact and cold settling at 46°F. Each grape variety is vinified separately – the fermentation takes place in oak barrels for one month in between 60°F–64°F. 50% of the blend goes through malolactic fermentation.

The final wine is then aged in oak barrels for four months (2/3 in French barrels and 1/3 in American oak).”


Robe: Deep lemon robe.

Nose: Lush yellow and tropical fruits, slight back note of  vanilla.

Palate: Rich tropical and yellow fruits carry through on the bouche. Medium body, balanced acids, tannins; full finish. Surprising complex for the price.

Rating:  90

Link here for more on Chateau Paul Mas.

Link here for more Hedonistic Taster.

Always great to hear from you in the comments below, and on social media.


Copyrighted 2018 L.M. Archer | binNotes. All Rights Reserved.

Après SIP! Classic 2018: Judgement of McMinnville

Dear Readers:

I’m still on the road, but wanted to share some images from the SIP! Classic 2018 wine competition I helped judge in McMinnville, OR. on January 20th, 2018.

This highly popular food and wine extravaganza takes place April 9,10, & 11th at Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.

Personal fave: The once-in-a-lifetime after-party at Joel Palmer House in Dayton. Hosts Chris and Mary Czarnecki opened their kitchen, cellar and hearts to SIP! Classic wine competition judges and volunteers with staggering generosity of spirit. Much mushrooms and Oregon pinots served, and even more memories made.

So honored to participate!

Learn more about SIP! McMinnville here.

Copyrighted 2018. binNotes | redThread™. All Rights Reserved.