Wine Writer Confidential | № 3

Dear Readers:


Welcome to my latest installment of Wine Writer Confidential, where I spill, thrill and chill you with all the news unfit to print about my world of wine writing.

Like virtual wine tastings? Well, this month promises a slew of them in my little corner of the universe. Here’s this week’s line-up – hope you can join me on Twitter!

#wineStudio | Wines of Achaval-Ferrer – Argentina

When: Tuesday, April 4th 2017 6 pm PST

Where: Twitter: #wineStudio



What: Learn about “Winery of the Year” Achaval-Ferrer’s award-winning 100% Malbec, produced from grapes grown in the Uco Valley, Luján de Cuyo and Medrano regions of Argentina.

Additional Achaval-Ferrer virtual tastings throughout the month of April include:

Tuesday, April 11th 2017 6 pm PST

Achaval-Ferrer 100% Cabernet Sauvignon – Agrelo | Medrano Argentina

Monday, April 17th 6 pm PST | World Malbec Day 

Special Blind Tasting

Tuesday, April 25th 2017 6 pm PST

Achaval-Ferrer 100% Cabernet Franc – Uco Valley, Argentina

Learn  more about Achaval-Ferrer at:

Photograph by Goff Photography.

LoCa – The Wines of Lodi, California, featuring Lodi Rules

When: Wednesday, April 5th 2017 – 4 pm PST

Where: Facebook Live




What: Earth Day is April 22 & @Lodi_Wine is celebrating by going LIVE April 4th at 4pm PST/7pm EST for a virtual tasting of four (4) Lodi wines made from grapes certified under Lodi Rules – CA’s original sustainable winegrowing program! Get ready to send in comments & questions to your Lodi hosts, winegrower Aaron Shinn of Round Valley Ranches, winemaker extraordinaire Chad Joseph & Stuart Spencer of the Lodi Winegrape Commission. See you there!


Oak Farm Vineyards 2016 Sauvignon Blanc | Mohr-Fry Ranches

Bokisch Vineyard 2015 Albariño Terra Alta Vineyard

Michael David Winery 2014 Inkblot Cabernet Franc

Michael Klouda 2014 Broken Vine Zinfandel

The best part about these gloriously easy drinking, food-friendly wines? You get the inside track on a treasure-trove of small-production jewels that most of your friends don’t know about yet, but wish they did.

Learn more about LoCa at:

View Lodi Rules cool infographic poster here.

the Hedonistic Taster

My tasting note series The Hedonistic Taster makes it’s return with a new line up of artisan samples, including the wines of Arínzano, northern Spain’s  internationally acclaimed enotourism destination heritage vineyard located near Pamplona.

That’s it for now – in the meantime, feel free to leave your comment(s) below or sign up for my newsletter if you want additional information about upcoming  events.


More Wine Writer Confidential:

Wine Writer Confidential № 1

Wine Writer Confidential № 2 

Copyrighted 2017 binNotes | red Thread™. All Rights Reserved.

The Hedonistic Taster | № 12 | Roserock Drouhin Oregon

The Hedonistic Taster | № 12 | Roserock Drouhin Oregon

The Hedonistic Taster |  № 12

Roserock Drouhin Oregon

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, a binNotes | redThread™ trade sampling of gorgeous, small-lot artisan pours in an intimate tasting format.

The title derives from the term ‘hedonistic tasting,’ coined by legendary Burgundian vigneron Henri Jayer.


Today’s Tasting:

Roserock Drouhin Oregon | Eola-Amity Hills, OR.


Tasting wines by Véronique Drouhin Boss resembles attending a piano concerto – each pour an elegant opus reverberating with its own inner core of subdued structure and grace.

Recently, I was lucky enough to interview the wine maker about her newest project, Roserock Drouhin Oregon, and taste through the wines crafted from this exquisite vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA of Oregon’s Willamette Valley,

Scion of Domaine Drouhin Oregon and Maison Joseph Drouhin in Burgundy, Roserock Drouhin Oregon fashions their cuvées from the estate’s 35 LIVE-certified blocks composed of volcanic soils, favorable aspects, and cooler temperatures overseen by her brother, viticulturalist Phillippe Drouhin.

Véronique Drouhin Boss describes the wines of Roserock as “flirting with Gevrey-Chambertin,” a Burgundian Grand Cru favored by Napoleon and renown for its intense, perfumed flavors.

Her wines raise the bar, and set the standard for Burgundy and Willamette Valley aficionados everywhere.

View my exclusive interview with Véronique Drouhin Boss here.


