2014 Pinot Days by Rusty Sly

I know that I say this every year but the Pinot Days event is something that you do not want to miss. This year, the 6th Annual Pinot Days Southern California wine tasting event was held at the Skirball Center on November 15. This facility is gorgeous, offering a flavor of elegance and character for the numerous vintners to display their wines. The producer of the event, Steve Rigisich, and his entire staff did a marvelous job putting together such a fantastic venue to taste this noble wine varietal.

Santa Claritan Gloria Stahly at Del Dotto.
Santa Claritan Gloria Stahly at Del Dotto.

This year there were wines from California, Oregon, New Zealand, Chile, and other parts of the world. Such an array of terroirs to sample allowing us to learn the difference and develop an appreciation of this unique wine from different regions. Even within California you had the opportunity to smell and taste the differences in Pinot Noirs from Santa Barbara and Santa Lucia Highlands to Russian River. They are quite different.

To add to this complexity, there are 43 certified Dijon Pinot Noir clones but due to genetic instability there could be from 200 to over a 1,000 clone variations. Talking with different vintners, I was amazed at all of the different clones that were being used and why they selected specific ones. Does this set the stage for what you can get from this beautiful varietal?

As noted by tasting different Pinot Noirs at this event, you can have a beautiful light and elegant Burgundian style to a chewy deep full bodied wine that coats your entire palate. So many variations based on all of the different influences. The bottom line is that no matter what your palate desires you can find it in Pinot Noir.

I found it interesting that there was a high proportion of lighter Burgundian style Pinots, but that may have been due to my personal selection at the event. Pinot Noir flavors often times are much more than the color leads you to believe. The grape is capable of producing flavors such as cherries, strawberries and raspberries and with age, it can produce aromas of game, licorice, and autumnal undergrowth in certain Pinot Noirs. These earthy aromatics along with the silky texture create the sensual reputation for which Pinot Noirs are widely known.

Below is a list of Wineries and Representatives in attendance:

Attune Wines, August West, Belle Glos Wines, Bucher Vineyard Wines, Calista, Cargasacchi, Cellars 33, Cornerstone Cellars Oregon, Crate Big ideas, Davis Bynum Wines, Del Dotto, DeLoach Vineyards, Dolin Family Cellars, Domaine Chandon, Donelan Family Wines, FEL Wines, Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, Foley Family Wines, Furthermore Pinot Noir, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Ken Brown Wines, Kendric Vineyards, Kenneth Volk Vineyards, LunaOlivo, MacPhail Family Wines, Martin Ray Winery, Martinelli Winery, Monterey Chocolate Company, Navarro Vineyards, New Zealand Winegrowers, Pali Wine Company, Papapietro Perry Winery, Philo Ridge Vineyards, Ritual, Romililly Wines, Rusack Vineyards, Sanford Winery, Siduri Wines, Sojourn Cellars, Sokol Blosser Winery, Stoller Family Estate, Tantara Wines, Test Winery, The Wine House, Thorne Wine, Trombetta Family Wines, Van Duzer Vineyards and Wrath.

This event, as always, was extremely memorable. The bonding and friendships developed around a single item called wine is irreplaceable. At this event I ran into many people both tasters and Vintners, that I have grown to know over the years.

The one message that I would like to share on a personal note is that we ALL need to support and help these individuals that provide us with wines to enjoy. However, more importantly, we need to support and thank the people like Steve Rigisich who relentlessly challenges obstacles to make this event happen. I also want to extend my thanks to his entire team for a job well done. I tip a glass to you all.

As a closing, I would like to share a quote from Appellation America’s on Pinot Noir, ” You’re beautiful…a goddess…but so exasperating! Loving you is like worshiping an unfaithful temptress! As often as you’ve disappointed us with your undependable ways, you always seem to draw us back. Your alluring beauty and elegance leave us helpless and forgiving of all your moodiness. So long disdainful of any place outside of your home on the golden slopes of Burgundy, we’ve learned to pacify your temperamental nature with brisk coastal breezes and hillside vistas of the New World. Perhaps now you will grace us with all the charm and beauty that has kept the Burgundians devoted to you for centuries.”

Use the link below to get a feel for the size and excitement of this annual event.



Rusty Sly