Archive for the ‘Pinot Noir’ Category
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|
Simple Hedonisms is Off Again! This Week it's the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) in Oregon
The flurry of July wine travel continues! The dust of Spain media tour barely behind me, 5 days in Virginia for the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference and the company of wine writer giants like Jancis Robinson and Eric Asimov. A few days at home, I hosted my monthly wine networking mixer for 100+ Sonoma Wine-O's and now I'm off to Portland and the Willamette Valley in Oregon, for the world renowned International Pinot Noir Celebration, also known as IPNC. After a few post IPNC days recovery athome, and off to Mendocino to judge and attend their 2011 Wine Competition and Farm to Table Dinner, Grand Tasting.
IPNC is an amazing 3 day event, and involves a healthy mix of passionate consumers from all over the country, as well as wine makers, writers, and Pinot-philes of all shapes and sizes.
Tastings, seminars, vineyard tours, dinners – it's a fun, heady, educational immersion in the world's sexiest varietal.
Thursday Pre-Events – 1975-2007 Vertical Tasting
Pre-IPNC events are occurring all over Portland and Willamette. So many in fact, that for the first time in many years I am skipping the Thursday Oregon Brewers Fest, hands down one of my favorite microbrew events in the country.
That Thursday afternoon Eyrie Vineyards is hosting an off the charts 1975-2007 South Block vertical tasting.
After that, I am headed to the Anne Amie 2nd annual Counter Culture event. This event is sold out again – not surprising after last years display of local food artisans, and great wines (not just Pinot) from all over the world.
The three day passes to IPNC sold out months ago. The media team was kept to a team of twelve. I am honored to attend with:
- William Allen, Simple Hedonisms
- Alyssa Rapp, Bottlenotes
- Tim Atkin, MS (UK)
- Talia Baiocchi, Eater.com
- Antoinette Bruno, StarChefs.com
- Mary Burnham, Food & Wine (2012 Wine Guide)
- Katherine Cole, The Oregonian & MIX Magazine
- Christian DeBenedetti, Food & Wine
- Allison Jones, Portland Monthly
- Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast & Seattle Times
- Mike Thelin, Cooking Channel
- Alder Yarrow, Vinography
The list of speakers is incredible, with heavy hitters like Eric Asimov of the New York Times, and Allen Meadows.
- Joshua Wesson, J Wesson Wine & Food – Keynote Speaker, Wine & Cheese Seminar Moderator
Eric Asimov, The New York Times – Grand Seminar Moderator
Cole Danehower, Northwest Palate – Chef Panel Moderator
Jordan Mackay, San Francisco Magazine – Sommelier Panel Moderator
Allen Meadows, Burghound – Wine Ageing Seminar Moderator
Laura Werlin, Cheese Educator & Author – Wine & Cheese Seminar Moderator
Friday – IPNC, Bright & Early
8:30 to 9:15 am – Opening Ceremonies – IPNC Keynote Speaker Joshua Wesson welcomes you to the Celebration and the Featured Winemakers are introduced.
9:15 am to 3 pm – Vineyard Tour and Winery Lunch (more info)
Travel through the vine-covered countryside to a nearby Willamette Valley winery where attendees will enjoy a guided stroll through the vineyard, learning about the distinct characteristics of the host site. Afterward, we put our sensory skills to the test in Name That Pinot, a team-oriented, blind tasting game where we join featured winemakers, top sommeliers, media guests and fellow attendees in identifying a selection of handpicked mystery Pinots. Following the blind tasting, enjoy an array of wines paired with a multi-course meal created by guest chefs.
9:30 am to 11:30 am – On-Campus Grand Seminar (more info)
Enjoy a tasting and comparison of ten Pinots with moderator Eric Asimov, wine critic for The New York Times, and five pioneer winemakers from three continents.
3:30 to 4:15 pm – Afternoon Chef Panel: Evolution of NW Farm-to-Table Cuisine
Join chef panelists and moderator Cole Danehower, Editor-in-Chief of Northwest Palate Magazine, for a two-part sessions dedicated to the past, present and future of the Northwest farm-to-table movement. Following a panel discussion, retire to the lawn where each chef will share special dishes from their kitchens
4:30 to 5:30 pm – Afternoon Sommelier Panel: Uncovering the Secrets of Sommeliers
Moderator Jordan Mackay and Sommelier Rajat Parr, co-authors of James Beard Award nominated Secrets of the Sommeliers: How to Think and Drink Like the World's Top Wine Professionals, will be joined onstage by iconic sommeliers Daniel Johnnes, Larry Stone and Kevin Zraly for an engaging discussion on the secrets of their trade and the role Pinot noir has played in their careers in wine.
3:30 to 5:30 pm
– Afternoon Activities
– Afternoon Activities(more info) At 3:30 pm, all guests will be reunited on campus to enjoy a selection of activities.
5:30 to 7:30 pm – Alfresco Tasting (more info) The first of two grand tastings in which 35 winemakers pour their Featured Pinots.
