Séréndipité: Meet-up with Kristi and Jean-Marc in Colorado: winetasting, booksigning, French-talking...
Avoir un creux... Hitchcock's Blanket in France & Helping Tessa pack

La Cuve: All About Jean-Marc's (American) Wine "Ephemera"

Thank you, Jackie Hamilton, for working with Jean-Marc's design and then doing this wonderful drawing for the Ephemera wine label. 
Jean-Marc and I hope to see many of you at our wine tasting/booksigning in Colorado--at The Bookworm of Edwards on March 10th, at 2pm.
Also, Jean-Marc and Max will be attending a wine dinner in Houston at Bistro Provence on 03/21. Reservation needed at [email protected] or at 713 827 8008. He will also attend a wine tasting on March 23rd from Noon to 6 PM, at French Country Wines, 2433 Bartlett St, Houston. Tel : 713 993 95 00 
Today's Word: la cuve

    : vat, tank

EPHEMERA by Jean-Marc Espinasse
In September 2017, as we had just moved out from Mas des Brun and when I was still grieving about the loss of this magnificent piece of promised land, Robert Camuto, who had already related our story in the Wine Spectator, went to interview me to figure out what happened i.e. my fiasco...
I won't say much about this "painful" experience (you can actually read it there) but, at the end of the interview, Robert asked me what might be my next wine project...and I responded :
"If I had a chance to make wine in Oregon … that would be my first choice."
As I had already done a wine project in another place (Rosso Azzurro in Sicily), I thought I could reproduce the same idea in OR where I have built such a wonderful relationship with many people. I knew Jay Somers for many years and decided to ask him if I could make a little batch at his fantastic amazing J. Christopher winery...and he kindly agreed to make this dream come true.
Here is how I made this wine :
Tasting berries on the wonderful slopes of Dundee Hills
I decided to make a light, fresh and easy drinking Pinot Noir for many reasons. First and most important is that more and more I tend to enjoy drinking these kind of wines, made only from grape juice and no other additives/intervention (industrial yeasts, sugar, sulfur, filtration...). Those kind of wines do have a high level of "drink-ability" and you enjoy them with joy and pleasure casually, like wine should actually be, for me. The other reason I decided to make this style of wine is that I was hosted by a winery where I was not going to stay more than 2 weeks and I wanted to make sure they would not have to worry and work too much on my wine. In making this short and light maceration, I knew this wine could be bottled soon and then be soon out of the winery's hands.
"Pied de Cuve" fermenting 
Jay sourced for me some grapes on the beautiful Dundee Hills Slopes, grapes that would fit with the style at which I was aiming. Those grapes would bring a higher acidity and smooth tannins. And while tasting the berries, I started to collect some clusters to start what we call in France a "Pied de Cuve" or starter. This is actually a little fermentation happening in a big bucket which will permit us to start right away the fermentation once the grapes are received. The reason to start the fermentation right away is because there is no sCuveulfur addition which preserve from oxidation.
Actually, wineries use sulfur when grapes are in the tank to eliminate the unwanted bacterium. Sulfur is also an anti oxidant which protects the grape juice from oxidation.
My beautiful, impeccable sanitary Pinot Noir Grapes
Since I was certain my grapes were in perfect sanitary conditions, I did not have to use sulfur but I needed to avoid the grape juice oxidation and that is why this starter is great since it permits me to start the fermentation right away, avoiding any oxidation before this process starts since when fermentation happens, the grape juice is then totally protected by the carbonic gas produced.

Grape juice fermenting

I did 3 fermenting tanks, one with 100% de-stemmed grapes, one with half de-stemmed and half whole cluster and one 100% whole cluster.

During the first days of fermentation, I pumped over the cap to homogenize the tank and bring some air into the juice...

Pumping over the cap

But as I intended to make a light wine, I only kept the juice in contacts with the skins for 5 days and then shoveled all the grapes to the press machine.


Shoveling grapes and tasting the fermented juices

This fermenting wine finished its process without skins and after be racked to separate the lies, just a touch of sulfites have been added to protect this finished wine from oxidation during bottling, which happened early January 2019. As I am typing this note, I have to admit that I have not yet sampled the bottled Ephemera but here are tasting notes from Kory, winemaker at J. Christopher Wines and from Tim who created French Country Wines, an Importing wines business in Houston TX : Kory : "I really enjoyed Ephemera. The wine is bright and has a nice lushness in the mid pallet...light red fruited... strawberry / tart cherry. Lively and bright, lingering finish" and Tim : "Very fresh, bright & well balanced for such a young wine - thoroughly enjoyable!"
To finish this story, I can't help thanking Jay and all the people at the winery who helped me. Many thanks also to Eugenia Keegan and David Adelsheim who hosted me at their guest house located just a mile from the winery during the first week. Thank you Donna and Bill Sweat who own the delicious Winderlea winery in Dundee and who also took care of me when I was there, loaning me their car. Thanks a lot to Kim Dement-Smith from the famous Smith Tea in Portland and in memory of Steve who we all miss for hosting me the second week. Thanks Diana and Neil Goldschmidt who have been one of my angels in Portland, who treated me to a meal at wonderful place with a memorable 2002 Pinot Noir they made. Thank you Debby, Marc and all the Accuardi family who own the very best restaurant in town : Gino's. Many thanks for my beautiful wife Kristi who always supported me in all my wine adventurous journeys and who helped me in many ways to make this dream come true.
And my last thanks will be for the Estelle Imports team who will take care of the distribution of the few cases of Ephemera staying in OR (800 bottles) and especially to my friend of 20 years, Chris Davis who has always supported my wine passion.
This leads me to the conclusion of this post and a little secret that I will unveil now :

