Every year in late July, pinot noir lovers from every corner gather at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon to pay tribute to their favorite grape. A Mecca for oenophiles, the International Pinot Noir Celebration is a spectacular, almost surreal, weekend filled with vineyard tours, educational seminars, al fresco tastings, and gourmet meals. The Daily Sip® had the pleasure of attending last week. Here are five things we learned:
1. Vine age matters.
Allen Meadows (AKA the “Burghound”) led a panel featuring barrel samples from four of Oregon’s great estates. Each winery provided one sample of wine from old pinot noir vines and one from young plantings. The younger vine samples were opulent, fruit-forward, and fuller bodied. The wines from older vines were softer, nuanced, and more savory.
2. Pinot noir really adds body to sparkling wine.
They say in Champagne that chardonnay adds elegance and finesse, pinot meunier offers fruit character, and pinot noir contributes structure and body. After tasting from all three grapes at IPNC and blending them together ourselves, the adage rings true.
3. Don’t count out Italy.
At the seminar entitles “The Nuances of Alto Adige,” we explored pinot noir from four top producers in Italy’s most northern wine region. Alto Adige pinot noir is one of Italy’s hidden treasures.
4. Don’t forget South Africa!
South Africa is not typically thought of as pinot territory, and only one winery represented the country at IPNC this year. That being said, Hamilton Russell’s pinot noir was exceptional. They offered hints of rosemary and mint, with a sumptuous velvety texture – a wine well worth seeking out.
5. Good pinot pairs best with great friends.
Perhaps the most magical experience at IPNC is being in the company of fellow pinot enthusiasts. There’s something truly special about tasting with people who have journeyed across the world to come to learn about great wine. This camaraderie is most apparent during the Saturday evening Salmon Bake, a signature event where IPNC opens special bottles from its libraries and guests uncork their prized pinot possessions to share with their new friends.
Does this sound like the wine event you’ve been dreaming of? Click HERE to register for IPNC 2016!
Photo Credit: International Pinot Noir Celebration