Fave 5 Highlights of 2017

What an eventful year!

Here’s my Fave 5 highlights of 2017, in chronological order: 

1. Meadowood Wine Writers Symposium 2017
Winning a Fellowship to the Meadowood Professional Wine Writer’s Symposium 2017 (WWS17) set the tone for 2017, and introduced me to a slew of savvy industry professionals, Napa Valley winemakers, and top-notch wines.

So when the Wine Country wildfires hit later this year, it was personal.

Personal fave: Meeting up with WWS17 alum Marie Oskarsson – noted Swedish author, sommelier, and  journalist – while in Gothenburg working on a pending international feature I’m doing on Swedish sommeliers.

2. International Pinot Noir Celebration 2017

A media pass to the 31st Annual International Pinot Noir Celebration featuring “The French Adventurers: Burgundians Making Pinot Noir in Oregon” felt more like winning the Burgundian lottery.

Kicking things off at the The Grand Seminar included commentary by – and wines from – these French luminaries:

  • Véronique Boss-Drouhin of Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Roserock Drouhin Oregon and Maison Joseph Drouhin.
  • Jacques Lardière of Résonance and Maison Louis Jadot.
  • Dominique Lafon of Lingua Franca and Domaine des Comtes Lafon.
  • Jean-Nicolas Méo of Domaine Nicolas-Jay and Domaine Méo-Camuzet.
  • Alexandrine Roy of  Phelps Creek Vineyards and Domaine Marc Roy.

I also scored a berth at University of Pinot “Meteorology 325: The Impact of Vintage in Burgundy” Besides tasting more fabulous wine, we received a master class on Burgundy, terroir, and vintage from host Allen Meadows.

Panelists included Chisa Bize of Domaine Simon Bize et Fils, Mathilde Grivot of Domaine Jean Grivot, and Étienne de Montille of D. de Montille, who shared their personal harvest notes, including a particularly riveting account of the cataclysmic 2016 harvest.

Aside from seminars and tastings, off-campus ‘field trips’ rounded out an over-packed itinerary, including a tour of Chapter 24 Vineyards Witness Tree Vineyard in Eola-Amity Hills AVA with winemaker Felipe Ramirez, a private tasting at Bells Up Winery in Chehalem Mountains AVA with Dave and Sara Specter, a sidebar with John Grochau of Grochau Cellars, and dinner with Jeff Knapp and Kitri McGuire of Visit McMinnville.

Personal fave: Profiling winemakers from emerging pinot noir regions, including New Zealand’s Paul Pujol of Prophet’s Rock  and Duncan Forsyth of Mount Edward for Palate Press,  and South Africa’s Pieter Ferreira of Graham Beck Wines for BKWine Magazine.

3. Women in Wine

“Ataxaria: ‘a state of serenity or calm.” 

What happens when a group of talented ‘women of wine’ retreat to California’s Lake County in late September? “Ataxaria: Yoga & Meditation for Women,” brainchild of  USA Today’s Lauren Mowery, proved the right combination of ‘reset’ and ‘restore’ over a long weekend of yoga, hiking, local wine tasting and farm-to-table fare, plus a lot of laughter.

Personal fave: Sirsee seminar with Amy Bess Cook, founder of Women-owned Wineries of Sonoma County. Wine Sistahs in the house!

Bonus:  Check out her recent interview in Grape Collective here.

 

4. Bubbles!

Ok – so I’m still not sure how I ended up falling down the rabbit hole of the Champagne Master Level designation I earned in November, but I can verify that I did drink more champagne over the course of the rigorous program than most people drink in a lifetime. In the process, I developed a new appreciation for Champagne’s complex history, geology, production techniques, and the art of assemblage.

I also admit that, despite an unbreakable bond with Burgundy, I do consider Champagne the ‘flip side’ of Burgundy – same cépages (pinot noir, chardonnay), but different textures, and terroir. Well worth the effort.

Personal fave: Reviewing Champagne expert and author Caroline Henry’s new book Terroir Champagne  – an invaluable study guide for any student of bubbles.

5. Hospices de Beaune

The view from the cramped press room overlooking the Hospices de Beaune wine auction never gets old. Ever. Nor do the official tastings,  luncheon, and press conference prior to sounding the auction gavel.

During three days covering the 157th Hospices de Beaune wine auction,  I rushed between obligatory press tastings and events to conduct a one-on-one interview with Domaine Hospices de Beaune managing director Ludivine Griveau for the February 2018 issue of basil + salt magazine, sneak a peak inside the Burgundian cellars of Oregon vignerons Véronique Drouhin-Boss of Maison Joseph Drouhin, Jean-Nicolas Meo of Domaine Meo-Camuzet, Comte Louis-Michel Liger-Belair of Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair, and Matthieu Gille of Domaine Gille for the February 2018 issue of Oregon Wine Press, and attended an exclusiveinvitation-only preview of  Three Days of Glory at Beaune’s Les Ateliers du Cinéma, a film about Burgundy by Oregon wine importer Scott Wright and filmmaker David Baker.