7:30 to 11 pm – The Grand Dinner (more info) Guests experience the result of years of collaboration and tradition as four chef duos team-up to create a Burgundian-inspired meal using NW ingredients. Celebrate 25 years of the IPNC under a star-lit sky with magnums of Pinot noir.
Saturday & Sunday
The agenda continues Saturday & Sunday, with similar events on Saturday.
Sunday is the Sparkling Finale (more info) – Raise your glass in a festive toast as you bid farewell to the 25th Anniversary IPNC and look forward to the next 25 years! Savor our sumptuous buffet brunch prepared by guest chefs and paired with fine Champagne and sparkling wine, and the Passport to Pinot.
A Pocket Version of the Three Day Weekend – The Sunday Passport to Pinot
IPNC welcomes guests to a grand outdoor tasting of international Pinot noir from 70 Featured Wineries. To maximize personal interaction with each winemaker, the event is split into two sessions. Approximately 30 Featured Winemakers will pour for each session and break in the middle for winemaker introductions. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to meet some of the world's finest Pinot noir winemakers at Oregon's largest outdoor pinot tasting. Top-notch Northwest chefs will prepare divine dishes to accompany an unparalleled array of international Pinot noir.
The ticket price of $150 includes a tasting of 70 wines poured for you by the winemakers, food prepared by our guest chefs and a commemorative tasting glass.
Last I inquired, a handful of these were still available for sale. Double check here, before they are sold out!
The ticket price of $150 includes a tasting of 70 wines poured for you by the winemakers, food prepared by guest chefs and a commemorative tasting glass.
Follow the Journey Live over Facebook & Twitter
On August 18th, I am a co-host for Ed Thralls of Wine Tonite for the 2nd Annual #PinotSmackdown. Pinot’s from various regions will be compared and people will vote for their favorite region during this live tasting.
I will be replicating the very successful tasting I did for #Chardonnay day, last month, in my Greenhouse. What will this event be about, and like? You can read the details and summary here in:
Looking for A Certain Style of Pinot Noir
There are a variety of styles of Pinot Noir. Bold and Big; Burgundian. Lighter and more nuanced. I purchase, drink and review them all.
As I did with for Chardonnay, I will be seeking a certain profile of Pinot. There has been moderate wine press recently by Jon Bonne’, Jancis Robinson and others, discussing Pinot Noir starting to return to its more elegant form. Over the years Pinot has crept up in color and alcohol, over ripened and over extracted, chasing the New World Palate, and trying to lure less knowledgeable drinkers weened on Cabernet, who think there is something wrong with red wine that is light in color.
Requirements & Profile
I am looking for Pinot that is more reflective of the vintage, terroir, and is balanced, with good acidity, modest alcohol. If you are a Pinot producer that fits this, and would like to pour, or have sopayday cash loan
ght size-medium wp-image-5480″ title=”Greenhouse tasting” src=”http://www.simplehedonisms.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/chardonnay-day-5-300×224.jpg” alt=”" width=”300″ height=”224″ />meone represent you and pour, please contact me. If I am not familiar with your current vintage, likely I will be requesting a sample prior to accepting.
Samples should be shipped/dropped of July 18-20th so that I can sample as a panel for final selection. If your wine is not selected, this is by no means a slight – I am trying as best I can to find Pinot's of similar style. I am also going to try and hold it to to 8-10 tables again.
Right now I am more focused on OR and CA, but I would love Pinot from any region and importer that fits the targeted intent, and if you have a representative willing to pour.
Based on the previous event, you should plan to pour 6-8 bottles of wine. Your 'table' fee is also a bottle of wine, so that I may review it later.
I will be teaming with a non profit for an ABC license, and hope to also legally allow wine sales (orders, likely no distribution) via permit.
You can contact me at simplehedonisms @ gmail.com.
PS September First is Tempranillo Day
The TAPAS (Tempranillo Advocates Producers and Amigos Society) has declared September 1st #Tempranillo day.
I intend to do another tasting. perhaps not on this scale, but am also looking for Tempranillo producers to send bottles & literature for a self pour station, or come pour. More to follow.
May 20-22nd was the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival. It was a busy wine weekend, with overlapping events including Taste Alexander Valley. I had missed the last few years Anderson Valley Pinot Festival due to similar conflicts, and decided to prioritize the event this year. I headed first to Scharffenberger Cellars , who hosted a media tasting, then over to Goldeneye for the walk around tasting. The day prior was a series of technical seminars and tastings, I unfortunately missed, a mistake I will not repeat in 2012.
I will gush in more detail about both, but this is not to be missed event for Pinot-philes.
Kudos to Kristy Charles, President of the Anderson Valley Wine Growers Association – the morning Media tasting one was one of the best organized I have attended. I had expected a walk-around tasting, but instead it was a self pour tasting of 30 current releases.
