Thursday August 18th was #PinotSmackdown day, organized by Ed Thralls of Wine Tonite. As I did for Rick Bakas #Chardonnay day, I hosted a walk around tasting. Click here for Ed's overall summary and the impressions.
Unfortunately most of my 80 attendees didn't vote for #CA as most would have. (I didn't receive any OR, NZ, or French submissions.) Had they, California would have 'won' the Smackdown.
Tasting Pinot in The Greenhouse
Feedback and buzz from the #chardonnay tasting was three times the targeted table capacity so a pre-tasting was held by a panel of judges to narrow it down. I have been evangelizing walk around tastings need to evolve, so by design, this one was kept small and focused.
A few weeks prior a panel of 5 judges consisting of myself, 2 winemakers, and a wine enthusiast tasted through 30 wines bagged, labeled, and divided into regions so that we’d have representation from multiple regions. This sounds like fun, but its actually work, and time consuming way to spend a weekend evening, so many thanks for the help. It helped assure we had a great lineup of Pinot’s for the evening.
The event was also a fundraiser for the YWCA, who assisted with my ABC license. Wineries paid a small table fee of wine or donation to pour. They were required to pour the wine that won, and were allowed to pour a second Pinot if desired, as long as it was currently for sale, no library wines or barrel samples. The event is held in my greenhouse, adjacent to my new vineyard. Tables are setup – the atmosphere is cozy, and enthusiastic.
As an experiment, we had a food truck, Goodeatz, offer food. Unfortunately we fell a few hundred dollars short of goal they needed to be onsite, but those who stayed and ate (self included) raved about the food. They are not available for my planned Sept 23 #Grenache tasting, but I am looking into others.
The 80 attendees were given a 2 page spreadsheet with details on each wine, as well as a final voting sheet to pick their Top 3 choices of the evening. Armed with clipboard, glass, and spitcup, they went in to sample the 19 pinots being poured.
The night seemed an even bigger success than chardonnay day. While we didn’t have quite as many epiphany moments as we did the chardonnay bashers who came away with new perspective – attendees gushed about the quality of the vintners, not a single bad wine, and every winery member I spoke to was very pleased with the energy and enthusiasm. Sounds like we got tight on parking later in the evening, something I will work on, as well as encourage car pooling.
Watch for #Grenache Day – Sept 23, Calling Producers
September 23rd is Grenache day, as declared by the Grenache Symposium in France. This isn’t a great date for me as I am locked down for 4 days wine judging the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. But its Grenache, my fave varietal, what I am planting, and as a Rhone Ranger board member, it’s a moral imperative. Last year I held a smaller tasting and a HUGE party afterwards complete with fire dancers. Not in this years budget, but sitting out just doesn’t seem an option. Contact me if you have a Grenache and/or Grenache based blend, and are interested.
As the spreadsheet shows, votes were tallied and added up. A #1 got 3 points, #2 2 points, and #3 1 point. Unfortunately a few people didn’t specify WHICH of the two wines a winery poured, so in those cases I had to
give half credit to each wine.
A bit surprisin
g. I am a personal fan of Phil Baxter’s wines, but for Baxter, to clearly win both 1st and 2nd place. Freestone Vineyard was right behind with third. 4th place was a dogfight, with Sojourn, Deux Punx
, Joseph Swan, Bjornstaad, and Londer all within 1.5 points. Literally one vote could have changed these. This reflects the high quality of the evening, and difficulty the crowd had in choosing.
Congrats to all producers. There was a much higher spread of votes across all, and with Pinots ranging from $22-to $60+. Remember this was narrowed down from 30.
The full score sheet is here on Google Documents.
Overall & Regional Winners
|Top Winners||Over All|
|#1||Baxter Winery 2007 Toulouse|
|#2||Baxter Winery 2007 Oppenlander|
|#3||Freestone Vineyards 2007 Sonoma Coast|
|#4||Sojourn Cellars 2009 Gaps Crown|
|By Region||Anderson Valley|
|#1||Baxter Winery 2007 Toulouse|
|#2||Londer Vineyards 2009 Corby|
|#3||Krutz 2007 Anderson Valley|
|#1||Freestone Vineyards 2007 Sonoma Coast|
|#2||Sojourn Cellars 2009 Gap's Crown|
|#3||Bjornstad 2008 Hellenthal Vineyard|
|Russian River Valley|
|#1||Joseph Swan 2007 Saralee's Vineyard|
|#2||Foppiano Vineyards 2009 Estate|
|#3||Inman Family 2007 Olivet Grange|
|#1||Baxter Winery 2007 Oppenlander – Mendocino|
|#2||Deux Punx 2009 Humboldt County|
|#3||Gloria Ferrer 2007 Carneros|