Farallon Restaurant has a long tradition of hosting an annual pinot noir tasting that draws pinot producers from around the U.S. and, less regularly, from other countries.
It continued this tradition with its November 2019 PinotFest tasting. We attended the trade tasting on the day before the consumer tasting. We tasted more than 100 wines from over 50 top California and Oregon producers and this year, more than a dozen wines from “Down Under”. A table of cheese and charcuteries, as well as a regular supply of passed appetizers complimented the wines. Proceeds benefited The Watershed Project (which educates people on and protects the state’s watersheds). And let’s not forget the benefit of finding some very nice pinot noirs.
We Love Pinot Noirs
Pinot Noir is a very versatile wine and pairs with a wide range of foods. It is our go-to bottle of wine when one of us is eating fish and one of us is eating a meat-based dish.
Before highlighting some of the wines we particularly enjoyed at PinotFest2019, we should mention some of the characteristics we most look for in a Pinot Noir. Our tastes tend to run towards full-bodied, well extracted, complex, well-balanced wines with light tannins. We particularly appreciate a seamless blending of earth flavors (such as herbs and ideally subtle mushroom and leather) and relatively subdued darker fruits (ideally black cherry and blackberry). We are most interested in wines that are best suited for drinking within two or three years.
Some of the pinots that we particularly liked include:
- Alma Rosa 2017 Bentrock Vineyard
- Bonasccorsi 2016 Sebastiano Vineyard
- Christom Vineyards 2017 Jessie’s Vineyard
- Domaine Drouhin 2016 Dundee Hills and Laurene
- Dutton-Goldfield Winery Devil’s Gulch and Docker Hill
- Hartford Family Winery 2016 Zena Crown
- Melville Winery 2009 Terrace Vineyard
- Mount Difficulty (New Zealand) 2016
- Peay Vineyards 2017 Pomerian Estate
- Soter Vineyards 2017 Willamette Valley, North Valley, North Valley Reserve and Mountain Springs Vineyard
- Testarossa 2016 2016 Gary’s Vineyard
- Thomas Fogarty 2014 Rapley Trail Vineyard
- Twomey 2017 Dundee Hills
- WALT 2016 Clos Pepe Vineyard
- WillaKenzie 2017 Yamhill-Carlton
And we are always on the lookout to finding some good price/value wines. This time we found some contenders:
- Soter Vineyards Planet Oregon 2017 Willamette Valley ($20)
- Soter Vineyards North Valley ($36)
- WALT 2016 Clos Pepe Vineyard ($40)
- WillaKenzie 2017 Yamhill-Carlton ($30)