The Hedonistic Taster | № 25 | Dynamic CA Duo: Bonterra + Conn Creek Winery

The Hedonistic Taster |  № 25 | Dynamic CA Duo:

Bonterra – Mendocino + Conn Creek Winery – Napa

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML


“Wine should not be regarded simply as a beverage, but as an art of living, a pleasure.” – Henri Jayer

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

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


Today’s Tasting:

Bonterra Organic Vineyards  | Mendocino, CA. +

Conn Creek Winery | Napa, CA.

This Hedonistic Taster focuses on a pair of California rosé wines featured in a summer virtual tasting hosted by #wineStudio, an online wine community to which I belong.

Bonterra Organic Vineyards’ 2016 Rosé, crafted from certified organically grown grapes, hails from Mendocino County in Northern California.

Conn Creek Winery 2016 Rosé saddles up from Napa Valley, along the historic Silverado Trail.

Both small lot, high quality wines favor low alcohol and vivid freshness. Enjoy!

Wine: Bonterra Organic Vineyards Rosé

Vintage: 2016

Alcohol:  12.9%

Suggested Retail:  SOLD OUT.



Robe:  Pale rose petal hue.

Nose:  An intoxicating mélange of watermelon, pear, nectarine notes on the nose.

Palate: Stone fruit and melon flavor profiles continues through on the palate. Light body, finish. A poised, refreshing pour.

Suggested Pairings:  Lovely with fresh melon and ultra-thin slices of aged prosciutto.

Rating:  90


Wine: Conn Creek Winery Small Lot Rosé of Malbec | Atlas Peak – Napa Valley

Vintage: 2016

Alcohol:  12.5%

Suggested Retail:  $24

[NOTE: This is a small lot production – only 100 cases made.]



Robe:    Opulent copper-coral robe.

Nose:  Luxuriant aromas of apricot, orange zest, and a heady herbal backnote.

Palate:  Wow. A glorious homage to Provence-style rosé wine – beautifully balanced, well-structured, light-to-medium body, with grace, heft and texture.

Suggested Pairings: I want this wine at the ready in my cellar to surprise and amaze guests skeptical about the ‘seriousness’ of pink wine.

A sensually appealing, yet bro-worthy wine sturdy enough to pair with ribs, but delicate enough to compliment fish or salad. Yes, please.

Rating: 92


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

The Hedonistic Taster | № 7 | Angels & Cowboys

The Hedonistic Taster | № 7 | Angels & Cowboys

The Hedonistic Taster |  № 7

Angels & Cowboys 

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

“Wine should not be regarded simply as a beverage, but as an art of living, a pleasure.” – Henri Jayer

Welcome to The Hedonistic Taster, a binNotes | redThread™ trade sampling of artisan wines.

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

The Hedonistic Taster allows me the opportunity to introduce you to some gorgeous pours through this intimate tasting format.


Today’s Tasting:

Angels & Cowboys | Sonoma

Looking for wines a little naughty, but nice? Angels & Cowboys produces proprietary blends sourced from some of Sonoma’s most stunning vineyards.

The brainchild of seasoned Sonoma winemaker Dennis Hill and business partner Yoav Gilat, also co-founders of Cannonball Wine Company, Angels and Cowboys wines evince an authenticity that elicits an emotional response in wine enthusiasts seeking the sublime.

Learn more about Angels & Cowboys from my exclusive interview with Dennis Hill here. Cheers!


Wine:  Angels & Cowboys Sonoma County Rosé

Varietal(s): Blend of Grenache Rouge, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Grenache Blanc.

Vintage: 2015

Alcohol: 12.8 %

Suggested Retail: $14.99



Robe: Eye candy for any occasion. Classic Oeil de Perdrix (Eye of the Partridge) pale grayish-pink hue with a tinge of peche (peach.)

Nose: Delightfully diabolical notes of pink grapefruit, rhubarb and celery.

Palate: Light, bright quencher with hints of grapefruit and Pink Lady apple.

