Affordable Burgundy + Beyond Takes a Knee

Greetings, Dear Readers:

I’m on hiatus this week spending some much-needed time with visiting family.

In the interim, my heart goes out my intrepid friends and colleagues in Napa and Sonoma enduring the wildfires. You will prevail. No doubt. #WineCountryStrong.

I leave you with a few images from two top-tier Reserve tastings I tippled through this past week, both showcasing stellar New World pinot noir and chardonnay.

Felton Road winemaker Blair Walter produces premium wines, including Burgundy- inspired Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Central Otago, NZ.

The first, a 20th Vintage Vertical Tasting of Central Otago’s Felton Road at San Francisco’s Farallon Restaurant featured winemaker Blair Walter, who teed up four different flights before lunch, then continued the barrage of brilliance throughout a gorgeous four-course luncheon.  In full disclosure, I arrived in time to taste through the final two flights of pinot noirs, (I missed the new releases and chardonnays) and had to depart after the second course. That said, genius attracts notice, however fleeting the encounter.

Generally speaking, the 2011-2015 pinot noirs from Cornish Point and Calvert vineyards sported clarion ruby robes, lean bodies, pristine fruited aromas, animated acids, keen minerality, and a lingering finish.

The final flight, however – 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010 pinot noirs –  proved heart-stopping in their grace, elegance, and finesse.  Bouquets varied from stewed red fruits in Block 2003, to barnyard notes in Block 3 2005, leather notes in  Block 3 2007, savory hints in Block 5 2009,  and sous bois in Block 5 2010. Burgundy-inspired indeed.

Noble of tannins, seamless in structure, haunting in finish, these Felton Road reserve pinot noirs merit inclusion among the pantheon of finest Burgundians in their quality, complexity, and age-worthiness.

More to follow about specific tasting notes, variations in soils, microclimates, farming, and production techniques of Felton Road.

Link to my two-part series in Palate Press on Central Otago wineries here:

Palate Press:  Taking it Slow in Central Otago – Part I

Palate Press: Taking it Slow in Central Otago – Part II

Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association hosts the 2017 Pinot Paradise Reserve Tasting held at Pasatiempo Golf Club’s Hollins House.

The second Reserve tasting, Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association’s annual Pinot Paradise at Pasatiempo Golf Club’s Hollins House, offered pours from local legends like Big Basin, Mt. Eden, King’s Estate, Mindego Ridge, and Windy Oaks Estate Vineyards.

A post-tasting Technical Session also featured Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards, Equinox & Barolo Winery, Silver Mountain Vineyards, Thomas Fogarty Winery, and Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards.

You’ll be hearing more about these local wineries in future posts, but the undisputed stand-out of the event was Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association show of support for Napa and Sonoma through #CAWineStrong.

Link to my exclusive interview with Jeff Emery of Santa Cruz Mountain Winey here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – please feel free to leave a comment below. You can also follow me on social media – links above. Cheers!

Copyrighted 2017 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.

 

Napa + Sonoma + Burgundy + Beyond

Today broke like any other. Alarm, bird song, coffee. A rush to dress and gas and nudge onto Hwy 17 towards San Francisco for a day of tastings and bubbles  studies.

No time to check social media. Until the first ping.

“Are you ok?” Ping  “?” Ping. “Fire in Sonoma.” Ping. “Fire in Napa.” “Are you ok?!”

Ping. Ping. Ping.  Scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram brings a bombardment of incomprehensible images  –  images of trees, homes, wineries in flames. Wineries I recognize. Homes of people I know. Trees that once shaded memorable drives through remarkable Wine Country.

Napa and Sonoma burning.

And then reality intrudes. My reality. My wine writer life. Car parked, roster checked, spit cup and wine glass presented, and wine tasting begins.

Wines presented by importer+distributor Veritas Wine at High Treason for Becky Wasserman & Co., a bespoke Burgundian wine agency representing an elite portfolio of artisan domaines. Expect more on this bedrock of Burgundian wine culture in future posts.

But not today. Today thoughts and prayers go out to Napa + Sonoma.

You can find out more about how to help by following the Napa Register.

Learn more about Becky Wasserman & Co. here.

Learn more about Becky Wasserman in this interview on I’ll Drink to That here.

Copyrighted 2017 L.M. Archer | binNotes. All Rights Reserved

 

My Latest in BKWine Magazine: Tasting Notes on Graham Beck Bubbles

Dear Readers:

Links below to my Graham Beck Wines tasting notes available in BKWine Magazine:

Link to Tasting Notes from my interview with Pieter “Bubbles” Ferriera of Graham Beck Wines in South Africa published in BKWine Magazine here.

Swedish translation of my Graham Beck tasting notes here.

Link to my interview with Pieter Ferriera of Graham Beck Wines in BKWine Magazine here. (Part 3 of 3-part series on artisan winemakers of South Africa.)

Link to  my interview with Bruwer Raats of Raats Family Wines in BKWine Magazine here. (Part 2 of 3-part series on artisan winemakers of South Africa.)

Link to my interview with Ntsiki Biyela, South Africa’s first black woman winemaker, in BKWine Magazine here. (Part 1 of 3-part series on artisan winemakers of South Africa.)

Link to my tasting notes on the wines of Ntsiki Biyela in BKWine Magazine here.

