Although Joyce and I enjoy most varietals, we particularly love pinot noir. It is delicate, picks up slight nuances in the terroir and can be adapted to many different styles. Just as importantly for us, it is the most versatile wine for pairing with different types of foods.
While ideal with dishes such as turkey, many pinots have the acidity to work with rich foods, the earthiness to pair with lighter and leaner meats (like veal, pork, lamb and game) and are often light and fruity enough to work with many types of fish and fowl. This typically allows us to order one wine to go with any dish either of us may choose to order.
The week of June 12 was as close to Pinot Heaven as we could get in the city:
- Monday the 13th saw the Taste of Mendocino come to Fort Mason. While the event highlighted everything Mendocino, from inns, to restaurants, to activities and beers, it also featured dozens of Anderson Valley wines. And since this region is so well suited to Pinot, it was very well represented;
Then came Pinot Days, a three-day long celebration of everything Pinot:
- Thursday the 16th was the night for the joint Pinot Days-American Institute of Wine and Food Table Hop dinner. This year’s dinner, which was held at Scala’s Bistro, began with a reception with half a dozen Pinot vintners tasting some of their nicest reserve and single-vineyard wines. A five-course dinner followed, with each course paired with two different pinots and explanations of the wines and pairings. (In case you are wondering, “Table Hop” refers to the ways in which winemakers switch tables after each course, so diners have a chance to speak with multiple vintners.)
- Friday the 17th was the day for specialized blind tastings. Joyce and I chose the Oregon tastings, in which 16 of the state’s premier vintners poured blind tastings of 16 different Pinots, which were critiqued and rated by participants, before the wines were revealed and discussed, and questions answered by the winemaker.
- Saturday the 18th was the Grand Festival, during which about 200 growers tasted more than 500 different wines for approximately 3,000 people, in a two-stage event—the first for trade and the second for the general public.
While survival of the week required enormous sacrifice and self-discipline, it was well worth it. The problem is, that we now have to wait 52 weeks for our next Pinot Week.
Or do we? Perhaps, if we just can’t wait, we could travel to:
- McMinville Oregon for this week’s Pinot Camp celebration of Oregon Pinots;
- Chicago (mid-November) or Los Angeles (mid-January) for their own Pinot Worlds: or
- Shell Beach. California for the annual March 2-4 World of Pinot Noir blowout.
And this does not even include the dozens of smaller and appellation-specific events in the U.S. or the literally hundreds of events in the world’s other pinot regions. If you really want to keep your Pinot tasting buds sharp, check out these events at Burghound.com.