It was very well organized – at the door I received a clipboard with a 3 page spreadsheet that listed the winery, vintage, vineyards, retail price, release date, and case production. This made note taking so much easier and efficient. Each bottle was on the table with detailed vinification notes in front. (And on the clipboard to take home for reference.) While I enjoy winemaker interaction and questions I really like this format. It's very productive, allows focus and your own pace.
Overall, I was highly impressed with the tasting. Of the 30 only two were given a low score, poor impression. I am vocal that my palate and personal philosophy is focused on wines that are balanced, with good acidity and restraint. You get no points for a Pinot the color of a Bordeaux varietal, with tannins to match. If anything, I am more drawn to a wine that was left to it's own, to express that years vintage.
Pinot Noir is one of the most expressive wine varieties of terroir and vintage, and should be different each year. Anderson Valley vintners show well in this regard, and I almost feel guilty picking out favorites. (I will confess I got to the tasting late, and had to accelerate a bit through the last 1/3, so notes not as lengthy as normal. )
Some of these will be pouring at tomorrow's Taste of Mendocino event – look for them.
- Baxter Winery 2009 Run Dog Vineyard Native yeast. 18 months neutral French oak. 10% whole cluster. 100% Pommard 5 clone. Unfined/unfiltered. Lighter red color. Earthy nose, bright red fruit, cranberry, excellent acidity, finish. 14.3% alcohol. 110 cases. $45
- Breggo Cellars 2009 Anderson Valley Ten months in 44% new French oak. Blend of many clones. Nose of earth, spice, red fruit, Bolder and plush on the palate. 14.8% alcohol. 2183 cases. $38
- Couloir Wines 2009 Monument Tree 30% whole cluster. Native yeast. 30% new French oak. Unfined/unfiltered. Bright nose of red fruit and spice. Strawberry, red fruit and pomegranate. Great acidity, long finish. 14.1% alcohol, 143 cases. $38
- Elke Vineyards 2009 Donnelly Creek Vineyard 100% de-stemmed. Burgundy yeast, nati
ve ML. Blend of five clones. Unfiltered. Burgundian nose of earth, forest floor, mushroom. Strawberry, raspberry, silky finish. 14.3% alcohol. 840 cases. $34
- Foursight Wines 2007 All-In, Charles Vineyard Native yeast. 20% whole cluster. Blend of 777, 114, 115, Pommard 05 clones. Unfined/unfiltered. No racking, 44% neutral barrels. Gorgeous Medium red color, gorgeous nose, cherry and pomegranate, excellent acidity. 407 cases, $46
- Harrington Wines 2009 Wiley Vineyard Partial native yeast, 10 months French oak 25% new. Blend of 90% Pommard, 10% 777 clones. Light red color, modest nose, bright cherry, great acidity. 14.1% alcohol, 261 cases, $40
- Londer Vineyards 2009 Paraboll (Ferrington & Valley Foothills vineyards) 40% new French oak. Blend of Pommard and Roederer 23 clones. Bright red, berry and spice on the nose, red and dark fruit, good structure and acidity, pleasing finish. 14.8% alcohol, 379 cases
- Macphail 2009 Toulouse Vineyard Partial native yeast. Native ML. 3 months lees stirring. 11 months 60% new French oak. Unfined/unfiltered. Blend of 115, 667, 777 and Wadenswil 2A clones. Light, delicate, earthy, sensuous. Lingering finish. 14.3% alcohol. 267 cases. $49
The day was gorgeous – sunny and modest temperature. The reception upon arrival and general disposition of the staff and attendees mirrored that – the friendly attitude was warm and genuine – a phenomenon repeated every time I visit Mendocino County it seems.
Inside was yet more Pinot Noir. Seeking a bit of a palate break, I sought out bubbles and rose' – only a few were to be had….surprising, especially for the Rose'.
A band played, people lingered and relaxed in the grass, or sat on benches nibbling on treasures from the various food stations. I was solo – no friends or partners in crime could attend, and I was due back for a BBQ by five, or else I may
have lingered all day myself. I did finally meet my Twitter friend Chenoa, who works for Zina Hyde Cunningham Winery. It's always a pleasure to finally meet virtual wine friends in person, and Chenoa was as fun and bubbly in person as she is on Twitter.
After a few hours of tasting, chatting, a few bids on the silent auction, I reluctantly tore myself away to head back to North Sonoma, vowing next year to book a place to stay early (although with my growing cadre of Mendocino friends and wineries, perhaps not needed) and stay all 3 days. On Sundays, the wineries have open houses, but alas I had a 12 hour day of vineyard prep work ahead of me, so there was no wine playtime ahead for Simple Hedonisms.
Until next year….
My affinity for this wine region continues to grow. In 2 weeks I have the honor to attend a small writers work shop with icon Paul Dolan, and then in August, have been invited to be one of the judges in the Mendocino Count wine competition. Between trips there, and coming home to my loved Sonoma county and new farm/vineyard in Russian River Valley – my life seems full, and blessed indeed.
Thanks for reading Simple Hedonisms – cheers!