My latest in BKWine Magazine | Talking with Ali Mayfield of The Walls | Walla Walla, WA.

Dear Readers:

Delighted to announce that my exclusive interview with winemaker Ali Mayfield of The Walls in Walla, Walla, WA is now featured in Paris-based BKWine Magazine.

Full interview available here. 

For Scandinavian readers: Full interview available in Swedish here.

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The Hedonistic Taster | ‚ĄĖ 17 | The Walls¬† available here.

Other exclusive binNotes | redThread‚ĄĘ artisan winemaker interviews available here.

I want to hear from you! Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Psstt…And please do follow me on Instagram, Facebook and other social media – you can find the icons above on the left-hand side of this site.

Cheers!

‚̶

Copyrighted 2017 L.M. Archer | binNotes | redThread‚ĄĘ. All Rights Reserved

The Hedonistic Taster | ‚ĄĖ 21 | Gary Farrell Winery – Russian River Valley

The Hedonistic Taster¬†| ¬†‚ĄĖ¬†21¬†| Gary Farrell Winery – Russian River Valley ¬†

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

Tastevin

‚ÄúWine should not be regarded simply as a beverage, but as an art of living, a pleasure.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Henri Jayer

Welcome to The Hedonistic Taster,¬†a¬†binNotes | redThread‚ĄĘ¬†trade¬†sampling¬†of¬†gorgeous, small-lot artisan pours in an intimate¬†tasting format.

The title derives from the term ‚Äėhedonistic tasting,‚Äô coined by legendary¬†Burgundian vigneron¬†Henri Jayer.

Santé!

Today’s Tasting:

Gary Farrell Winery | Russian River Valley 

Like any work of art, every great wine has a soul – the part of the painting, the story, the pour that haunts you, that rivets you, that sparks your ‘mortal coil.’

Tasting the wines of Gary Farrell Winery by winemaker Theresa Heredia rivets my soul.

First, a little bit about my tasting protocols. With few exceptions, the wines I taste derive from small-lot, artisan winemakers.

I file all industry collateral (product information shipped with the samples) for review after I make my own notes.

I do this because I do not want my tasting experience ‘influenced’ by tasting notes prepared by the winemaker. I find wine tasting, like fingerprints, as individual as the person tasting. What I smell, taste, feel differs from that of the person drafting the ‘company’ notes.

Only after I prepare my notes and transfer them to the post do I review the winery notes. I review them for the same reason I always like to study the exam answers after sitting for a designation. I want to know if I succeeded in ‘syncing’ with the winemaker’s story, if I honored the wine’s specific terroir, if I captured what I call the wine’s ‘soul.’ In this rare instance, my own notes nearly mirrored those of the winemaker.

As a student of Burgundy, I find Theresa Heredia’s wines for Gary Farrell Winery on par with some of the finest domaines in the Cote d’Or. Her wines reflect a timeless finesse and mystery endemic to a great Burgundy, wines that reveal some, but not all of their secrets – leaving us to plumb the depth for answers, only to find more questions.

A note about the wines:

Gary Farrell Winery takes full advantage of Russian River Valley’s rich array of microclimates and vineyards in producing these approachable, age-worthy wines. These wines all showcase the 2014 Russian River vintage, note-worthy on many levels, including one of the region’s mildest, and earliest, harvests on record, as well as an ongoing drought that produced smaller berries of condensed intensity, and wines of lower alcohol yet greater structure.

Learn more about Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery here.

 

 

Wine: Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Chardonnay РRussian River Valley

Vintage: 2014

Alcohol:  13.8 %

Suggested Retail: $35

Specs

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Clear pale lemon robe.

Nose:  Medium intense aromas of citrus, golden apple, almond flower.

Palate: Lemon curd, hazelnut, pear bouche; medium-light body, clean acids, soft finish.

Suggested Pairings: ¬†The perfect hostess gift for the most discriminating of palates, able to ‘pair nicely’ with any summer gathering, especially those pool or dockside.