Suggested Pairings: Dress this little number up or down – from a full-on sit down formal affair (including Thanksgiving, for you uber-planners) of roast game, to July 4th backyard BBQ, plus everything in between, including Thai take-out!


Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.

redThread™ Exclusive | Pedroncelli Winery & Vineyards

redThread™ Exclusive | Pedroncelli Winery & Vineyards

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™

Inspired stories about artisan wine and taste makers.

by L.M. Archer FWS, Bourgogne ML

Today’s Exclusive Interview:

Pedroncelli Winery | Sonoma

I’ll never forget my first trip to Dry Creek Valley. Splayed out silently in the early morning mist like gnarled soldiers on a battlefield stretched acres of old vines, mostly Zinfandel. Like other powerful moments in life, this one merited my full attention. So this is what struggle looks like.

Some struggles produce the sweetest rewards. Pedroncelli Winery understands this. Nearly ninety years of arduous vine tending and meticulous wine making distill down into soulful drams reflective of this thoughtful family’s site.

Recently, Julie Pedroncelli St. John shared her story with me – a story about family, sense of place, sustainability, and devotion to The Mother Clone.


Learn more about Pedroncelli Winery’s Rosé of Zinfandel 

June 21, 2016 |  6-7 p PST

Protocol Wine Studio’s Sonoma Rose Revolution 


I’ll be joining the discussion @binNotes


Pedroncelli Winery celebrates almost ninety years and four generations of wine growing in Sonoma. Talk a bit about John Pedroncelli, Sr., the patriarch who purchased the first Pedroncelli vineyard in Dry Creek Valley in 1927, endured Prohibition, and witnessed his sons John Jr. and James purchase the winery in 1963. What do you think he would make of the third and fourth generations today, which include 70% women, plus a woman winemaker?

I think my grandfather would be gratified to know his winery continue to grow. Having women at the forefront would make him very proud – he and my grandmother worked very hard in the early years to develop their business.

Montse Reece is our winemaker, and my sisters Lisa, Cathy and Joanna work with me at the winery in various capacities.

Let’s talk terroir. Pedroncelli Winery stands out for its sense of place. Pedroncelli’s estate vineyards include old vine Zinfandel vineyards in Dry Creek Valley, benchland Cabernet Sauvignon,Cabernet Franc, and Merlot, east of benchland Zinfandel, west side Sangiovese and Petite Sirah, plus sourced east Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc and field blend port varietals, south Dry Creek Chardonnay, and Russian River Pinot Noir. Anything you care to share with readers about what makes these particular microclimate(s), varietal(s), and/or vineyard(s) so essential in reflecting the Pedroncelli Winery ‘voice?

I think how our voice developed over the years (89!) is that each of these varietals is site specific. For instance, one of our Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards (five acres on West Dry Creek Road) was first planted to Cabernet Sauvignon in 1965; we were the first in the valley to do this.

We gained a lot of wisdom over the fifty years it has been planted to this grape, replanting ten years ago to add Malbec. We planted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on estate vineyards, and they have given way to Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon as the ‘right’ varietal for the site. We now buy Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from growers in the southern/cooler end of Dry Creek Valley and solely buy Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley, where these grapes develop the best varietal characteristics.

Any favorite(s) site(s), vineyard(s), varietal(s)?

My favorite site is our Sangiovese vineyard because it was planted in the early 1990s and I have been able to follow the maturing of this vineyard and seeing how the wine has evolved from a very astringent version of the grape to a wine that shows fruit, acidity and balance.

Anything you’d like readers to know about the vineyards with whom you share long-term relationships?

Two of the vineyards stand out: Bushnell Vineyard has been in our family since my grandfather owned the land in the 1940s and sold to his daughter Margaret and husband Al Pedroni. Their daughter Carol and husband Jim now tend the twenty-two acres, and we buy all the fruit for our various wines.

Buchignani is another one although not family—Nivan (Buchignani) planted Zinfandel on West Dry Creek Road over fifty years ago and we have always included this old vine vineyard in our Mother Clone Zinfandel.

