I’m just back from a whirlwind trip to the record-breaking 2017 Hospices de Beaune wine auction, and wanted to share a few images with you to get a flavor of the tour and all it entailed.
I’ll be hunkered down for the rest of the holiday season writing several pending stories for publication in a number of wine and lifestyle magazines, but be sure to share more information with you as deadlines loom after the first of the year. In the meantime, happy holidays, all – and safe travels.
I’m still en route to Hospices de Beaune 2017 wine auction in Burgundy, with sidebars to Gothenburg, Sweden to conduct interviews for a forthcoming article I’m doing on Swedish sommeliers, and to Paris for research on a pending project.
Please enjoy these photos of travels to date – you can follow my entire tour on Instagram or Twitter @binnotes.
As always, great to hear from you in the ‘Comments’ section below and on social media – cheers!
All images and text Copyrighted 2017 binnotes.com | L. M. Archer. All Rights Reserved.
Wine Writer on the Go – Yoga Paws + Lazenne Wine Carrier in tow.
I’m traveling on assignments for the balance of 2017, indispensable Yoga Paws and Lazenne wine carrier in tow.
First stop Sweden, followed by the fabled Hospices de Beaune wine auction in Burgundy, before returning stateside later this month for some South Bay sleuthing amidst a little US Thanksgiving gratitude. December brings me deep into Northern California wine making territory, and concludes with a long slog of elbow grease at the keyboard.
Find out about publication dates for pending features here later. In the meantime, feel free to follow along live throughout the tour:
Napa and Sonoma wineries are open for business, folks – as today’s trade sample proves.
“Animo” in Italian means ‘heart’ or ‘spirit’ – an apt descriptor for this wine, and the Wine Country community.
Michael Mondavi Family Estate represents ‘Old Growth’ Napa, a firmly rooted fourth-generation winery with a prestigious pedigree. In 1996, they purchased Animo vineyard atop Atlas Peak, and Heritage Block in 2006.
Farmed sustainably employing 19th century trellising, Heritage Block contains Sauvignon Blanc vine cuttings sourced from Oakville’s historic ToKalon vineyard, vines considered the oldest in North America, and directly traceable to Bordeaux’s famed Château d’Yquem.
Animo Sauvignon Blanc seamlessly blends this old world heritage with a new world indomitability. To paraphrase Shakespeare, “If wine be the music of love, pour on!”
Wine: Animo 2015 Napa Valley Heritage Sauvignon Blanc
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.
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:
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.
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 Clasicocava 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.
Wine:Artesa Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir | Los Carneros – Napa Valley