Who Makes Better Pinot Noir – Oregon or California?

pinotNoirBottleAnswers are passionate and varied depending on who you talk to. And don’t think that it’s based on where you reside geographically. Plenty of folks in California might answer “Oregon, hands down” while folks in Oregon might secretly be pining for Russian River Valley Pinot Noir in California.

Bill Daley from the Chicago Tribune recently put the age old battle to test and asked readers for their opinions and comments. One reader said “I have to say I’m partial to Oregon pinots. And I live in California! Is that sacrilege?” See what other folks had to say here and of course find out who won.

PIGS & PINOT

PigsPinot2010

It’s back and sounds better than ever – Pigs & Pinot 2010 on March 19th, 20th hosted at Hotel Healdsburg and noted Chef Charlie Palmer of Dry Creek Kitchen.  Joining him this year is:

  • Tyler Florence (Cookbook Author, Food Network)
  • Kevin Gillespie (Woodfire Grill & Top Chef finalist)
  • Bryan Voltaggio (Volt restaurant & Top Chef finalist)
  • Roland Passot (La Folie restaurant)
  • Dustin Valette (Dry Creek Kitchen Chef de Cuisine)

Apparently the packages are already sold out and only a few tickets will be available next week on January 21st.  One wonders if they are artificially creating demand or if it’s just that popular.  Of course, one can’t go wrong in pairing pork and pinot - a perfect combination.  Go to the WineCountry.com Travel Blog for more details on each Pigs & Pinot event throughout the upcoming March weekend.

Leading Pinot Noir Producer Launches Willamette Valley Vineyards Wine Center

MCMINNVILLE, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oregon’s Wine Country adventurers will soon have a new resource when sipping their way through the Willamette Valley. Willamette Valley Vineyards (WVV) is launching an offshoot of the winery, the Willamette Valley Vineyards Wine Center, located in historic downtown McMinnville.

The Willamette Valley Vineyards Wine Center, which opens to the public the weekend prior to Thanksgiving on Nov. 21 and 22, intends to serve as an informational hub for the Willamette Valley wine community. The wine center will feature concierge staff members who will be available to help visitors plan and maximize their visit with tour route suggestions, local tour and tasting reservations, and offer dining and lodging recommendations. The center hopes to bring tourism to the city of McMinnville as well as to the surrounding region.

In addition to help planning the trip, the wine center will also provide an educational experience for the consumer. Daily complimentary, reserve and comparative wine tasting will be served as guests are encouraged to explore the center’s displays, including offering AVA (American Viticultural Area) maps, soil samples, information on sustainable growing practices, and rolling images of the valley projected on a nine-foot by five-foot screen.

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Cognitive Deliciousness

glass-of-pinotby Deirdre Bourdet

In social psychology class we learn that people tend to like things (and people) that compliment them, because of course everyone thinks they’re great and loves to have that confirmed.  I’ve noticed this principle holds up in the food and wine context, too—wines and flavors that flatter the foods we already like become our new favorites.
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International Pinot Noir Celebration 2009

by Dierdre Bourdet

I love the IPNC… three days of virtually uninterrupted eating and drinking in Oregon wine country with amazing chefs, international winemakers, astonishingly delicious local foods, and a couple hundred kindred spirits who also love such things.

My past experiences at the event suggest that the acronym carries additional hidden meaning.

“I” is for the intensity of the grueling daily schedule of feasting, wine tasting and al fresco relaxation.

“P” is for the unspeakable pleasures awaiting you on lunchtime vineyard visits with Oregon’s finest chefs, during every magical evening dégustation, and on the morning breakfast buffet.

“N” is for the stunning natural beauty of the Willamette Valley summer, which you find on your plate at every meal.

“C” is for the lemon juice cleanse you will need by the time you roll away on Sunday afternoon.

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Filet Mignon w/ Pinot Noir Sauce

Sounds like it would be good. But then again, so do book titles until you start actually reading them!  Though, according to Scott Hargrove’s profile, he is a private chef, caterer, and food consultant. Check out the video for his  recipe “Filet Mignon w/ Pinot Noir Sauce” and see what you think.

Affordable Pinot Noirs from Chile

buy-chilemwdPinot Noir is great to have with friends who (1) have beginner’s red wine palates and the Cabs of the world are just too much for them AND (2)  guzzle wine like beer making you wonder why you served it in the first place.  But alas, at my age, you typically still have friends in both categories at your little parties, so accomodating both is a must.  In addition, Pinot pairs well with a host of foods. But more importantly, it doesn’t require me to break my piggy bank.  For about $15 to $20, I can find a bottle of Pinot Noir that most of my friends will appreciate and still drinkable for me too!

Two such recommendations are both from Maule Valley, Chile and available through My Wines Direct:

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Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival

event-andersonvalleyAnderson Valley in Mendocino Wine Country is known for producing great tasting Pinot Noirs!  Thus, it only makes sense that they have a festival dedicated to this varietal every year.  Mark your calendars for May 15 -17, 2009. 

Whether you make a day trip or spend the entire weekend, you’re sure to have some fun tasting wine from scores of Pinot Noir producers and enjoying local cuisine. 

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Pinot Days 2009 in San Francisco

event-pinotdaysDive into Pinot Noir in San Francisco at the upcoming annual Pinot Days in San Francisco June 24th – 28th, 2009.  Taste a wide variety of Pinot from producers from various wine regions. Attend winemaker dinners, focus tastings, tours, and much more.  If you can’t attend any of the other events throughout this long weekend of Pinot, definitely eek out some time for the Grand Tasting on Sunday.  Seedetails below:

Sunday’s Grand Tasting will showcase 200 producers of pinot noir. This is California’s largest single gathering of pinot producers, as well as its most varied. Consumers will be able to sample up to 400 pinots from every important region in California, Oregon, New Zealand, and Burgundy. As Freeman, August West and Sandler winemaker Ed Kurtzman says, “For anyone who already loves Pinot, this is an excellent opportunity to try many new wines as well as some well-established favorites. For those who don’t have a lot of Pinot experience, my bet is that they’ll be in love with this grape by the end of the weekend.”

Meet Ed, Wes Hagen, Adam Lee, Kathleen Inman, Fred Scherrer, Jeff Fink and so many others, enjoy the countless pinots and sample a variety of artisan cheeses & other specialty foods. We will feature a pinot production demonstration in which attendees can learn about the making of pinot from the vine to bottling and every step in between. We will also offer a number of pinots for auction, benefiting various charities.

For more information – www.pinotdays.com

Pinot Noir: Sensuality In A Bottle

featured-sensualityinbottle1by Richard Paul Hinkle
(WDC Sensual PN 309)

If you are uncomfortable with sensuality—your own, that of others—you might want to skip forward a page or two.  You see, when Pinot Noir is the subject, sensuality naturally flows to the forefront.  Where the wines of Cabernet Sauvignon (including those from Bordeaux) are flavor-driven wines, those made from Pinot Noir are distinctively texture-driven.  Wines made from the red Burgundian template are clearly, happily wines of suppleness and sulkiness, wines suggestive of silk peignoirs and satin sheets.

Pinot Noir is, in short, liquid sensuality.  It is about wines whose lingering, languid textural attributes are nearly lascivious, even libidinous in nature.  So if you are faint of heart, or easily offended, you might want to flick the page.  Now.

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