Wine: Roserock Drouhin Oregon Chardonnay | Eola-Amity Hills, OR.

Vintage: 2014

Alcohol: 14.1%

Suggested Retail: $35



Robe: Impeccable pale straw robe.

Nose:  Bosque pear, lemon flower, slight eau d’evergreen.

Palate: Notes of meyer lemon, with an undercurrent of minerality. Light body, bright acids, lilting finish. Brilliant. Elegant. Age-worthy 3-5 years.

Suggested Pairings: Stuffed sole and brown rice with sautéed shallots, seasonal kale and cèpes.



Wine: Roserock Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir | Eola-Amity Hills, OR.

Vintage: 2014

Alcohol: 14.1 %

Suggested Retail: $35



Robe: Brilliant, deep ruby robe.

Nose:  Tea rose, potpourri, cranberry and dark cherry nose.

Palate: Floral, dried fruit, black cherry with a back note of evergreen. Light body, supple tannins, superb structure, effortless balance, lingering finish. Age-worthy 7-10 years.

Suggested Pairings: An elegant wine of discretion mean to enhance, not overpower. Suitable for any meal that allows for ample discourse and delight in an artfully laden table.

Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.

The Hedonistic Taster | Lenné Estate | 2014 Karen’s Pommard Pinot Noir

The Hedonistic Taster | Lenné Estate | 2014 Karen’s Pommard Pinot Noir


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

Welcome to The Hedonistic Taster, a binNotes | redThread™ trade sampling of artisan wines.

Today’s Tasting:

Lenné Estate | 2014 Karen’s Pommard Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley

Named for wine maker Steve Lutz’s wife, Karen Lutz deserves recognition in her own right. Lenné Estate draws its name from Karen’s father, Lenny, and every label features his profile. Upon his passing, Lenny’s estate helped fund the winery’s start, as did Karen’s ‘day job’ as a pharmaceuticals sales rep.

Today, due to the fruits of their success at Lenné Estate, Karen now enjoys working with Steve full time at the winery. This wine pays graceful homage to the woman for whom it’s named.

Lenne Estate 2014 karens-pommard

WineLenné Estate Karen’s Pommard Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton

Vintage: 2014

Alcohol:  14.9 %

Suggested Retail: $55.00


Note: #1106 of 1500 bottles made.


Robe: Tranquil ruby robe.

Nose: Alluring ‘rosebud’, spice, mocha nose.

Palate: Silky, subtle dark cherry, cassis, cocoa bouche. Hard to believe it’s 14.9% alcohol. Very feminine approach on the palate, with a lilting finish.

This wine reminds me of those from Domaine Parent in the Burgundian village of Pommard, from where the Pommard clone draws its name.

But while Mdm. Anne Parent’s wines exude a marled, muscular elegance, Steve Lutz presents a glorious Peavine-fist-in-a-velvet Willakenzie-glove rendition from his estate in Yamhill-Carlton.

Suggested Pairings:

Skip dinner and head straight to dessert. This wine pairs best with Barry White on Pandora and a babysitter.


For more on Lenné Estate:

The Hedonistic Taster | Lenné Estate 2014 Eleanor’s 114 Pinot Noir

The Hedonistic Taster | Lenné Estate 2014 Jill’s 115 Pinot Noir 

The Hedonistic Taster |Lenné Estate 2014 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

 The Hedonistic Taster № 8 | Lenné Estate.

You can find out more about the story behind Lenné Estate’s hard-fought road to success here in my article about owners Steve and Karen Lutz in Oregon Wine Press.


Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.

redThread™ Exclusive | A Conversation with Artisan Wine maker Linn Scott | Sparkman Cellars

redThread™ Exclusive | A Conversation with Artisan Wine maker Linn Scott | Sparkman Cellars

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™

Inspired stories about artisan wine and taste makers.

by L.M. Archer FWS, Bourgogne ML

Today’s Exclusive Interview:

Linn Scott | Sparkman Cellars

Once and awhile a winemaker transcends terroir, much like a jazz musician transcends his/her instrument.

Earlier this year I had the distinct privilege of tasting a remarkable Pinot Noir, L’Autre, by wine maker Linn Scott, which I shared on tasting series The Hedonistic Taster. So taken with the wine, I put the cart before the horse with this one…I reviewed the wine without interviewing the wine maker.

In an attempt to right that wrong, I offer a demi-interview with Linn Scott, to whet your appetite for this hard-to-source juice. Cruel, perhaps, but it’s what I do – provide readers like you access to artisan, small-lot wines overlooked by the mainstream wine media.