Copyrighted 2017 L.M. Archer | binNotes. All Rights Reserved

My latest in BKWine Magazine: A bubbly ride in South Africa – meet Pieter Ferreira at Graham Beck

Wines of South Africa: Part 3 of 3

South Africa’s magnificent sparkling wine, Méthode Cap Classique

A bubbly ride in South Africa – meet Pieter Ferreira at Graham Beck

by L.M. Archer

If Champagne has a sibling, it may be méthode cap classique. Specific to South Africa, cap classique employs the same “traditional method” used to make champagne, whereby the second fermentation occurs in bottle. And if South Africa’s méthode cap classique sparkling wine has a ‘godfather’, it’s Pieter “Bubbles” Ferreira, cellarmaster at Graham Beck Wines in Robertson. BKWine Magazine’s contributor LM Archer meets one of the pioneers of South African sparkling wine, also know under the shorter denomination MCC. Read more here.

Swedish translation here.

Wines of South Africa – Part1: Ntsiki Biyela, Aslina Wines

Wines of South Africa – Part 2: Bruwer Raats, Raats Family Wine

Copyrighted 2017 L.M. Archer | binNotes. All Rights Reserved

My latest in BKWine Magazine: Quality by Design at Raats Family Wines in Stellenbosch

Wines of South Africa: Part 2 of 3

Talking with Bruwer Raats, winemaker in South Africa

by L.M. Archer

The ghost of Gaston Huet looms large in the life of Bruwer Raats (pronounced brew-vay rahts) of Raats Family Wines in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Huet, an unbreakable French vigneron, survived a World War II Nazi concentration camp, then walked three days non-stop after release to make harvest at his Loire Valley domaine. Raats draws upon Huet’s inspiration daily as partner, along with brother Jasper and cousin Gavin, in his family’s Stellenbosch wine estate. Read more here.

 Swedish translation here.

Part 1 of 3: Ntsiki Biyela, the first black female winemaker in South Africa.

Copyrighted 2017 L.M. Archer | binNotes. All Rights Reserved

 

The Hedonistic Taster | № 28 | Artesa Winery | Napa Valley

The Hedonistic Taster |  № 28 | Artesa Winery – Napa Valley

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

Tastevin

“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.

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

Artesa Pinot Noir – Napa, CA.

Today’s Tasting: Artesa Winery – Napa Valley, CA.

Quick – which Napa Valley boasts over four centuries of winemaking?

Answer:  Artesa Winery.  Their labels sums up it up succinctly:  “Est. Barcelona 1151, Napa 1991.”

A new world scion of Spain’s prominent Codorníu family’s cava empire, Artesa Winery estate comprises 350 acres in Carneros, replete with a sleek guest facility designed by Barcelona architect Domingo Triay that sprawls hillside like an exotic odalisque, ornamented with a world-class art collection and recently revamped Tasting Salon. But Artesa’s wines emerge the real treasure in this haven to artistry.

‘Artesa’ means “hand-crafted’ in Catalan, and Portuguese-born Director of Winemaking Ana Diogo Draper imbues both still and sparkling wines with old world soul and new world attitude. My samples represent their 2015 pinot noir production, and a bonus sample of the Codorníu Cuvée Clasico cava from Barcelona as a textural/cultural contrast.

About the 2015 Napa Harvest: A fourth consecutive year of drought yielded small quantities but high quality fruit throughout Napa.

Artesa Winery 2015 Estate Pinot Noir, Los Carneros, Napa Valley, CA.

Wine: Artesa Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir | Los Carneros – Napa Valley

Vintage: 2015

Alcohol:  14.6%

Suggested Retail:  $45

Specs

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Clear, deep garnet hue.

Nose:  Pomegranate, graphite, floral notes.

Palate: Cranberry, red cherry, wild berry bouche. Light/medium body, acids, tannins, finish. Surprisingly soft-spoken, elegant, deeply satisfying wine that belies its alcohol level. Excellent quality.

Suggested Pairings:  Personally paired this with marinated wild Alaskan salmon and a late summer salad made from local farmer’s market organic little gems, purple cabbage, radishes, and scallions.

Rating: 93

Artesa 2015 Los Carneros Pinot Noir, Napa Valley.

Wine: Vintage: 2015

Alcohol:  14.2%

Suggested Retail:  $25

Specs

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Opaque garnet robe.

Nose:  Cranberry, mulberry, herbaceous backnote.

Palate: Dark and red fruits predominate – blueberry, plum, cherry. Light body, acids, refined tannins.

Suggested Pairings:  An approachable wine suitable for casual, soulful fare such as ratitouille or cassoulet.

Rating: 89.5

Codorníu N/V Cuvée Clasico Cava – Barcelona, ES.

Wine: Codorníu Cuvée Clasico Cava Brut

Vintage: N/V

Alcohol:  11.5%

Suggested Retail:  $15

Specs

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Clear, pale gold hue.

Nose:  Yellow apple, stone fruit.

Palate: Diffuse mousse, perlage; bright acids, green apple bouche.

Suggested Pairings:  Personally paired with paella – the acids well complimented the briny seafood and saffron.

Rating: 88. Excellent quality/value.

Learn more about Artesa Winery here.

Artesa Winery | 1345 Henry Road, Napa CA 94559

More of The Hedonistic Taster here.

 

I want to hear from you. Please leave your comments below, and join the conversation on social media – cheers!

*Author’s Note: The title “Hedonistic Taster” derives from the term ‘hedonistic tasting,’ coined by legendary Burgundian vigneron Henri Jayer.

 

Copyrighted 2017 L.M. Archer | binNotes. All Rights Reserved.

California Wine Month

Hey Folks:

It’s September, which means it’s California Wine Month!

Did you know that California boasts over 4,700 wineries within four (4) regions spanning from North, Central and South Coasts to Central Valley?

Find an event near you here.

Cheers!

Link here for my recent interview with California winemaker Jeff Emery of  Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard.

More redThread™ exclusive California artisan winemaker interviews here.

How are you celebrating California Wine Month?

Leave your comments below, or join the conversation on social media:

@binnotes

#CAWineMonth

 

 

Copyrighted 2017 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.