Bonus: You can get the inside scoop Three Days of Glory in the March 2018 issue of Oregon Wine Press prior to the international  Newport Beach Film Festival premier in April 2018.

Personal fave: Getting lost in Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits under softly setting afternoon sunlight. Though we  missed our Roi Gevrey-Chambertin tasting and dinner, the magnificent views brought much solace.

So grateful you’ve been here to share 2017 with me…looking forward to more adventures in 2018!

Have your own 2017 fave event or wine? Please do share in the comment section below!

Cheers, and Best Wishes in 2018!

Copyrighted 2017-2018. binNotes | redThread™. All Rights Reserved.

Hospices de Beaune 2017 Debrief

I’m just back from a whirlwind trip to the record-breaking 2017 Hospices de Beaune wine auction, and wanted to share a few images with you to get a flavor of the tour and all it entailed.

I’ll be hunkered down for the rest of the holiday season writing several pending stories for publication in a number of wine and lifestyle magazines, but be sure to share more information with you as deadlines loom after the first of the year. In the meantime,  happy holidays, all – and safe travels.

As always, great to hear from you in the ‘Comments’ section below and on social media – cheers!

All images and text Copyrighted 2017 binnotes.com | L. M. Archer. All Rights Reserved.

 

Burgundy Bound

Dear Readers:

I’m traveling on assignments for the balance of 2017, indispensable Yoga Paws and Lazenne wine carrier in tow.

First stop Sweden, followed by the fabled Hospices de Beaune wine auction in Burgundy, before returning stateside later this month for some South Bay sleuthing amidst a little US Thanksgiving gratitude. December brings me deep into Northern California wine making territory, and concludes with a long slog of elbow grease at the keyboard.

Find out about publication dates for pending features here later. In the meantime, feel free to follow along live throughout the tour:

 Instagram +Twitter: @binnotes.

Always a treat to hear your comments – thanks for leaving them below.

Cheers!

 

Copyrighted 2017 L.M. Archer | binNotes. 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 Wines and Vines Magazine: Technical Spotlight on Lingua Franca

Lingua Franca: Willamette Valley winery builds a state-of-the-art, quake-resistant production facility  

by L.M. Archer 

Lingua Franca Winery in the Willamette Valley produces premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

When the 2014 South Napa earthquake subsided, wine consultant and master sommelier Larry Stone surveilled the wreckage of his Napa home and thought, “Wherever I work next, it’s gonna be earthquake-proof.” Read more hereCopyright © Wines & Vines

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. All Rights Reserved

 

 

Burgundy’s Overlooked ‘Other’ White Wine

Burgundy’s Overlooked ‘Other’ White Wine

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

My instructor at BIVB once described Chardonnay as the drama-free, fair-haired child that gets along with everyone. But every family has at least one problem child passed over in lieu of a more popular one.

In Burgundy, it’s Aligoté, Burgundy’s ‘other’ white varietal, a more angular version of sibling Chardonnay. A thin-skinned, rather tart white grape grown in Burgundy, styles vary from unctuous to austere.

While Chardonnay dazzles wine lovers from Chablis to the Mâconnais, Aligoté resides primarily in the Côte Chalonnaise village of Bouzeron. Notably, the village grows the superior Aligoté Doré varietal, rather than the lesser clone, Aligoté Vert.

This does not mean that other areas of Burgundy do not cultivate Aligoté. Pockets of producers include Alice + Olivier de Moor of St. Bris in Chablis, Domaine Naudin-Ferrand of Magny-les-Villers, which straddles Hautes Côtes de Beaune and Hautes Côtes de Nuits, and Domaine Ponsot, Burgundy’s only Premier Cru Aligoté from Monts Luisants in Morey-Saint-Denis. I’ve also discovered some fuller, more luxurious Aligotés produced in Meursault.

One must admire Aligoté’s perseverance. Despite relegation to blending, segregation to Burgundy’s Bouzeron, and integration into the Kir Royale, Aligoté endures, and may yet prevail. With global warming on the rise, interest in this early-ripening grape increases across the wine region. (S)he who laughs last, may indeed laugh best.

A. & P. de Villaine counts at the top of Bouzeron’s Aligoté producers, today’s featured wine. If the name sounds familiar, the ‘A’ in A. & P. de Villaine stands for Aubert de Villaine of fabled Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Cote d’Or; his nephew Pierre de Benoist directs the domaine.

