The Hedonistic Taster | ‚ĄĖ 23 | Graham Beck M√©thode Cap Classique | South Africa

The Hedonistic Taster¬†| ¬†‚ĄĖ¬†23 | Graham Beck M√©thode Cap Classique | South Africa

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne MLTastevin

‚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.


Today’s Tasting:

Graham Beck Méthode Cap Classique | South Africa

This tasting marks the first in my focus on ¬†Affordable Burgundy + Beyond.¬†Here, I taste through a bit of ‘beyond’ – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay-based bubbles from South Africa.


If Champagne has a soul sister, it may be M√©thode Cap Classique. Specific to South Africa, Cap Classique employs the same ‚Äútraditional method‚ÄĚ used to make Champagne, whereby the second fermentation occurs in bottle.

A key figure behind establishing South Africa‚Äôs M√©thode Cap Classique sparkling wine is Pieter ‚ÄúBubbles‚ÄĚ Ferreira, cellarmaster at Graham Beck Wines in Robertson. Champagne-trained, South African inspired, Ferreira favors an elegant, crisp ‘house style’ that compliments the region’s diverse cuisine.

These tastings notes compliment a recent Skype interview I conducted with Pieter Ferreira hosted by Wines of South Africa. Please look for the forthcoming interview here later this summer.

Authors Note: I was delightfully surprised to meet Pieter at IPNC this past weekend, and can vouch that he is every bit as effervescent as his wines. 

Wine: Graham Beck Brut Méthode Cap Classique Sparkling Wine (51% Chardonnay, 49% Pinot Noir)

Vintage: N/V

Alcohol:  12 %

Suggested Retail:  $17



Robe:  Clear gold robe, pinpoint beading, effusive nuclei, diffuse mousse.

Nose: ¬†Beautiful¬†‘eau de boulangerie’ notes of ¬†brioche, toast, yeast.

Palate: Clean citrus, amber, toasty bouche; medium finish.

Suggested Pairings: A better question to ask is what not to pair this wine with? The perfect apéritif, amuse-bouche, seafood sidekick, or all-around scene stealer for any occasion.

Score: 94

Wine: Graham Beck Brut Rosé (55% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay)

Vintage: N/V

Alcohol:  12.5%

Suggested Retail: $17



Robe: Clear coral robe, vibrant beading, diaphanous mousse.

Nose:  An intoxicating admix of salt-air, fynbos, red fruit nose.

Palate: Alluring red raspberry bouche with hints of almond and brioche, combined with a surprising, and delightful, herbaceous backnote.

Suggested Pairings:  A joyful elixir. Pairs well with life.Absolutely fave stunning rosé sparkling wine, hands down, for the price point and quality.

Score: 95

Learn more about Graham Beck Wines here.

More of The Hedonistic Taster here.


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

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


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

Burgundy’s Unforgettable 2016 Vintage

Burgundy’s Unforgettable 2016 Vintage

Dear Friends:

As Burgundy prepares  for its annual post-harvest celebration Les Trois Glorieuses this weekend, I wanted to share with you this beautiful film about the 2016 vintage, produced by BIVB.

In it, Burgundy’s regional vignerons recount the unforgettable 2016 vintage, a vintage of¬†devastating frost and hail damage, yet surprisingly yields, and promising wines of elegance and balance.

Please enjoy and feel free to share your thoughts below.


All images courtesy BIVB.

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



Guest Wine Writer Series| ‚ĄĖ 3 |Erika Szymanski on New Zealand Chardonnay

Guest Wine Writer Series| ‚ĄĖ 3  |Erika Szymanski on New Zealand Chardonnay

Welcome to binNotes | red thread‚ĄĘ

Inspired stories about wine and taste makers.

By L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

Each first Friday of every month through 2016, I‚Äôve invited some of my fellow wine writers the opportunity to join me here on binNotes | red thread‚ĄĘ to share a feature on some rare, obscure, or under-appreciated wine region for which they feel a special passion.

I hope you enjoy their stories as much as I do.


Guest Writer Series¬†| ‚ĄĖ 3| ¬†Erika Szymanski on ‘The Joyful Paradox of Non-Icon Wines and New Zealand Chardonnay’

This month I turn the page over to¬†Erika Szymanski, academic researcher at University of Edinburgh, writer, graduate student in science communication with a focus on wine and the wine industry at the University of Otaga, and author of The Wineoscope, a site about¬†‘Wine science, wine rhetoric, and other geekery.’

Today, Erika shares the joyful paradox of non-icon wines and New Zealand chardonnay…cheers!

“Everyone makes chardonnay. Chardonnay is therefore ubiquitous and boring. Everyone makes chardonnay. Chardonnay is therefore endlessly diverse and interesting. If you like chardonnay, you‚Äôre never going to run out of wines to try, and with just a little effort they‚Äôre all (okay; mostly all) going to taste different.¬†Read more…

Story and photos reprinted by permission of the author, Erika Szymanski.

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

TGLF | Chardonnay Day Burgundy

TGLF | Chardonnay Day Burgundy


binNotes | a food, wine & travel blog

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

The Good Life France | Chardonnay Day Burgundy

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 My most recent contribution to The Good Life France:

Did you know that May 21st is Chardonnay Day in the Bourgogne (Burgundy)? Now an international event, Chardonnay Day celebrates all things Chardonnay. And while the event got its start six years ago via social media in California, the history of the Chardonnay varietal starts in the Burgundy wine region. Read more

Care to share? Feel free to leave your comments below. 

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Copyrighted binNotes 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Burgundy’s Alternative Wine Auction | Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges

Burgundy’s Alternative Wine Auction  | Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges

 binNotes | a wine blog

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

Burgundy’s Alternative Wine Auction  | Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges

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In the shadow of Burgundy’s mega-watt Hospices de Beaune lies an alternative wine auction Рthe annual Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges.

