Pinot Days 2013, as with Pinot Days of previous years, was a huge success. It never ceases to amaze me how many vintners, both small and large, attend this event to pour their creations for those who come to taste these wines. The wineries that are present at Pinot Days range from very small boutique wineries that produce only a few hundred cases to the well established wineries that produce thousands of cases.
My mission for the 2013 Pinot Days festival was to focus on the lesser known, or smaller, wineries. These smaller wineries are usually family run and produce limited allocations of their product. Many times, they only have a couple of wines at their booths. These families/wineries struggle to provide the best possible wine they can even in these difficult and challenging times. It is basically a battle to survive in a market dominated by large wineries that have deep pockets or partners. There is nothing wrong with this but I find a deeper passion with the smaller wineries. I was thrilled at the 2013 Pinot Days to meet the families and owners of many small wineries where the pride in their wines were noticed and, as with David and Goliath, were not afraid to step forward and showcase their products next to the well established Pinot Noir producers. That’s confidence for what you are doing and love of your product.
The Pinot Noir grape is extremely difficult to grow and even tougher to produce. Add to this the fact that there are over a 1000 different clones of Pinot Noir grapes each having their own unique characteristics producing this wine comes with great challenges. Throw in varying terroirs and the sky is the limit for diversity in color, aroma and flavor. Attending an event like Pinot Days these influences and differences are quite evident. The diversity in flavors of Pinot Noir wines provide something for everyone. Some people gravitate toward the big bold Pinot Noirs that would make converts out of the Cabernet Sauvignon drinkers and yet others tend to select and enjoy the lighter more elegant Burgundian style. Flavors can range from dark cherries, bright cherries to cranberries, strawberry, etc. All I can say is that this is a fantastic varietal that provides an ecstasy in aromas and flavors. The great thing is that it offers something for everyone to enjoy. Pinot Noir is even a great stepping stone for someone wanting to move into reds but are not yet ready for the big, bold tannic Cabernet Sauvignons that most diehard red drinkers enjoy.
One of the thrills for me at Pinot Days was to go to a vintner that had produced Pinot Noir wine from different vineyards, regions or clones. This allows one to compare the terroir and clone differences as the vintner was the same for all of the wines. My feeling is that one could spend a life time learning about this unique varietal.
Another thing that I noticed as I spoke with various vintners at Pinot Days is that they are like one big family at this event. They helped each other at the show and always spoke highly of each other. I never once saw any of the participants interjecting negative comments about their colleges, whether they be big or small. That to me is spectacular and shows the comradery of these people. Pinot Days 2013 had over 100 examples from Oregon to Santa Rita Hills in California. Below is only a partial list of Exhibitors that were noted on the Pinot Days website:
Ancient Oak Cellars, August West, Blair Estate, Cargasacchi Wines, Domaine Chandon, Donelan Family Wines, Double Bond, Emeritus Vineyards, Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, FOXEN, Fritz Winery, Gros Ventre Cellars, Hahn Estate, Inman Family Wines, J Vineyards & Winery, Ken Brown Wines, Kendric Vineyards, Kenneth Volk Vineyards, La Follette Wines, Loring Wine Company, MacMurray Ranch, MacPhail Family Wines, Martinelli Winery, Meiomi , Morgan Winery, New Zealand Winegrowers, Pali Wine Company, Reuling Vineyard, Romililly Wines, Rusack Vineyards, Saintsbury, Scherrer Winery, Siduri Wines, Sojourn Cellars, Sokol Blosser Winery, The Wine Check, Thomas Fogarty Winery, Thomas George Estates, Thorne Wine, Trombetta Family Wines, VinVillage.com, Waits-Mast Family Cellars, Wren Hop Vineyards and Z’IVO Wines.
I would definitely put this event on the calendar for 2014. Not only for the pure enjoyment of trying so many fantastic Pinot Noirs but also to support the cause. The smaller vintners rely on word of mouth and this event helps consumers to discover them. With production less than a few hundred cases and all of the overhead expenses, these vintners need our support. We also need to support the sponsors of Pinot days in this ever challenging business world. There are so many items that must be resolved to put on such a spectacular event. But one thing is for certain, they put on one of the best wine festivals around year after year.
Thank you to all the vintners, trades and general public who attended as that is what makes this event such a success. Wine connoisseurs are one big family, let’s support them and I will see you at the next Pinot Days.
Some of my favorites: