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.

 

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!

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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.

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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.

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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 here. Copyright © 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

 

 

Wine Writer Confidential | â„– 10 | Finalement

Welcome to my final installment of Wine Writer Confidential.

L.M.Archer, FWS | Bourgogne Master Level

That’s right.

As a student of Burgundy, I contend that ‘affordable Burgundy’ is not an oxymoron.

In the coming months, binNotes moves towards a focus upon Affordable Burgundy and Beyond.

The ‘beyond’ includes emerging and existing Pinot Noir regions and the topic of terroir.

Trade sample reviews, tasting events, speaking engagements, judging, and professional consulting will reflect this shift.

I will continue to also cover topics relevant to the publications for whom I work as a professional wine, food and travel journalist.

Thank you for your support throughout this journey to better honor my voice while adding value on the topic of affordable Burgundy – and beyond.

NOTE:

Over the next few weeks, please look for any pending tasting notes and interviews conducted prior the shift in focus.

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

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!

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 AligotĂ©, 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 AligotĂ©. Pockets of producers include Alice + Olivier de Moor of St. Bris in Chablis, Domaine Naudin-Ferrand of Magny-les-Villers, which straddles Hautes CĂ´tes de Beaune and Hautes CĂ´tes de Nuits, and Domaine Ponsot, Burgundy’s only Premier Cru AligotĂ© from Monts Luisants in Morey-Saint-Denis. I’ve also discovered some fuller, more luxurious AligotĂ©s produced in Meursault.

One must admire AligotĂ©’s perseverance. Despite relegation to blending, segregation to Burgundy’s Bouzeron, and integration into the Kir Royale, AligotĂ© 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 AligotĂ© 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 RomanĂ©e-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 HerlĂ©dan.

“Aunt ThĂ©rèse’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.

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 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 AligotĂ© in Burgundy’s CĂ´te 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 CĂ´te Chalonnaise.”

Link to the Virtual Tour of Burgundy, Part 1

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

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