You think this wine is 100% Pinot Noir but this is not totally right. A few Syrah clusters from a vine planted by Chris and given by our regretted (he's passed away) common friend Jean-Jacques Clapie have been used for the "Pied de Cuve". They probably represent 0.01 % of the blend but they are so meaningful to me.

65 cases of Ephemera have stayed in Portland and are now in the hands of Estelle Imports. If you are interested in getting this wine, please contact Chris at [email protected] who will direct you to the best place, depending on where you live in the US.
The rest of this tiny production is currently on its way to France. If you live there or in Europe and if you are interested in getting some, please contact me at [email protected]
Cheers !
Update: Ephemera wine should be available in the following places:
Avalon Wines, 3115 NE Sandy Blvd #127. 
Tel : (503) 206-8589  
Division Wines, 3564 SE Division. 
Tel : (503) 234-7281
Providore, 2340 NE Sandy. 
Tel : (503) 232-1010
Pastaworks at City Market, 735 NW 21St. 
Tel : (503) 221-3002

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Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Heather B W.

Dear Kristin,
Oh my, what a wonderful wine experience in Oregon. I am crazy about the Ephemera poster and would love to purchase one from you. Is that possible? My grandkids would love to color in the Littlr Prince!
Email me the details or perhaps sell it on your website?
Thank you 🙏


I was just in Edwards the other day, returning from a snowshoe trip in the mountains. Will it just be a tasting or will it be possible to purchase some Ephemera?

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi and Jean Marc,

I loved reading about the wine making and have contacted Chris to see if I can purchase a bottle of Ephemera in Charlottesville, VA. I was thinking you and Jean Marc should come to Charlottesville, VA! We have so many wineries here and do a collaboration with one of the vineyards here. My yoga teacher is married to the French winemaker at Afton Mountain Vineyards.

I remember feeling Jean Marc's pain at losing his vines, but we learn from every experience we go through and when one door closes another opens. I wish you the best of luck on this next adventure!

If you all make a trip to C'ville you are always welcome to stay with us! :-)


Kristin Espinasse

Heather, I love your idea of a poster! I will share your comment with Jean-Marc. (He will see it, actually, when he reads all of these lovely responses here.)

Kristin Espinasse

Our good friend, and former harvester, Jackie Hamilton drew the image after Jean-Marc explained what he saw in the label.


Okay I’m in huge support of the poster idea! My hubby calls me an “idea man!” I can see them colored (by children and framed.) Maybe 16”x20” or smaller?
One of my “falling in love with all things French” — beside your blog and books 😉— was “The Little Prince” by Antoine deSant-Exupery

Julie Farrar

How exciting. I don't know if we should try to get some for Oregon or to order it while in France. I'll have to nudge my wine maven to step on it.

Kristin Espinasse



❤️back at you! Kristin just let me know (via email) if and when you might have Little Prince Ephemera posters for purchase! I’m in for 2!
Love the word Ephemera too!

Diane Heinecke

Jean-Marc, this edition was personally revealing: your passion for winemaking and your appreciation for your friends. It was also educational and fun to watch the videos. Thank you for sharing. Enjoy your visit in the U.S. "Grosses bises" for the rest of the family.

Keith Van Sickle

What a lovely label! Saint-Exupéry would be proud!

Kristin Espinasse

Eileen, Happy to read that you have contacted Chris. Thank you for trying to buy Jean-Marcs wine! I hope we make it to Charlottesville. It looks like there are some opportunities for Jean-Marc there!

chris kelly

What a great story. I learned so much about wine making! Best wishes and kudos to the winemaker and the winemaker's wife!


Our dear Kristi and Jean Marc,
My gosh,you two definitely are a dynamic duo--dynamic family!And nobody deserves the fame and accolades more than you do!
So happy to have the good fortune to share in your lives!
Kristi,your Dernier Mot was wonderful!!
Natalia. Xo


Je suis d'accord que le nom "ephemere" est parfait pour ce vin. Vive Saint-Ex!

Beth Fiacco

Kristi et Jean-Marc - how exciting to have another wine that you've produced! I still have my bottle of Mas des Brun Rosé . My friend picked it up when you visited Portland last year. My husband and I will enjoy that this summer! I'll have to ask my friend who lives in Portland to pick up a bottle of the Ephemera. I'm not a fan of young wines, but I'm sure I'll love it because I see the love that went into it! Bonne chance !

