Wine Lover’s Guide to Top Five Pinot Noir Events
There is Something About Pinot…
There are more events dedicated to Pinot Noir in this country than any other grape variety. Despite its relatively small market share (due to limited volume produced) its popularity in certain wine circles is unrivaled. Pinot Noir lovers are a fiercely loyal and dedicated group. Both on the consumption and the production side, Pinot Noir attracts a definite type of wine enthusiast. Some call them imaginative, enlightened, esoteric, even odd. I call them my best friends. Pinot People share a special bond that is hard to describe but easy to experience, and assimilate.
Pinot Noir is a transparent grape capable of being transcendent, candid, and authentic; a grape that often evokes deep attachment. It is the only variety that technically cannot be corrected in the cellar, blended up or down. If you make a mistake with Pinot Noir, you own it for the life of the wine. I am convinced that it shows winemaking errors and awkwardness more than any other. It also is quite capable of elevating the wine tasting experience to the highest highs. There is an inherent mystical quality to this elusive, emotive, evocative grape that leaves most creatively aware individuals in awe.
May 20 – 22, 2016
The event offers a technical conference, several dinners and a signature walk-around tasting featuring growers, vintners and wineries that grow or source fruit from Anderson Valley. Set against a majestic backdrop of serene, breathtaking Valley views, this unique and intimate affair showcases what this relatively remote, yet viticulturally superb, spot can deliver.
June 18 (San Francisco); November 21 (Southern California); April 16 (Chicago); January 23 (New York City), 2016
Lisa and Steve Rigisich’s long-standing love affair with Pinot resulted in a festival featuring several dozen producers from the US (and some from around the world) presenting hundreds of Pinot Noirs. Launched in San Francisco, the event is now being held in three other US cities and enjoys a staunchly loyal following. The diversity of offerings gives consumers unprecedented access to comparing, regions, styles and winemaking philosophies.
d in San Francisco, the event is now being held in three other US cities and enjoys a staunchly loyal following.
PinotFest (Farallon Restaurant in San Francisco)
November 21st, 2015
Peter Palmer is the Peter Pan of the Pinot world. A dreamer, visionary, consummate optimist, wine director at Farallon in San Francisco for the past 15 years, he put together an event that boasts a waiting list for wineries to get into. While most organizers typically invite and/or petition purveyors, Palmer’s event is so incredibly successful, it boldly flies in the face of convention. Pinot vintners from North to South eagerly show up, bearing their best bottles. The event’s wines will keep you flying high long after the glasses are put away.
NY: Feb 9th 2016 Sebastopol: TBD 2016
West of West is a heartfelt affair that showcases crème de la crème of West Sonoma “extreme” Coast, with Pinot Noir signifying the majority of the wines poured. That said, this year I have tasted some mind-bending Chardonnays, predominantly from stellar 2013 vintage.
The seminars are typically very informative, featuring local grower and producer talent. Great dinners, lunches, and plethora of phenomenal Pinot Noir in a casual, intimate setting.
March 4th – 6th, 2016
Founded 15 years ago by Brian Talley of Talley Vineyards, this event was originally held in picturesque Pismo Beach. It was subsequently transferred to the lovely Santa Barbara Bacara Resort. The geography may have changed, but the spirit of the event stayed status quo. A literal world of Pinot Noir welcomes consumers and trade into a weekend non-stop Pinot extravaganza. Opulent lunches and dinners, signature seminars, two days of wide-ranging walk around tastings with dozens of top producers from around the globe; what more could a Pinot lover’s heart desire?