Takeaways: 2018 Oregon Wine Symposium + Oregon Chardonnay Celebration

I’m just back from Oregon, where I attended the 2018 Oregon Wine Symposium in Portland, and Oregon Chardonnay Celebration at the Willamette Valley.

I wanted to take time away from my professional assignment deadlines to share with you some takeaways from both events.

2018 Oregon Wine Symposium

This annual trade event, organized by the Oregon Wine Board, offers Oregon wine industry professionals an opportunity to “Learn. Connect. Grow.”

Date+ Venue: Oregon Convention Center in Portland on February 20 & 21, 2018.


  • Business is Booming: The Oregon wine industry leads other states in economic growth. Economic impact rose to $5.76 billion in 2016, representing a 72% increase since the last study prepared by Full Glass Research for the Oregon Wine Board in 2013.
  • Regional Value: It’s good to be Oregon pinot noir. But it’s even better to be Willamette Valley pinot noir. Look for a move towards ‘Willamette Valley’ conjunctive labeling¬†on sub-appellation wines¬† (similar to Sonoma’s ‘Sonoma County’ labels on every bottle of wine made in Sonoma County), a move to ensure regional quality and aggregate value.
  • Nested AVA’s:¬†Oregon still awaits consideration by TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau)¬†of four AVA’s: Laurelwood (within Chehalem Mountain AVA), Mount Pisgah in Polk County, Tualatin Hills (adjacent Chehalem Mountain AVA and proposed Laurelwood AVA), and Van Duzer Corridor. While considered ‘nested AVA’s,’ (smaller AVA’s located within larger ones), these AVA’s must each exhibit what the TTB refers to as “distinguishing viticultural features,” such as soil, climate, elevation, geology, or physical features. No date yet for approval, but similar applications in California took more than seven years.

2018 Oregon Chardonnay Celebration:

Six amazing wine makers took the stage to talk chardonnay with a sold-out audience moderated by Patrick Comisky of Wines & Spirits Magazine.

Date + Venue:  Allison Inn and Spa in Newberg, Oregon on Saturday, February 24, 2018.

Monikered “The Style Council,” panel members included Josh Bergstrom of Bergstrom Wines, Jason Lett of The Eyrie Vineyards, Anna Matziner of Matzinger Davies Wine Company, John Paul of Cameron, Wynne Peterson-Nedry of CHEHALEM, and Thomas Savre of Lingua Franca.


  • Intentionality:¬†What makes Oregon chardonnay unique? No one’s producing it to make money. Instead, Oregon wine makers chase an ephemeral ‘holy grail’ of taste, texture, and terroir not unlike their quest for pinot noir.
  • Experimentation: Oregon wine makers are willing to try new things, make mistakes, and think outside the box in order to create wines of regional purity and expression.
  • Collaboration: Thomas Savre of Lingua Franca sums it up best, “You don’t learn anything if you don’t share.”¬† This includes clonal material, farming practices, production methods, and philosophies.

The conference pulsed with excitement as these winemakers parried with one another. The forty wines selected for pouring at the Grand Tasting afterwards weren’t bad either.

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

True North | Oregon Bound

On the road again…in search of Burgundy, bubbles, and beyond…

This week I head north to Oregon for the Oregon Wine Symposium in Portland before wending my way to the Willamette Valley for a little vineyard tromping, then on to the Oregon Chardonnay Celebration at the Allison Inn & Spa.

You can follow the action via Instagram @binnotes.

And yes…do please continue to watch this space for links to my forthcoming professional features in Oregon Wine Press, Meininger Wine Business International, and South Bay Accent Magazine, as well as my exclusive interview with Hospices de Beaune’s Ludivine Griveau in the upcoming issue of basil + salt Magazine.

Per usual,¬† while I no longer post non-professional features on this site, I do continue to tipple through trade samples in The Hedonistic Taster for all you food and wine aficionados looking for unpretentious, concise tasting notes to help you muddle through the wine maze…

Thanks – look forward to hearing your comments. Cheers!

Copyrighted 2018. binNotes | L.M. Archer | All Rights Reserved.


Apr√®s SIP! Classic 2018: Judgement of McMinnville

Dear Readers:

I’m still on the road, but wanted to share some images from the¬†SIP! Classic 2018 wine competition I helped judge in McMinnville, OR. on January 20th, 2018.

This highly popular food and wine extravaganza takes place April 9,10, & 11th at Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.

Personal fave: The once-in-a-lifetime after-party at Joel Palmer House in Dayton. Hosts Chris and Mary Czarnecki opened their kitchen, cellar and hearts to SIP! Classic wine competition judges and volunteers with staggering generosity of spirit. Much mushrooms and Oregon pinots served, and even more memories made.

So honored to participate!

Learn more about SIP! McMinnville here.

Copyrighted 2018. binNotes | redThread‚ĄĘ. All Rights Reserved.

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:

  • V√©ronique Boss-Drouhin of Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Roserock Drouhin Oregon and Maison Joseph Drouhin.
  • Jacques Lardi√®re¬†of R√©sonance and Maison Louis Jadot.
  • Dominique Lafon of Lingua Franca and Domaine des Comtes Lafon.
  • Jean-Nicolas M√©o of Domaine Nicolas-Jay and Domaine M√©o-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 √Čtienne 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 c√©pages (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 V√©ronique 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 exclusive,¬†invitation-only preview of¬†¬†Three Days of Glory¬†at Beaune’s Les Ateliers du CineŐĀma,¬†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-C√ītes 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‚ĄĘ. All Rights Reserved.

The Hedonistic Taster¬†| ¬†‚ĄĖ¬†33 |¬†Left Coast Cellars ‚Äď Willamette Valley, OR.