Pedroncelli Winery has long been ahead of the curve viticulturally, dedicating itself to sustainability long before Sonoma Wine Growers implemented the  Sustainable Sonoma Program in 2014.

Talk a bit about some of the best practices Pedroncelli Winery employs to reduce water, build healthy soil and protect the vineyard environment.

Over the years we have developed ways of conserving water by moving to drip system rather than overhead sprinkling, and conserve water even now by checking the soil and giving each vine the right amount to thrive. We are looking into solar panels as a way of alternate energy. Inside the winery have adopted energy-efficient lighting systems throughout.

Cover crops in the vineyard are very important and have evolved over the years, but are important to keep the vineyards protected. We have many riparian habitats across the properties, including owl boxes and naturally occurring oak and other trees. Part of our property on Dry Creek will be turned into a fish friendly area by participating in the Dry Creek Habitat Enhancement Project.

Does Pedroncelli Winery consider its vinicultural practices more Old World, New World, or a bit of both?

I think it is a bit of both. Old World when it comes to our style – Pedroncelli wines always have great acidity and tannins and are varietally correct- and New World when it comes to our focus on the fruit, without being overly ripe.

Talk about your team. Many family businesses fall apart as subsequent  generations fall prey to a sense of entitlement. What makes your family grow stronger and closer, rather than fragmented, over subsequent generations? How do you work to compliment strengths and remain ‘big picture’?

Great questions! I sometimes call us the ‘quiet’ Italians – we are very serious and hardworking, take pride in what we do, but egos aren’t inflated. We also had great role models in the form of the first and second generations. They are/were loyal, full of integrity, focused on doing the best for family.

I think we all have our own ‘work’ style and learning to rise above the family stuff is key (I am the oldest of four girls—like all families we had our own personalities and ways of dealing with things); and not every family member works for the winery as they were free to choose whether the winery fit into their goals/career choices.

As I look at the next generations I think we’ll encourage them to develop their talents and figure out where they best fit within the family business.

We are a family of introverts but something I learned early on was if I stayed quiet I would never sell wine. My dad had his ‘in the market’ persona and was known as “JP”(Jim Pedroncelli). I developed my extrovert style as a result of a public speaking class and learning to tell the family story from my own viewpoint.

We as a family are all part of the business in one way or another, and have been able to recognize our strengths and use them in this many-faceted business.

What does the team envision for the future of Pedroncelli Winery?

We envision a continuation as a family owned business by carefully curating how we do business now-not growing too large but also growing the production so it supports each of us who are involved.

Anything else you’d care to share with readers about Pedroncelli Winery that explains its success?

Longevity is a gift that began with my grandparents. Continuity came from all those years we’ve been making wine. People still remark about when they first had Pedroncelli wine, and are pleased we are still family owned – a testament to all of us working together.

Finally, if winemaker has taught the Pedroncelli family anything, it’s taught you…?

Patience! It starts in the vineyard but is a common thread throughout our history. We’ve learned to ride the waves so to speak.

PedroncelliMC VinePruned

Learn more about Pedroncelli Winery’s Rosé of Zinfandel:

Follow @ProtocolWines #WineStudio

Tuesday, June 21st from 6-7 pm PST

Join the Sonoma Rosé Revolution!


Thank you:

Julie Pedroncelli St. John | Pedroncelli Winery

Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™. All Rights Reserved.

The Hedonistic Taster | № 5| ellipses wine company

The Hedonistic Taster | № 5| ellipses wine company

The Hedonistic Taster |  № 5

ellipsis wine company

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

Le tastevin bourguignon.

“Wine should not be regarded simply as a beverage, but as an art of living, a pleasure.” – Henri Jayer

Welcome to The Hedonistic Taster, a binNotes | redThread™ trade sampling of artisan wines.

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

The Hedonistic Taster allows me the opportunity to introduce you to some gorgeous pours through this intimate tasting format.


Today’s Tasting:

Rosé of Pinot Meunier | ellipsis wine company | sonoma county

Welcome to Sonoma’s Rosé Revolution!  Among Sonoma’s emerging “Drink Pink” pack, boutique winery ellipsis wine company stands apart for its unique rosé crafted from Pinot Meunier, a varietal typically used in champagne.

