The Hedonistic Taster | № 29 | Cloudy Bay – New Zealand

The Hedonistic Taster |  № 29 | Cloudy Bay – New Zealand

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

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

Today’s Tasting: Cloudy Bay – New Zealand

In 1985, pioneer David Hohnen founded Cloudy Bay in Marlborough, New Zealand. One of the first wineries established in that remote wine region, Cloudy Bay  derives its name from the region’s body of water so named by the explorer Captain Cook for its hazy sedimentary floodwaters flushed bayside.

In 2003, opulent lifestyle group LVMH purchased Cloudy Bay, subsequently ensconcing winemaker Tim Heath and viticulturist Jim White. The winery offers luxury premium wines sourced from exceptional single vineyard sites, as well as high value and quality regional blends.

These samples represent both entry and luxury level wines.

Wine: Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 

Vintage:  2015

Alcohol:  13.5%

Suggested Retail:  $30

Producer Specs:  Marlborough Pinot Noir
“The Pinot Noir fruit was entirely handpicked and de-stemmed before being gravity fed into the fermentation vessels. 13% of the fermentation was comprised of whole bunches. The fermentations utilised natural occuring yeast populations under carefully monitored conditions. The grape skins were gently plunged with an average of 18 days skin contact. After fermentation the wines were matured in French oak for 12 months, of which 35% was new.”

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Medium opaque garnet robe.

Nose:  Graphite, roses, red cherry on the nose.

Palate: Blueberry, damson plum, persimmon bouche. Light body, medium acids, tannins, finish.

Suggested Pairings:  A versatile pour that pairs well with soft cheeses, charcuterie, and savories.

Rating: 90. Superb entry-level introduction to New Zealand pinot noir.

Wine:   Cloudy Bay Te Wahi Pinot Noir

Vintage: 2014

Alcohol:  14%

Suggested Retail:  $74

Producer Specs: “Selected vineyards in the Bannockburn, Bendigo and Lowburn subregions of the Cromwell bassin. The first vintage born from the alliance of our two owned- vineyards – Calvert and Northburn.

90% of the fruit was de-stemmed. Before fermentation in stainless steel the fruit was cold-soaked for 5 days . Wild yeast fermentation took between 2-3 weeks. The wines were hand plunged between 1-4 times daily. After fermentation, batches were lightly pressed and racked to barrel with 14 months aging in French oak of which 40% was new. Racked before bottling and lightly fined with egg white.”

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Medium dark, plummy garnet robe.

Nose:  Dark plum, black cherry aromas, with a hint of spice.

Palate: Through-line of dark plum, black cherry, and blackberry on the bouche; medium light body, lyrical acids and tannins, plush finish.  Opulent brilliance.

Suggested Pairings:  A well-structured wine worthy of venison or richly truffled pasta.

Rating: 93

Learn more about Cloudy Bay Winery here.

Cloudy Bay | 230 Jacksons Rd, Blenheim 7240, New Zealand

More of The Hedonistic Taster here.

 

Always nice to hear from you, dear readers!  Please feel free to leave your comments below and on social media – cheers!

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

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.

 

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.

Wine Industry Insight: Taking it Slow in Central Otago, Parts 1 + 2

Wine Industry Insight: Taking it Slow in Central Otago, Parts 1 + 2

Always a thrill when Wine Industry Insight features one’s work!

My latest Palate Press series on Central Otago in their “Down Under” section:

Wine Industry Insight | Down Under| Taking it Slow in Central Otago, Part 1 link here.

Wine Industry Insight | Down Under| Taking it Slow in Central Otago, Part 2 link here.

Have a great weekend, all!

I want to hear from you! Please leave your comments below,  and be sure to follow me on social media to get the latest on Affordable Burgundy + beyond…cheers!

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

My Latest in Palate Press: Taking it Slow in Central Otago (Part 2)

Taking it Slow in Central Otago (Part 2)

by L.M. Archer

This is PART TWO of L.M. Archer’s exploration of Central Otago. Before continuing, read part one.

Individuation: Fruit vs. Site

Forsyth sees a decided march towards individuation throughout Central Otago’s vineyards. “So now, thirty years later, we’re at the stage where we can see better producers concentrating on individual vineyards, husbandry, organics,” he offers. “There’s a massive divergence away from what people expect the New Zealand style to be, which is bright fruit. It’s all about fruit here, which is the best part — and the worst part.

“Now that just becomes a background for the palette of wines, I think, and the individual styles develop. We’re seeing more restraint, more elegance. The next thing after that is transparency, which then is not about fruit, but phenolics. Read more here.

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

My Latest in Palate Press: Taking it Slow in Central Otago (Part 1)

Taking it Slow in Central Otago (Part 1)

by L.M. Archer

 

Challenged by climate change, lack of available land and rising production costs, some of Burgundy’s top producers have established wineries in Oregon. But the more adventuresome are now flying much further afield — to New Zealand’s Central Otago.

Located on the 45 parallel in the Southern Hemisphere, Central Otago is one of the world’s southernmost viticultural areas. The region’s rugged terrain, steep river gorges, continental climate and extreme diurnal shifts prove the ideal crucible for creating exceptional Pinot Noir. Read more here.

