International Pinot Noir Celebration Part II 3 min read

IPNC’s most well-known event would have to be The Traditional Northwest Salmon Bake held on Saturday night at Oak Grove.


Guests nosh on Alder Roasted River King Salmon which is prized as one of the best in the world with its mild yet supple flavors and velvety texture, as well as Carlton Farms smoked pork ribs with pickled strawberry BBQ sauce and Painted Hills New York strip loins, hardwood & mesquite charcoal grilled, with spring onion vinaigrette.


A half-dozen fresh salads laid out buffet style feature Mixed Oregon Berry, Glass noodle, Mushroom and Artichoke, Pea, Summer Bean and Grilled Vegetable provide a healthful side dish to the opulent proteins.  A staggering array of desserts include Blackberry Remy Beneficio Pie Pops and Lemon Apricot Apple Martini. In the mood for a little spicy kick? Jalapeno peach pie coming right up!


The defining feature of the event however is wine sharing. In the best Burgundy traditions guests and vintner hosts bring their prized cellar possessions and walk around with bottles happily sharing the sort of bottles some of which you may only see once in a lifetime.


And of course the dancing under the stars is not to be underestimated.


Salmon bake ticket price? $175.


Sitting around the fire left over from roasting salmon sharing your best bottle of wine with perfect strangers who became your new best friends in the last few hours? Priceless.


My highlights:


Anne Amie Vineyards’ Counter Culture wine and food event



The beautiful landscape of Anne Amie Vineyards.

An exuberant, light-hearted gathering, complete with live entertainment and wine offerings from many wineries that included Breggo, Saintsbury, Robert Kacher, Anthill Farms, Big Table Farm, and of course, Anne Amie.  A discovery worth highlighting was Cuvee A Muller Thurgau – a Swiss/German Riesling varietal with notes of citrus and stone fruit framed by pretty floral aromatics.


How does Conchinita Pibil Taco sound? “Tender Pork, slow roasted in banana leaves with achiote topped with pickled red onions, cilantro, queso”  Or a Hot Thawt? “Crispy broken crepe with steamed fresh mussels, eggs, garlic chives & bean sprouts, served with Shark Sri Racha sauce”  And  a good old-fashioned crawfish boil doesn’t hurt either. Every wine was paired with a sumptuous dish topped by gourmet coffee and three flavors of out-of this world, homemade ice cream.


The evening culminated in watching flamethrowers under a canopy of a myriad stars, swaying in the hammock to the tunes of DJ Duo (incidentally one of the best DJs I’ve ever heard) and a feeling of complete sated bliss.


“Passport to Pinot” event on Sunday:


Held in Oak Grove, the same venue as the previous night’s Salmon Bake, was largely attended by locals.  Cleverly split into two tranches, it was a sight to behold. I counted 38 non-Oregon wineries and 36 Oregon offerings,  as well a generous selection of IPNC flagship Pinot Noir “library” wines.



Chevre marionberry habanero ice-cream

This event featured top-notch Northwest chefs. I was impressed by both quality and vast variety of offerings such as:


  • a “smoking goat” sandwich (calamata olive bread, PBJ almond butter, Carton Farms bacon, goat cheese, apricot jam)
  •  to ultra-sophisticated Carrot salad with dandeloin salsa verde, fiore sardo, charred scallions,
  • wood roasted padrons stuffed with Baird Farms peach chutney
  • bharat spiced Anderson Ranch grilled lamb kebabs
  • coffee ice-cream macaroons
  • chevre marionberry habanero ice cream


The wines presented were mostly 2010 and 2011, both uniquely challenging vintages that showcased the winemaking chops of some rock star brands.


Big California standouts featured: Anthill Farms, Bonaccorsi, Breggo, Failla, Flowers, Gary Farrell and Saintsbury.


Noteworthy Oregon offerings: Adelsheim, Argyle, Big Table, Cristom, Erath, Lemelson, Lumos, Soter, and Winderlea (you can read more on them in my Willamette Valley Part IV piece)


Ilona Thompson

Ilona Thompson is Editor-in-Chief at PalateXposure, a destination site for oenophiles, gourmands and luxury travelers. She also recently launched #Wine, a site dedicated to wines and spirits reviews, and #Photography, a site devoted to high-quality wine, food, and travel related photography.

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