Part of the Pinot Noir family, Pinot Meunier gets its name from the flour-like (meunier means ‘miller’ in French) dusting of white down on the underside of its leaves. Long a passionate fan of Pinot Meunier for its zesty acids that add personality to champagne blends, as a rosé, it’s simply stunning. You can dress this wine up for a holiday meal, or down home on the porch – it ‘cleans up well’ for any occasion.

To learn more about ellipsis wine company and their wines, you can catch my recent interview  with ellipsis wine company founders Jonathan Neisingh and wife Devika Maskey on binNotes | red Thread ™.

Wine:  Rosé of Pinot Meunier 

Varietal(s): 90% Pinot Meunier, 5% Zinfandel,  5% Syrah

Alcohol:  13.1 %

Suggested Retail: $25


Pinot Meunier grapes sourced from Christine’s Vineyard, Sonoma Coast AVA, bordering Russian River Valley.

Fruit picked at 24 brix; skin contact for two hours before pressing into a stainless steel tank.

Primary fermentation initiated 80% in the tank,  20% in neutral french barrels. No malolactic fermentation. Entire lot cold stabilized and bottled early February, four months after pick date.

NOTE: In past vintages, the wine maker has used 100% Pinot Meunier fruit, but due to low yields in 2015, this vintage contains 90% Pinot Meunier, 5% Zinfandel, and 5% Syrah.


Robe: Provençal ‘Groseille’ hue –  shimmering watermelon with soft salmon highlights.

Nose: Wild strawberry, mimosa, and salmonberry notes.

Palate: Say hello to my refreshing little friend! Snappy acids, light body, succulent finish.

Suggested Pairings:  The perfect picnic basket pour! Pack along some smoked salmon, aged white cheddar, marcona olives, an olive medley, and a baguette.

See the full ellipsis wine company interview here.
Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.

redThread™ Exclusive | ellipsis wine company

redThread™ Exclusive | ellipsis wine company

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™

Inspired stories about artisan wine and taste makers.

by L.M. Archer FWS, Bourgogne ML

Today’s Exclusive Interview:

ellipsis wine company | Sonoma

On June 14th from 6-7 PM PST,  Protocol Wine Studio hosts their second Sonoma Rosé Revolution, featuring ellipsis wine company‘s stunning Rosé of Pinot Meunier.

Recently, I had the good fortune to sit down with ellipsis wine company‘s founders, Jonathan Neisingh and Devika Maskey, to learn their story – a story of big dreams, bigger hearts, and a beautiful family.

Enjoy their journey, and look forward to ‘seeing’ you on the Protocol Wine Studio virtual party bus for more Sonoma Rosé Revolution!

Follow on Twitter | Instagram:






How did you come up with the name ‘ellipsis wine company,’ and what significance does the name have?

An ellipsis is the “…” at the end of a sentence and is defined by “the omission from speech or writing of a word or words that are superfluous or able to be understood from contextual clues.” (New Oxford American Dictionary).

We chose this symbol for the name because it represents how some things are better left unsaid, or in the case of our company, letting the wine speak for itself. The symbol also represents three, with the three dots, and three members: Jonathan, Devika, and our consulting wine maker, Rick Davis.

Jonathan, you grew up in Sonoma and graduated from Healdsburg High School; you both earned agribusiness degrees specializing in wine and viniculture from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. Any mentors or role models along the way who may have influenced your decision to become a first-generation wine maker?

While attending Cal Poly, Jonathan visited his college roommate’s family home where they had a vineyard and small winery in Mt. Veeder AVA of Napa Valley. They would sneak in it to the cellar and drink library vintages of outstanding mountain Cabernet. This sparked an interest and appreciation in Jonathan, for the what the vineyard can do and the how terroir influences wine.

Devika’s mentor at Cal Poly was agribusiness Professor Phil Doub, who was one of the leading creators of the Wine and Viticulture program. Devika studied abroad in Adelaide, South Australia with Professor Doub and a group of Cal Poly students. It was there that she learned about the importance packaging and branding has on wine marketing.