Wine: Gary Farrell Olivet Lane Vineyard Chardonnay РRussian River Valley

Vintage: 2014

Alcohol:  13.3%

Suggested Retail:  $45

Specs

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Clear, medium-gold robe.

Nose:  Medium-intense aromas of butterscotch, pear, white flower.

Palate:¬†Meyer lemon, stone fruit, dill w/ golden apple backnote on the bouche; medium-light body, creamy mouthfeel, bright, clean finish. Multi-faceted, M√Ęcon-like stunner.

Suggested Pairings: Because of its multi-faceted flavor profiles, it can span the spectrum in pairing possibilities. I chose to serve as an apéritif with a fruit and cheese plate featuring stronger cheeses like Irish Cheddar and Roquefort, some organic apple slices, and roasted local almonds.

Wine: Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Pinot Noir РRussian River Valley

Vintage: 2014

Alcohol:  14.1%

Suggested Retail:  $45

Specs

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Clear, medium-hued garnet robe.

Nose:  Medium-intense aromas of red fruit, spice and floral on the nose.

Palate: Cherry cola, red plum, Braeburn apple on the bouche; medium body, acids, tannins, finish.

Suggested Pairings:  Personal fave: deckside with grilled salmon and summer vegetables.

Wine: Gary Farrell Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir РRussian River Valley

Vintage: 2014

Alcohol:  14.1%

Suggested Retail:  $55

Specs

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Clear, deep garnet robe.

Nose:  Medium-intense aromas of red currant, cranberry, rose.

Palate: Red fruit, potpourri, black tea bouche; medium body, acids, lustrous tannins, silky finish.

Suggested Pairings: ¬†This brooding wine compliments more complex fare like roasted game or¬†bŇďuf bourguignon.

Wine: Gary Farrell Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir РRussian River Valley

Vintage: 2014

Alcohol:  14%

Suggested Retail:  $75

Specs: Available Exclusively to Wine Club Members by Phone Allocation.

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Clear ruby robe.

Nose:  Lilting aromas of red fruit, black tea, florals.

Palate: Cranberry, pomegranate, raspberry, rose petal bouche; graceful body, elegant structure, noble tannins. Utterly beguiling, Burgundian Premier Cru quality quaffer. Worth collecting.

Suggested Pairings:¬†As with any fine Burgundian wine, Theresa Heredia’s Gary Farrell 2014 Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir pairs best with contemplation among one’s nearest and dearest.

 

Learn more about Gary Farrell Winery here.

I want to hear from you! Leave your thoughts on these wines – and any other wine questions – below in the comments section. Cheers!

 

Copyrighted 2017 L.M. Archer | binNotes | redThread‚ĄĘ. All Rights Reserved

The Hedonistic Taster | ‚ĄĖ 20 | Mt. Beautiful – N. Canterbury, New Zealand

The Hedonistic Taster¬†| ¬†‚ĄĖ 20 | Mt. Beautiful

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

Tastevin

‚ÄúWine should not be regarded simply as a beverage, but as an art of living, a pleasure.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Henri Jayer

Welcome to The Hedonistic Taster,¬†a¬†binNotes | redThread‚ĄĘ¬†trade¬†sampling¬†of¬†gorgeous, small-lot artisan pours in an intimate¬†tasting format.

The title derives from the term ‚Äėhedonistic tasting,‚Äô coined by legendary¬†Burgundian vigneron¬†Henri Jayer.

Santé!

Today’s Tasting:

Mt. Beautiful | North Canterbury, New Zealand

For those of you unfamiliar with Mt. Beautiful, the story centers around a man, a country, and a quest.

In 2003, world-renown economist and avid outdoorsman David Teece and his wife Leigh set about locating a region where no vineyards yet existed in his native country of New Zealand. His goal: Make world-class wine where no wine had ever been made.

