Each year on the night before the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) event held in McMinnville Oregon, several wineries stage big pre-dinner events. They pull out dozens of their premier and library wines along with the food (typically from a local restaurant or caterer) and entertainment.
David Adelsheim: An Oregon Wine Pioneer
Part of the attraction for us in signing up for this dinner was being able to meet David and Ginny. Both were open and unassuming and made you feel very welcome to their beautiful backyard overlooking, what else, a vineyard.
David began his career at Eyrie Winery and in Burgundy and founded his eponymous winery in 1971. He helped establish the Oregon Wine Board, worked with French and German scientists to share their clones with Oregon winemakers, and persuaded Oregon State University to import and work with these clones. Then, after Oregon Pinot Noirs trounced its French counterparts in 1979 and 1980 tastings, he worked to persuade France’s Domaine Drouhin (and even suggested the parcels of land on which they should plant) to open a Willamette Valley vineyard and winery to further demonstrate the worldwide credibility of Willamette Pinot Noirs.
It was also fascinating talking to winemakers from seven other vineyards (in Oregon California, France, and Germany) who attended and contributed their Sparkling wines, Chardonnays, and Pinot Noirs to the meal. These were Chisa Bize from Burgandy’s Domaine Simon Bize, and winemakers from Domaine Didier, Champagne Laurent-Perrier, Domaine Fornerol, Weingut J. Hofstätter, Brewer-Clifton, and Gran Moraine.
The event began with passed appetizers (accompanied by Laurent-Perrier champagne and Gran Moraine sparkling). It then proceeded to a three-course family-style dinner of salad, grilled bavette steak (with corn, tomatoes, spinach, and espelette crema), creamy polenta, a wonderful Oregon cheese plate (where we particularly enjoyed Briar Rose Creamery’s “Maia”) and a dessert of blueberry clafoutis with Cream Anglaise.
The dinner was very pleasant and the venue lovely. We shared some lovely wines with many new winemakers and attendee acquaintances. But while the seating area was shaded, it was still outdoors during the heat wave of 90-100-degree temperatures that would bedevil us through the entire weekend. Nor were we convinced that it justified the steep price tag. But heck, how often do you get to eat at the Adelsheim home?