Tasting Notes

Wine: Domaine A. et P. de Villaine Bouzeron Aligoté

Vintage:  2014

Alcohol: 12.5%

Price: $32

Spec  (Note: Thanks to Soif Wine and Bar in Santa Cruz for stocking this wine.)

Robe:  Clear, pale gold hue.

Nez:    Discrete notes of mustard blossom, lemon, fleurs blanches.

Bouche:  Tart lemon zest, bright minerality; dry, light-bodied, vivacious.

I’ve chosen to pair this wine with a traditional recipe for gougères (cheese puff pastries) featured in the authentic French cookbook “Recipes from the Châteaux of Burgundy” by Gilles and Bleuzen du Pontavice, with photos by Claude Herlédan.

“Aunt Thérèse’s gourgères,” pg. 61

“50 cl. milk, 5 g. salt, 125 g. butter. Bring these ingredients to the boil. Remove from the heat and add 250 g. of flour. Stir for a minute over the heat to dry out the pastry. Remove from the heat and add eight (8) eggs, two by two, followed by 125 g of diced gruyere. Put into a greased ring-shaped baking tin or in small heaps onto a greased baking sheet. Bake in a hot oven.”

The recipe omits oven temperature ( Try 450 F.)

Good luck improvising with your own cheese variations – part of the charm of using these old recipes.

 June 17th 2017

concludes my guest hosting of 

The French #Winophiles 

A Virtual Tour of Burgundy, Part 2: Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconnais & Beaujolais.

 Here’s the Tour Guide for Part 2:

Jeff Burrows of FoodWineClick serves up “Salmon and Morels with the Domaine Wines of Louis Max.

Jill Barth of L’Occasion shares “Historic Vineyards of Mâcon.”

Michelle Williams of Rockin Red Blog regales us with: A Journey Through Burgundy Part 2, Exploring Mâconnais with #Winophiles.

Gwendolyn Lawrence Alley of Wine Predator takes on: “Bourgogne with Beef Bourguignon from an Instant Pot.”

Lynn Gowdy of Savor the Harvest steers us through “Navigating Southern Burgundy: Mâconnaise and Beaujolais.

Jane Niemeyer of Always Ravenous explores Discovering Rully Chardonnay + Bouzeron Aligoté in Burgundy’s Côte Chalonnaise.”

Nicole Ruiz Hudson of Somm’s Table schools us with “Cooking to the Wine: Jean-Marc Brocard Sainte Claire Chablis with Clam and Burrata Pizza.”

Wendy Klik of A Day in the Life on the Farm dips her toe in “Provence meets Burgundy.

Lauren Walsh of The Swirling Dervish swirls up Mercurey Rising: Pinot Noir from Burgundy’s Côte Chalonnaise.”

Link to the Virtual Tour of Burgundy, Part 1

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

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

A Tour of Burgundy, Part 1 | Not to Late to Join Us May 20th!

Have a Thirst for Burgundy?

It’s not too late to join The French Winophiles for a Virtual Tour of Burgundy on May 20th 2017 at 10 a CST!

For those unfamiliar with the program, The #Winophiles are a group of wine writers and bloggers that love French wine. Each month we focus on an area or aspect of French wine, with topics ranging from regions, routes, food, travel, and history, to profiles and tastings…we expand widely and seek to learn.

Burgundy is the focus of the May and June 2017 #Winophile program.

Please join us May 20th as we taste through Chablis and the fabled Cote d’Or from 10-11 a CST via Twitter using hashtag: #Winophile.

Here’s our May 20th Burgundy Tour Guide for your perusal:

Jeff Burrows of foodwineclick lures us to “Northern Burgundy Served Up With Rabbit.”

Jill Barth of L’Occasion schools us on “Thomas Jefferson in Burgundy.”

Michelle Williams of Rockin Red Blog tipples towards “A Journey Through Burgundy, Part 1 Chablis and Côte d’Or.”

Lynn Gowdy of Savor the Harvest hosts “Saint-Aubin in Burgundy Invites You To Dine.”

Martin Redmond of Enofylz Wine Blog  throws down “Back to Back White Burgundy: Chablis vs. Côte” d’Or.”

Gwendolyn Lawrence Alley of Art Predator serves up  “Chablis and the Sea.”

L.M. Archer of binnotes mulls over “Burgundy: Wines of Intention.”

…and Jane Niemeyer of Always Ravenous ladles up “White Burgundy paired with Corn Soup.”

 

 

See you on Twitter this Saturday morning, May 20th  at 10:00am central (time conversion here). Your invitation is the hashtag #Winophiles. 

And don’t forget….#ChardonnayDay is May 25th. Here’s a link to the press release.

Santé!

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