With the ¬†the help of geologist and friend Ron Sutherland, Teece eventually honed in on North Canterbury, an area on the South Island between the Southern Alps and Kaikoura. At first glance, the region’s unrelenting nor’westers, sweltering summers, minimal rainfall, frost-prone winters, and rugged morphology didn’t appear conducive to farming grapes.

But the land’s twenty-three different soil types, including ‘Phoebe,’ a well-draining glacial till/loess/volcanic ash concoction, combined with a myriad of microclimates, proved an alluring gamble. Teece and his wife purchased a total of 184.32 acres, christening the virgin vineyard Mt. Beautiful.

Determined to grow cultivars different from its neighbors in nearby Marlborough, Mt. Beautiful boasts over thirty different clonal selections, each varying in flavor, color, berry size, ripening, phenolics, tannins, susceptibility to disease, and ability to withstand drought and frost, among other characteristics.

Mt. Beautiful practices certified sustainable farming, and enjoys an award-winning reputation thanks to its artisan winemaker, Sam Weaver.

A special note about the wine label, which honors David Teece’s heritage. The label draws from letters written by David Teece’s father, Allan Teece, while serving in New Zealand’s Expeditionary Force in North Africa, Palestine and Italy from 1940 to 1945, and features a hand-drawn map of New Zealand.

For Teece, the ‘call to the land’ ¬†is ‘visceral,’ something he learned from his father, and endemic to the ¬†New Zealand culture. Mt. Beautiful winery and vineyard seeks to respect this relationship to the land, and to its unique terroir. ¬†New Zealanders refer to terroir as ¬†TŇęrangawaewae, a MńĀori term which loosely translates to ‘a place to stand.’ ¬†These Mt. Beautiful wines clearly stand on their own.

Wine: Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc

Vintage: 2016

Alcohol:  14.1%

Suggested Retail:  $15.99

Specs

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Clear, pale lemon.

Nose:  Tropical notes of lychee, pineapple, melon.

Palate: Lychee, gooseberry, grapefruit bouche; light body, bright acids, snappy finish.

Suggested Pairings:  This self-assured wine can stand alone as a refreshing aperitif, paired with fresh oysters, or served alongside grilled sole with a side of farm-fresh asparagus.

Wine: Mt. Beautiful  Pinot Gris

Vintage: 2015

Alcohol:  14.5%

Suggested Retail:  $18.99

Specs

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Clear, pale straw.

Nose:  Pear, white nectarine, tropical notes.

Palate: Kiwi, core of minerality w/ grassy backnote; light body, acid-plus, bright finish.

Suggested Pairings:  Seared sea scallops with black bean garlic sauce. Brilliant. 

Wine: Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir

Vintage: 2015

Alcohol:  14.0%

Suggested Retail:  $24.99

Specs

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Clear, medium-deep garnet.

Nose:  Clean, developing red fruit notes of red currant and cherry, w/ a  hint of violet on the backnote.

Palate: White pepper, slate, black cherry bouche; dry, acid+, light-medium body, tannins, finish.

Suggested Pairings:  Pan-seared salmon, herb-roasted organic new potatoes and grilled summer vegetables.

Read my interview with winemaker Sam Weaver here.

Learn more about Mt Beautiful here.

I want to hear from you!  Feel free to leave your thoughts on these wines Рand any other wine questions Рbelow in the comments section. Cheers!

 

Copyrighted 2017 L.M. Archer | binNotes | redThread‚ĄĘ. All Rights Reserved

Wine Writer Confidential | ‚ĄĖ 3

Dear Readers:

L.M.Archer

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

@achaval-ferrer

#Malbec

What:¬†Learn about “Winery of the Year” Achaval-Ferrer’s award-winning 100% Malbec, produced from grapes grown in the Uco Valley, Luj√°n 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 РUco Valley, Argentina

Learn  more about Achaval-Ferrer at: www.achaval-ferrer.com

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Photograph by Goff Photography.