In truth, a full interview proved as elusive as this wine, as Linn was full into harvest, and I was doing my Northern California | Seattle straddle. We both live peripatetic lives, dictated by our respective wine making and writing troikas. Eventually, we connected.

And so, here’s a distilled version, which I share with you. It’s short, but illustrates the intertwined lives of wine makers and growers. It takes a village to raise a wine maker. Enjoy the brief interlude.


r/T™:  How did a wine maker [for Sparkman Cellars] from Washington state end up making Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley?

Chris [Sparkman] loves Pinot Noir, so he was interested in making one. I worked four vintages in Oregon, two (2) at Bethel Heights and two (2) at Penner Ash. I’ve had a relationship with the International Pinot Noir Celebration for twelve years.

r/T™  Why Temperance Hill Vineyard to source your fruit?

LS:  I love Pinot noir and have lots of family connections in Oregon and the Willamette Valley. We had access to Temperance Hill Vineyard via Rob Stuart in McMinnville and I knew Dai Crisp the vineyard manager there a bit since Bethel Heights is directly next door and we shared a viticultural team. We like the aromatics of the higher altitude Pinot out of there.

r/T™:  Do you ship the fruit up to Washington for crush, or process in the Willamette Valley?

LS: I go and pick up the fruit myself; I borrow a truck and trailer from our neighbors at Guardian [Cellars]. I drop bins early morning, load up the trailer after they pick, and then drive back to Woodinville and process it.

r/T™:  Anything special about wine growing or the fermentation process that differs from your other wines?

LS:  Certainly much lower natural alcohol (lower brix at ripeness).

r/T™: Any folks from Willamette Valley instrumental in the L’Autre project?

LS:  Dear friends at Westrey Winery, Bethel Heights, Matello and the International Pinot Noir Celebration. Great friend involved in the vineyard management at Temperance Hill as well.

Thank you:

Linn Scott

Chris Sparkman

Megan – Bethel Heights – for trying to make it work 🙂

For more: 

View  The Hedonistic Taster’s notes on L’Autre here.

View my interview with Lynn Penner-Ash here.

View my interview with Rob Stuart of R. Stuart & Co. here.

Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.

BKWine Magazine | @binNotes | redThread™ Wrath Wines Interview Now Available

BKWine Magazine | @binNotes | redThread™ Wrath Wines Interview Now Available

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™

Inspired stories about artisan wine and taste makers.

by L.M. Archer FWS, Bourgogne ML

BK WIne Magazine logo

Dear Readers:

binNotes | redThread™ exclusive interview with Wrath Wines is now available in BKWine Magazine, Scandinavia’s pre-eminent online wine magazine by Britt and Per Karlsson, wine writers for

This interview is the second in a three-part series featuring Northern California artisan wine makers.

Link to Part 2 (Wrath Wines) here.

Link to Part 2 (Wrath Wines) in Swedish here.


Read Part 1 (Small Vine Wines) of my 3-part series on N. California artisan wine makers here.

Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.

redThread™ Exclusive | Wrath Wines

redThread™ Exclusive | Wrath Wines

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™

Inspired stories about artisan wine and taste makers.

by L.M. Archer FWS, Bourgogne ML

Today’s Exclusive Interview:

Wrath Wines | Monterey AVA

What happens when world-renown archeologist Michael Thomas and phenom winemaker Sabrine Rodems join forces in the foothills of Monterey AVA?  Artisan, bespoke Wrath Wines is what happens.

Named in part for the wrath of the gods that set Aeneas upon his journey in The Aeneid, in part from lyrics to Led Zepplin’s “Going to California,” Wrath Wines blend both the sacred and the profane into hauntingly original offerings – some made in terra-cotta urns called dolios – that delight gods and humans alike.

Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing wine maker Sabrine Rodems at Wrath Wines’ San Saba Vineyard in Soledad, where we talked terra-cotta, terroir, and her sassy winemaking style.

You’re a former theatre professional who opted to pursue an advanced degree in wine making from UC Davis rather than attend medical school (Apparently your sister, a doctor, talked you out of a career in medicine.)  What about wine making piques both your scientific, analytical side –  as well as your artistic, expressive side?

There is a scientific, analytical side of winemaking, mostly for putting out microbial fires. After 12 years this has become intuitive. I don’t need to run a bunch of analysis to taste a barrel and realize something is going on. Most of the time it is a “good” something, but sometimes it can be an issue. The artistic and expressive side is the one Michael and I express the most.We often don’t look at the data when we blend. We want to make the wine that passes the mouth test, a much more rigorous set of standards than any analysis I can do in the lab.