Held each March, the Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges makes up for in attitude what it lacks in media attention. This year, the 54th Annual Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges takes place March 14th & 15th, 2015. Activities include a fitness-friendly semi-marathon, luxury chocolate festival, exclusive tastings and dinners, and a wine auction at Ch√Ęteau du Clos de Vougeot. Proceeds benefit Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges and the ELA Foundation.

Every year, wine aficionados travel from throughout France, Europe and the United States to the Cote d‚ÄôOr for a chance to wave their paddles over more than 100 barrels of premier and villages cuv√©es. While most proceeds fund the hospital, one barrel benefits a designated charity. Bidders employ the expertise of local negotiants to steward them through the process, from tasting, to auction, to √©levage¬† the ‚Äėraising up of the wine‚Äô to final aging, bottling, unique auction labeling and shipping.

Each barrel roughly equals three hundred bottles, or approximately twenty-five cases of wine, important facts to consider when working out the logistics for final delivery of the finished wine. 

Founded in 1270 by the sisters if Hotel-Dieu in Beaune, Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges moved to its current site in 1633; remnants of the original structure remain. Originally built to care for lepers, over the years the hospital expanded to aid soldiers, respiratory patients and others in need. Currently, the 132-bed public health facility caters primarily to the elderly.

Throughout its benevolent history, grateful locals have donated to the Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges. The estate today comprises 12.4 hectares, including choice parcels from within the wine communes of Nuits-Saint-Georges, Primeaux-Prissey, Vosne-Romanée, and Gevrey-Chambertin. Planted mostly to pinot noir, the estate does include a few acres of chardonnay used to craft a small amount of premier cru white.

Moreover, the addition of an updated cuverie in 2002 ensures enhanced productivity methods and increased quality levels.

It’s no secret that as the price of Burgundy soars, more and more wine collectors consider Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges an attractive alternative to the pricier Hospices de Beaune wine auction. All the more reason to enjoy the fun Рand wine Рwhile Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges remains relatively obscure!

For more information:

The 54th Hospices Nuits-Saint-Georges wine auction happens March 14-15, 2015.

Care to share? Feel free to leave your comments below.

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Copyrighted binNotes 2015. All Rights Reserved.  All images courtesy Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges.

TGLF | Saint Vincent Tournante Wine Festival

TGLF | Saint Vincent Tournante Wine Festival

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

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

 binNotes latest feature in The Good Life France is out!

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Greeting, dear readers! You can read my latest feature on Burgundy’s St. Vincent Tournant in The Good Life France here.

Care to share? Feel free to leave your comments below…Sant√©!

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Copyrighted 2012-2015. All Rights Reserved. |  Images: Courtesy St. Vincente Tournante

SVT | Burgundy’s OTHER Famous Wine Festival

SVT | Burgundy’s OTHER Famous Wine Festival

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

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

“Jamais en vain, toujours en vin.” (“Never in vain, always in wine.’)
-Motto of Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin

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You may know¬†about Burgundy’s annual Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction held each November. Maybe¬†even about the entire Trois Glorieuses, of which the auction is a part.¬†But did you know about¬†Burgundy’s OTHER¬†famous wine festival – the¬†St. Vincent Tournante?

Celebrated in late January each year, the festival honors the January 22nd feast day of St. Vincent, patron saint of wine.

Originally organized¬†by¬†medieval wine guilds¬†under the Church’s aegis,¬†the event eventually fell into obscurity. However, during the 1930’s, the¬†Confr√©rie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, or Brotherhood of the Knights of the Tastevin,¬†revived the festival as a means of attracting¬†attention to Burgundy¬†and its wines.

It worked. Today, the event draws thousands of visitors to a carefully choreographed collaboration between the Confrérie, the Church, and local winemaking mutual aid societies. These brotherhoods offer assistance to local vignerons in times of need.

St. Vincent Tournante¬†‘revolves’ from village to village each year. While the hosting town varies, the ritual remains fixed: a sunrise procession led by the Confr√©rie des Chevaliers du¬†Tastevin, each brotherhood carrying banners and carved effigies¬†to the Graves of the Fallen (originally honoring those fallen in¬†World War I), then on to Mass, followed by a roast pig dinner¬†and¬†ceremony.

In 2015, Gilly-les-Citeaux | Vouget hosts¬†‘The Way of the Monks’ St. Vincent Tournante, marking¬†900 years of Cistercian wine making tradition in Burgundy¬†with a walk from the castle of Gilly-les-Citeaux to the Cistercian Abbey of Clos de Vougeot.

Burgundy¬†owes much to¬†these industrious holy men.¬†The¬†monks considered wine making a spiritual¬†endeavor, seeking to reveal God’s voice through soil, fruit, and wine – deeming pinot noir the most expressive conduit.

The Cistercians¬†not only cleared the lands of Clos de Vougeot and other areas¬†in Burgundy, but also tended the vineyards, erected stone fences (clos), and¬†maintained meticulous records. Their¬†records proved¬†the bedrock to¬†Burgundy’s codification of lieu¬†dits¬†and¬†climats, as well as the inspiration for the more¬†intangible concept of ¬†terroir.

It’s no miracle that the monks of Clos de Vougeot turned Burgundy’s limestone into sublime wines.¬†Passion, hard work, and a desire to give voice to the land – these traditions continue today. ¬†St. Vincent Tournante offers a¬†rare¬†opportunity¬†to share in this unique spirit of Burgundy.


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Copyrighted 2012-2015. All Rights Reserved. |  Images: Courtesy St. Vincente Tournante