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

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

Where: Facebook Live

@Lodi_WIne

#LodiRules

#LoCa

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!

Wines:

Oak Farm Vineyards 2016 Sauvignon Blanc | Mohr-Fry Ranches

Bokisch Vineyard 2015 Albari√Īo 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: www.lodigrowers.com

View Lodi Rules cool infographic poster here.

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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 Ar√≠nzano, 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.

Cheers!

More Wine Writer Confidential:

Wine Writer Confidential ‚ĄĖ 1

Wine Writer Confidential ‚ĄĖ 2¬†

Copyrighted 2017 binNotes | red Thread‚ĄĘ. All Rights Reserved.

The Hedonistic Taster | ‚ĄĖ 12 | Roserock Drouhin Oregon

The Hedonistic Taster | ‚ĄĖ 12 | Roserock Drouhin Oregon

The Hedonistic Taster¬†| ¬†‚ĄĖ¬†12

Roserock Drouhin Oregon

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

Tastevin

‚ÄúWine should not be regarded simply as a beverage, but as an art of living, a pleasure.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Henri Jayer

Welcome to The Hedonistic Taster,¬†a¬†binNotes | redThread‚ĄĘ¬†trade¬†sampling¬†of¬†gorgeous, small-lot artisan pours in an intimate¬†tasting format.

The title derives from the term ‚Äėhedonistic tasting,‚Äô coined by legendary¬†Burgundian vigneron¬†Henri Jayer.

Santé!

Today’s Tasting:

Roserock Drouhin Oregon | Eola-Amity Hills, OR.

fleur-roserock

Tasting wines by Véronique Drouhin Boss resembles attending a piano concerto Рeach 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¬†cuv√©es from the estate’s 35 LIVE-certified blocks composed of volcanic soils, favorable¬†aspects, and cooler temperatures¬†overseen by her brother, viticulturalist Phillippe Drouhin.

V√©ronique 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.

bouteille-roserock-2

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

Vintage: 2014

Alcohol: 14.1%

Suggested Retail: $35

Specs

TASTING NOTES:

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.

 

bouteille-roserock-1

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

Vintage: 2014

Alcohol: 14.1 %

Suggested Retail: $35

Specs

TASTING NOTES:

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.

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Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread‚ĄĘ. ¬†All Rights Reserved.

The Hedonistic Taster | Lenn√© Estate | 2014 Karen’s Pommard Pinot Noir

The Hedonistic Taster | Lenn√© Estate | 2014 Karen’s Pommard Pinot Noir

Tastevin

Wine should not be regarded simply as a beverage, but as an art of living, a pleasure.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Henri Jayer

Welcome to The Hedonistic Taster,¬†a¬†binNotes | redThread‚ĄĘ¬†trade¬†sampling¬†of¬†artisan wines.

Today’s Tasting:

Lenn√© Estate¬†| 2014 Karen’s Pommard Pinot Noir¬†‚Äď Willamette Valley

Named for wine maker Steve Lutz’s wife, Karen Lutz deserves recognition in her own right. Lenn√© 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 Lenn√© 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

Wine:¬†Lenn√© Estate Karen’s Pommard¬†Pinot Noir ‚Äď Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton

Vintage: 2014

Alcohol:  14.9 %

Suggested Retail: $55.00

Specs

Note: #1106 of 1500 bottles made.

TASTING NOTES:

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.

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For more on Lenné Estate:

The Hedonistic Taster |¬†Lenn√© 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 ‚ĄĖ 8 | Lenn√© 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.

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Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread‚ĄĘ. ¬†All Rights Reserved.

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

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

Welcome to binNotes | redThread‚ĄĘ

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‚ĄĘ: ¬†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‚ĄĘ ¬†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‚ĄĘ: ¬†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‚ĄĘ: ¬†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‚ĄĘ:¬†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 ūüôā

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‚ĄĘ. ¬†All Rights Reserved.