The Hedonistic Taster¬†| ¬†‚ĄĖ¬†33 |¬†Left Coast Cellars ‚Äď Willamette Valley, OR.

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


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

Today‚Äôs Tasting:¬† Left Coast Cellars –¬† Willamette Valley Oregon

Left Coast Cellars’ Willamette Valley¬†estate sits atop the Van Duzer Corridor, nearly 150 acres of its 350 acres planted to vines upon a steep natural amphitheater overlooking an expansive meadow¬† and spring-fed lake. Diverse microclimates and soil types inform the wines produced here.

Left Coast Cellars Latitude 45¬ļ 2015 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley Estate.

Wine:¬†Left Coast Cellars Latitude 45¬ļ Pinot Noir ‚Äď Willamette Valley Estate

Vintage: 2015

Alcohol:  13.8%

Suggested Retail: $38

Link to Producer Specs. 


Robe:  Deep ruby robe.

Nose:  Cranberry, red currant, raspberry notes.

Palate: Fat red fruit on the bouche; medium-light body, uncomplicated mid-palate, finish.

Suggested Pairings: For those who appreciate a more fruit-forward pinot noir. Per the winemaker, best paired with braised meats and root vegetables.

Rating: 89

Left Coast Cellars | 4225 N. Pacific Hwy 99W | Rickreall, OR 97371 


Link here for more on Left Coast Cellars.

Link here for more Hedonistic Taster.

Always great to hear from you in the comments below, and on social media.


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

The Hedonistic Taster | ‚ĄĖ 32 | Chapter 24 Vineyards, Willamette Valley, OR.

The Hedonistic Taster¬†| ¬†‚ĄĖ¬†32 |¬†Chapter 24 Vineyards ‚Äď Willamette Valley, OR.

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


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

Today’s Tasting:  Chapter 24 Vineyards | Willamette Valley, OR.

The story of Chapter 24 Vineyards is a story about coming full circle, a story that begins and¬†ends in Oregon’s bucolic Willamette Valley, but at its heart straddles France and Chile.

A cross-continental collaboration featuring Burgundian consulting winemaker Comte Louis-Michel Liger-Belair of Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair in Vosne-Roman√©e, Chilean winemaker Felipe Ramirez, and film and TV producer-turned wine impresario Mark Tarlov, the project centers around producing small-lot, ultra-premium pinot noir that reflect a distinctive ‘sense of place,’ or terroir.

Much like a fingerprint, each ‘block’ or site contains its own sensorial imprint discernible through meticulously calibrated mapping devised by international terroir specialist Pedro Parra.

The name “Chapter 24”¬† refers to Homer’s final chapter of his epic “The Odyssey.”¬† The wine’s name “The Fire” Pinot Noir nods to Willamette Valley’s volcanic basalt soil, while the wine label contains a rose and arrow, symbols of “The Odyssey’s” catalysts – women and war.

As Chapter 24 Vineyards advises “Our wines are for those of thinking age.” Indeed. Get your drinking caps on for this one.

The Fire 2015 Pinot Noir, Chapter 24 Vineyards, Willamette Valley, OR.

Wine:   The Fire Pinot Noir РWillamette Valley

Vintage: 2015

Alcohol:  13.5%

Suggested Retail: $60 (NOTE: Only 300 cases produced.)

Link to Producer Specs. 


Robe:  Luminous ruby robe.

Nose:  Dark cherry, floral, basalt.

Palate: Blackberry, black plum, black currant bouche, light body, tannins+, seamless structure, supple body, subtle textural thru-line, thoughtful finish.

Suggested Pairings: Fire, hot! Antonio Banderas in a bottle.

A smoldering, dark-lidded pour with an undercurrent of tensile dramatics, sparks may fly when paired with well-rested entrec√īte and roasted root vegetables.

Rating: 93


Link here to find out more about Chapter 24 Vineyards.

Chapter 24 Vineyards | 531 OR-99W, Dundee, OR 97115 | 503.487.6341 

By appointment only. 

Author’s Note:

In November,¬† I visited Comte Liger-Belair at his estate in Vosne-Roman√©e. His estate contains some of Burgundy’s most illustrious grand crus and climats, an estate also informed by the work of Pedro Parra. In a ‘full-circle’ story moment, tasting the wines of Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair book-ends a tasting I did last July at Chapter 24’s Witness Tree Vineyard with winemaker Felipe Ramirez while in town for IPNC. In both instances, a remarkable purity of expression carried through, reflective of site and vintage.

Look for more on my tour of Oregon vignerons’ Burgundian cellars in the February 2018 issue of Oregon Wine Press.

Link here to find out more about Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair.

Learn more about international terroir specialist Pedro Parra here.

Link here for more Hedonistic Taster.

Always great to hear from you in the comments below, and on social media.


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

The Hedonistic Taster | ‚ĄĖ 29 | Cloudy Bay – New Zealand

The Hedonistic Taster¬†| ¬†‚ĄĖ¬†29 | Cloudy Bay ‚Äď New Zealand

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML


‚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,¬†an intimate showcase of artisan winemaker trade¬†samples.¬†The title ‚ÄúHedonistic Taster‚Ä̬†derives from the term ‚Äėhedonistic tasting,‚Äô coined by legendary¬†Burgundian vigneron¬†Henri Jayer.

These tasting notes compliment ¬†binNotes | Affordable¬†Burgundy and beyond.‚ÄúBeyond‚ÄĚ includes existing and emerging producers of Pinot Noir worldwide.

Today’s Tasting: Cloudy Bay РNew 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.”


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.”


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 Рcheers!

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