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Thank you Heather but the only thing I can do is ask the winery if there are some labels left and mail some to you. I will let you know.

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Oups... I should have read the whole discussion... :) I will inquire on posters but since we are leaving soon for the US, this might take a while...

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Sorry Gary, no Ephemera tasting in Edwards. It is only available in OR...but they might be able to ship...

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Thank you for your support Eileen.
I would actually be very interested in another wine collaboration. I do have the goal to go to New Zealand someday but VA sounds very nice (I tasted some delicious wines from there)

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Thank you for your support Julie
Take Care

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Thank you Diane

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Thank you Keith. I imagined it, inspiring myself from many important things to me.

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Thank you Chris

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Thank you Natalia

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Happy to read your comment Joan

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Thank you so much Beth for your support.
Ephemera will also be a very good summer wine

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you so much, Natalia! 💕

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Chris. I made Jean-Marc rewrite the story, which was too technical even for me (who has lived with this winemaker). Happy to see read the comments here, and so glad you enjoyed the post.

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi and Jean-Marc,

It is such a joy to have come to understand your remarkable mutually supportive relationship over the years. Jean-Marc has helped you, Kristi, realize your dream of living in France and becoming a writer. And you have helped him realize his dreams and his passions. Through trying and testing it seems you both have come to understand your strengths. With each venture, good can come. Domaine Rouge Bleu and Mas des Brun balanced out your vineyard experience. Mad des Brun took you to new places with nature’s bounty, from grapes and olives to vegetables and flowers. It seems you have a gift in one immeasurable passion, Jean-Marc...actually making the wine. For all the heart and soul you pour into it, it is no wonder your wines are so good. ( At least those we have had the pleasure of trying!)
You are both an inspiration and we, your readers, are fortunate that you have shared your lives through your writings and photos.
May your passions and adventures continue!!

Chris Allin


Typo...Mas des Brun not Mad des Brun! 🙄

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi and JM!
I just ordered a couple of bottles from Marcus and Andy at Avalon Wine! I can't wait to try it! I forgot to tell you that the label reminds me a bit of Le Petit Prince! :-)

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Thank you so much Eileen Let me know your thoughts when you try it.
Cheers 🍷

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Thank you so much Chris and George for your continued support and all the lovely attention to us.
Hoping to meet with you sometimes soon
Take Care

Linda R.

What an interesting description of your making of Ephemera. I happen to be in Portland at the moment visiting my daughters a s puppysitting. I’ll see if I can track down some of the wine before returning to Montana. : )
Being in Portland also makes me think of beloved author Brian Doyle and his wonderful book The Grail: A Year Ambling & Shambling Through an Oregon Vineyard in Pursuit of the Best Pinot Noir Wine in the Whole Wild World. Broadway Books carries a selection of his writing... well, you can probably order it anywhere, but it’s always nice to have a favorite bookstore in a town one loves to visit.
p.s. Le Petit Prince might be my most favorite book and your label brought it to mind.


Okay. It’s a great label! And a great 👍 piece of artwork—word with image is so inspiring!

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Dear Linda (and all Friends)
Thank you for your support.
I just received a notice from our OR importer with some wine retailers in Portland.
Here are the places where you should be able to find Ephemera :

Avalon Wines, 3115 NE Sandy Blvd #127
(503) 206-8589  

Division Wines, 3564 SE Division
(503) 234-7281

Providore, 2340 NE Sandy
(503) 232-1010

Pastaworks at City Market, 735 NW 21St 
(503) 221-3002

I would double check before going since it looks like the wines seem to fly ...

Some of those stores are also able to ship (if you live in a State that accepts wine shipping)

Cheers 🥂

Linda R

I found & bought the wine at Division Wines, 3564 SE Divisions. They were unboxing it when I walked in - hooray!

Jean-Marc Espinasse

So happy
Let me know your thoughts
Cheers 🥂

Eileen deCamp

I ordered mine from Avalon!


I've already contacted the folks in Oregon and am arranging to have a case shipped to Boulder.


And Colorado has some good grapes and desperately needs someone who knows how to make good wine from those grapes. The terroir and climate of the Western Slope of Colorado seems similar to the souther Rhone and they grow Syrah and Grenache, etc. But very few of the wines are any good. They need you J-M!

Franklin Levin

We will be back in Oregon on Thursday (from Florida). I am anxious to get some Ephemera.
BTW we hope to see you again in La Ciotat. We will be in the area at the end of April!


What a wonderful post, and an intriguing thought that there may be more Oregon in your future! We're in Eugene and love the wines from up and down the valley.

My niece and I will be in France in July and saw La Ciotat on the map. I said, "Oh, I have a friend who lives there!" It's funny how you can not know us from any passing stranger but the relationship from our side feels like friendship!

Jean-Marc Espinasse

Dear Franklin,
Thank you so much for supporting Ephemera
Please let me know your honest thoughts when you taste it.

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