You have two sons, Elyan (5) and Elliot (1). Do you hope they follow in your footsteps?

It would be a great feeling to know that we have created something to pass down to our children, but they are both unique individuals who will create their own path. So far their interest in wine making is eating the delicious grapes! Our oldest son, Elyah, likes to come to the vineyards and help pick fruit at harvest time.

Jonathan spent some time in Madera, Portugal. What brought him there, and how did the region impact his view of wine making moving forward?

Jonathan traveled to Madera, for a surf trip that lasted three months.  The trip solidified his love for wine, and fondly remembers the beauty of Madera, with the steep mountain side vineyards and the kind people. The rawness of the culture and landscape was impressive. He will always remember watching the hard work and energy the people of Madera put in to creating their wines.

Talk about ellipsis wine company. Rick Davis serves as consulting winemaker, Jonathan handles vineyard relations, and Devika coordinates marketing. That’s on paper. Talk about the reality of running a 1600 case boutique wine operation – on a given day, how many hats do you each wear? How do you coordinate duties, responsibilities, and communication with all the different players throughout growing season, harvest, and fermentation?

We are technically a “virtual winery”, sourcing all fruit and making our wine at a custom crush facility. Because of this, not only are we are able to run the winery with the three of us, but is also gives us flexibility year to year with the fruit we decide to use for our wines.

Jonathan has a strong farming background and enjoys working with the various vineyards we source from. His main focus is to find the best quality fruit possible, and to make a wine that showcases that fruit. Throughout the growing season, Jonathan checks on the vineyards making sure they are up to quality standards.

At harvest time, Rick and Jonathan taste the vineyards and decide when to harvest depending on the when the fruit has the optimal flavor, not a specific brix number.  Once the fruit is harvested, the three of us discuss the goal we have for the wine and if there is a specific style we are going for.

We all believe in a minimalist approach to wine making where the grapes create the wine without much outside intervention or addition. This involves native yeast fermentation that can sometimes be painfully slow, but rewarding. At the wine making facility, Rick Davis manages all cellar operations and does an excellent job making our vision of the wine into a reality.

While Jonathan and Rick are handling most of the vineyard and winemaking responsibilities, Devika manages the day to day operations – Wine Club, event planning, direct orders, customer questions, billing, invoicing, etc.

Currently, you source your fruit from Russian River Valley, Anderson Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Red Hills. How did you choose and develop these grower relations? Any plans to expand sourcing from other regions of Sonoma?

Since ellipsis began in 2008, Jonathan has been able to build some great vineyard relations all over Northern California. We chose the specific locations because of the quality of fruit we were able to source from that vineyard site. We have learned a lot since then about sourcing fruit.

Being a small winery, we have lost some excellent vineyards that ended up wanting to sell the entire vineyard to a large winery and did not want to bother with our 2 ton orders. We have learned the importance of relationship building, and long term contracts. Many of the vineyards appreciate that we give them credit, listing the vineyard name on our bottle, and because of that, allow us to keep buying small amounts. Many of our wines are vineyard designate because we want that specific site and fruit to show through.

Let’s talk terroir.  You currently showcase four Pinot Noirs, a Zinfandel, and a Chardonnay, all from Russian River Valley, plus a Petit Syrah from Red Hills and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Dry Creek Valley. Each region, vineyard, site, and block have their own distinct microclimates and flavor profiles. Perhaps you can share how each site’s terroir informs the flavor profiles that make your wines unique? Do you have a favorite site/varietal? If so, why?

We believe that great wine starts in the vineyard. Since the beginning of ellipsis, we have loved sourcing fruit from the Russian River Valley (RRV). The RRV microclimate of cool foggy mornings and warm days create beautiful delicate wines with bright fruit and balance of acidity.