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

The Hedonistic Taster Celebrates the Solar Eclipse | № 27 | Brooks Winery | Willamette Valley

The Hedonistic Taster |  № 27 | Brooks Winery – Willamette Valley, OR

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.

Santé

Hey! Did you know that the path of the total solar eclipse on August 21st 2017 passes over Brooks Winery?

Today’s Tasting: Brooks Winery – Willamette Valley, OR. 

Much has been written about the history of Brooks Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley – about its founder Jimi Brooks, about his untimely passing in September 2004 at the age of 38 to an aortic aneurism, and about the remarkable banding together of community to complete his unfinished harvest that year.

Much, too, has been written about the legacy of Brooks Winery – about Jimi’s son Pascal, just eight when his father passed, about Pascal’s future, and about that of the winery. A film, American Wine Story,  even chronicles the story.

Much less has been written about Jimi’s sister Janie Brooks Heuck – about her assumption as Business Manager of Brooks Winery upon Jimi’s passing, about her active role helping raise nephew Pascal, about her tireless efforts burnishing the Brooks Winery brand, achieving Demeter biodynamic certification, expanding the vineyard holdings, all while residing full-time in Pebble Beach, CA. with her husband and family.

These tasting notes derive from a private tasting conducted by Janie Brooks Heuck at The Bench at Pebble Beach with myself and Suzanne Kendrick of New Zealand’s Wine-searcher.com.

A gracious host, Brooks Heuck put us through our paces with three whites and three Pinot Noirs, all creations of long-time Brooks Winery artisan winemaker Chris Williams. These wines echo with the soul of Beaujolais-trained Jim Brooks in their elegance and refinement, but they also capture the unfettered, utterly authentic spirit of the Willamette Valley. The seaside scenery only enhanced these pours.

Wine: Brooks Winery Riesling – Willamette Valley, OR.

Vintage: 2015

Alcohol:  12.5%

Suggested Retail:  $18

Specs

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Light straw robe.

Nose:  Honeysuckle, stone fruit, slight mineral nose.

Palate: Acacia, citrus zest bouche with mineral core; acid plus, medium body and finish. Seamlessly structured, eminently quaffable.

Suggested Pairings:  A wine of freshness and linearity worth pondering sans food and without interruptions.

Rating: 94

Wine:   Brooks Winery Pinot Blanc – Willamette Valley, OR.

Vintage:  2016

Alcohol:   13%

Suggested Retail:  $20

Specs

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Pale lemon robe.

Nose:  Fleurs blanches, almond, citrus notes.

Palate: Light body, slight residual sugar on the palate, soft finish.

Suggested Pairings: A wisp of a wine to savor as an apéritif with small savory bites.

Rating: 92

 

Brooks Winery 2016 Amycas White Blend, Willamette Valley, OR.

Wine:   Brooks Winery Amycas White Wine – Willamette Valley, OR.

Vintage:  2016

Alcohol:  13.5%

Suggested Retail:  $20

Specs

TASTING NOTES:  

Robe:  Light lemon robe.

Nose:   Ginger, citrus, hint of honeysuckle on the nose.

Palate: Lemon zest, tropical fruit.  Light body with a bit of unctuousness, lingering finish.

Suggested Pairings:   The ginger notes beg for Asian or Indonesian fare.

Rating:  90

Brooks Winery 2014 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.©L.M. Archer

Wine:  Brooks Winery Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Vintage:  2014

Alcohol:  13%

Suggested Retail:  $28

Specs

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Clear garnet robe.

Nose:  Persimmon, high-toned red fruit, slight herbal backnote.

Palate:  Red currant, red raspberry bouche; light body, balanced acids and tannins, medium finish. Reminiscent of a Bourgogne rouge. Exceptional quality for the price.

Suggested Pairings:  

Rating: 95

Brooks Winery 2014 La Chenaie Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR.

Wine: Brooks Winery La Chenaie Pinot Noir

Vintage:  2014

Alcohol:  13.2%

Suggested Retail:  $48

Specs

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Clear ruby robe.

Nose:  Blackberry, red raspberry, loam, basalt.

Palate:  Black and red fruits carry through on the mouth, as does a rugged plumb line of flinty basalt. Acids and tannins plus, but round out over time; medium body, medium long finish.

Suggested Pairings:  A wine weighty enough to serve with roasted pork loin or rack of lamb.

Rating:  94

Brooks Winery 2014 Rastaban Pinot Noir –
Willamette Valley, OR.

Wine:   Brooks Winery Rastaban Brooks Estate Pinot Noir

Vintage:  2014

Alcohol:   13.2%

Suggested Retail:  $60

Specs

TASTING NOTES:

Robe:  Clear ruby robe.

Nose:   Bramble berry, dark raspberry, loam on the nose.

Palate:  A brooding, Heathcliff-on-the-moors type of wine with a dark black fruit, herbaceous bouche and textured mineral core; acids and tannins plus, medium body, full finish.

Suggested Pairings: A wine intense enough to roundhouse through the thickest Prime rib.

Rating: 94

Learn more about Brooks Winery here.

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.