I was thrilled to be asked to serve on the media committee for this year's International Pinot Noir Celebration. This is such a beautifully run event and it attracts top producers from around the world to McMinnville, Oregon for a weekend of incredible wine, food, hospitality and friendship. It was my first time attending the full weekend and I vowed never to miss it again!
Below are some highlights from that glorious weekend:
Burgundy Seminar with Allen Meadows
This was an amazing experience and timely since my husband and I were there this past spring. Burgundy is a place that requires much study and understanding given 1600+ climats, or specific delimited terroirs. In this seminar, we sampled wines from Domaine Lecheneaut, Maison Louis Jadot, Domaine Henri Gouges and Maison Ambroise. The wines that gave me most pause are as follows:
2006 Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru "Clos St. Jacques" - red brick color lead to aromas of stewed strawberry, slight smoke, pure rhubarb jam (is there such a thing?) with an outdoorsy quality of fresh rain and chalky soil. There were notes of soft worn leather and earth, and so many additional subtle flavors... The tannins were dusty and the mouthfeel was downright beautiful. The finish lingered -- it would have done so throughout the day if there weren't so many more wines to taste!
2008 Domaine Lecheneaut Chambolle-Musigny - deep red cherry color with bright aromas of fresh raspberry, clove, black cherry, moss, mocha and a hint of apricot juice. Wow, this wine had such a pretty minerality in the mouth with bright fruit, an interesting soft chalky texture and a long, pure finish.
2008 Maison Ambroise Echezeaux Grand Cru - a wine full of flavor and complexity including smoke, pepper, oregano, wood spice, earth, fresh meadow, pepperoni and tons of fresh raspberry. Extraordinary finish.
The Fine Dining/Meals/Cuisine
A detailed description would take 1000s of words... The main point here is that the culinary delights are a major highlight of this event. From the breakfasts with fresh fruit (the biggest berries I've ever seen) to the al fresco lunches and dinners catered by top chefs and served by professional sommeliers, the cuisine is not overshadowed by the very fine wine. Every morsel was more delicious than the next. This is an incredible accomplishment when you consider that there are nearly 1000 attendees to serve -- all with high expectations. The entire chorus of chefs, servers and winemakers puts on a fun grand finale for the Sunday brunch where this year's sommeliers dressed in Greek fashion -- some taking the toga party theme to a fantastic level.
Connecting with Friends Old and New
IPNC was the first major event I attended when we moved to the Portland area in 2008. I volunteered during the lunches and was thus introduced to what has become a wonderful tradition. In the last five years, I've had the pleasure of meeting many talented colleagues in the industry, and taking time to relax and enjoy each other's company is always a treat.
Supporting Two Great Clients
Bill Stoller, Owner of Stoller Vineyards, served as Chairman of IPNC during this event, and he did a terrific job encouraging the crowd and representing the industry. I've had the pleasure of working with his team for the last three years. Stoller is the largest contiguous property in the Dundee Hills AVA with nearly 200 acres under vine on its 373-acres. The winery is a leader in pioneering environmental sustainability, and is this month celebrating a new name (Stoller Family Estate), new tasting room and winemaker, Melissa Burr's 10th vintage.
A newer client, Ghost Hill Cellars, debuted at this year's event. Mike and Drenda Bayliss, co-owners, presented their wines alongside winemaker, Rebecca Pittock-Shouldis. It was a thrill to see them recognized for a top accomplishment in a relatively short period of time. Ghost Hill Cellars is located on Savannah Ridge in Yamhill-Carlton's AVA. The property has been in the Bayliss family for over 100 years.
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