Just in the way we were excited about the RRV pinots we were able to create, we have fallen in love withe terroir from Anderson Valley. Our newest release is the 2014 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, Conzelman Vineyard and we believe it is the best wine we have made yet. We attribute this to Conzelman Vineyard, which is located at the north-west end of Anderson valley, 17 miles from the coast. The microclimate at this vineyard site is defined by being in the coolest and most fog dense areas of the valley. The cool nights and mornings with warms days allows for a slow maturation of the fruit, creating a beautiful balanced wine.

Why did you you choose to make your rosé from Pinot Meunier – a varietal typically used in blending champagne? Where do you get the grapes? Anything unusual about your vinification methods?

One of the first wines we made was a Rosé of Pinot Noir, which was featured as wine of the week in the Press Democrat in 2011. Since then, rosé has always been a customer favorite and popular wine for us. We have experimented with a couple different varietals, Pinot Noir and Sangiovese.

One of our vineyard contracts, De La Montanya winery, approached us about making a rose with their Pinot Meunier fruit. We tried it out, picking the fruit specifically for a rosé and haven’t looked back! Pinot Meunier is similar to Pinot Noir, but has a few differences. Specifically it has a slightly higher natural acidity than pinot noir, which creates an inherent brightness and fruitiness in the wine.

The grapes are sourced from a vineyard on the Sonoma Coast managed by De La Montanya Vineyards. In the past we have used 100% pinot meunier from this vineyard, but because of the low yield in 2015, we altered that to 90% pinot meunier, 5% zin, 5% syrah this vintage. The grapes were picked at 24 brix and left on the skins for only two hours before pressing into a stainless steel tank. The fermentation was 80% tank fermented and 20% neutral french barrel fermented. No ML. The entire lot was cold stabilized and bottled early February, four months after pick date.

Anything else you care to share with readers about what makes ellipsis wine company so special?

Because we make such small quantity, we are able to be very hands on with every aspect from the vineyard to the end consumer and are able to focus on quality throughout that process. Each wine we produce is very personal to us and we hope that is evident when you taste ellipsis wines.

Finally, if wine making has taught either or you anything, it’s taught you….?

Jonathan feels that wine making has taught him to appreciate the connection between the earth and the soul.


Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™. All Rights Reserved.

Thank you: 
Devika, Jonathan, Elyan and Elliot.

National Rosé Day | ellipsis wine company

National Rosé Day | ellipsis wine company

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™ Inspired stories about artisan wine and taste makers.

By L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

Happy National Rosé Day!

I’ve been playing in the sand at Pebble Beach today, but took time for a little ellipsis wine company Rosé of Pinot Meunier – a varietal typically used for blending in Champagne.

Pair this gorgeous salmon-robed, strawberry nosed, red fruited delight beachside with a picnic basket brimming with smoked salmon, aged white cheddar,mediterranean olive medley, and a bakery-fresh multi-grain baguette.

Sante ~

 ...And see you back here on Tuesday, June 14th from 6-7 PM

to join Protocol Wine Studio’s Sonoma Rosé Revolution.


ellipsis wine company’s Rosé of Pinot Meunier.

#winestudio: Rosé Revolution

#winestudio: Rosé Revolution

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™

 Inspired stories about artisan wine and taste makers.
By L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML



Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!

It’s time for The Rosé Revolution

Hosted by #winestudio.

That’s right! Starting tonight,  June 7th,  from 6:00 – 7:00 PM PST

and every subsequent Tuesday this June,

join Protocol Wine Studio

and thirsty wine enthusiasts and social media mavens

to share and compare

some of Sonoma’s tastiest rosés, suitable for quaffing any season!

Get questions answered about this brilliant wine, like:

Vintage: How long can a rosé last?

Think Pink: How do they come up with all those different colors of rosé?

Production: Is rosé really just a blend of white and red wine?!?

(Hint: No.)

I’ll be joining the discussions throughout, and weighing in the wines of

ellipsis wine company on June 14th, 2016


Pedroncelli Winery on June 21, 2016

It’s gonna be a great time – you can follow the fun on Instagram or Twitter @binNotes

Hope you jump onto the Protocol Wine Studio party bus with us…just use hashtag #winestudio.


Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.