Would you have continued along the wine making path without the intervention of mentors? 

My three Primary Investigators at UC Davis, Andy Walker, Doug Adams and Linda Bisson taught me a lot more than just how run the assays I needed to for my thesis. They taught me how to work in a field as a necessary component but with flexibility. They answer to the needs of the industry on some level, and I answer to the needs of the consumer, while still keeping our expression of what we want to say at Wrath.

Talk about Team Wrath – owner and internationally renown archeologist Michael Thomas, wine grower Steve McIntyre, and you. How does the choreography of Wrath during harvest work? 

I conference with our ranch managers from MPI to let them know exactly how I want my grapes farmed and what I am looking for in terms of exposure to sun, ripeness and expression. These are things that we all discuss together and then the plan is set, but much before harvest.These discussions occur in February or March. During harvest, we execute the plan to the best of our ability with the guidance of ‘mother nature.’

Talk about wine making. Did Michael’s ties to archeology inspire producing Wrath’s Ex Dolio Falanghina in a dolio, or terra cotta vessel, for fermentation, or was that your idea? Would you say Wrath aspires to emulate more old world techniques, new world, or a combination? What drives you to make the choices in other varietals used?

We were looking for a varietal that brought it all together, and when Michael said “Falanghina” we all knew it was the one. And then we sought to make it in the most authentic vessel possible, so we did. His archeology totally influenced all of these decisions. It is not an old world wine…you would need some gladiator sweat added to it for that, and we are just not going there.We shall see in the future if any other ‘old world,’ ‘odd-ball’ varietals show up in the vineyard, but for now, we are happy to explore Falanghina!

Wrath boasts a prodigious inventory of wines.  Ex Anima wines focus upon purity of fruit without extensive manipulation or oak usage, while the Winemaker Series showcases flavor nuances garnered through blending or winemaking experimentation, and the Single Vineyard Series expresses the individuality of each vineyard. What gives you the nerve to push the envelope and explore so many arenas, rather than playing it safe?

Curiosity has gotten us here and it will get us out. We love to poke a stick at it and stand back and see what it can do. We are sort of like Scotty from Star Trek that way. It killed the cat, but it won’t kill us!

Let’s talk terroir. In your twelve years making wine at Wrath, 2009 was the only year you had to deal with humidity. Anything else about Monterey’s microclimates that readers might find surprising. How do these microclimates influence the flavor profiles of the wines?

Our vineyard is in Monterey AVA. It is this whole AVA and region that benefits from the weather pattern here. There are many microclimates in this entire area. The San Saba Vineyard that is in the Monterey AVA is actually somewhat protected from the wind since we get a break from the geological bench that juts out just north of the vineyard. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of wind here, it is just a little more regulated because of this. Our vineyard is unique, as is each vineyard I source from in the Santa Lucia Highland, so they all have their unique terroir and microclimate is a part of that. That is why they all taste different.

Wrath espouses a deep commitment to SIP certified farming. Anything in particular about SIP that resonates with you as a wine maker?

The holistic approach to being a partner with this community is important to me as a winemaker.Nothing in this world happens in a vacuum, and SIP Certifications makes that something in the forefront of your mind. What we do here on a daily basis affects our neighbors, our city, our community, our county, our state, our country, and the earth. It is like a pebble in a pond and we are aware of this and thoughtful of this on a daily basis.

Owner Michael Thomas also allows you to create wines under your own label, Scratch Wines. What differentiates your wines from those of Wrath, besides the use of different varietals? Attitude? Approach? Methodology?

The wines I make under my Scratch brand is more of an expression of me with my own risk ($$) and my own reward (not so much$$). I make varietals that Wrath doesn’t make because I am curious about them and how they fit into my style and the marketplace. I have a high acid Riesling from Arroyo Seco, a spicy Grenache also from Arroyo Seco, a 50% WC Pinot from Santa Lucia Highland, a dry but jammy Rose from Monterey, and a Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet. I try to push these wines to the edges to see what they can do, which is what we do at Wrath as well. Always experimenting.

Anything else you care to share about Wrath that makes it so unique?

I mentioned it before. We do a lot of experimentation. That is what makes us unique, and also might add to our skus [wine inventory], but we love to push it to the edges and see what this vineyard can do.

Finally, if winemaking has taught you anything, it’s taught you…

Winemaking has taught me to be calm and not freak out. I have learned to understand and respect microbes to the point that I think they are my pets. There is a love there.


Thank you:

Claire, Christopher, Sabrine | Wrath Wines

Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.