I am standing in line with a couple hundred people. We are not here for Taylor Swift or to audition for the Voice, we are here celebrating Pinot Noir at a salmon bake under a grove of old mossy oak trees and strings of hundreds of romantic white lanterns. The line is long and surging forward. It’s slightly reminiscent of “the running of the Bulls” although instead of getting gored someone gives you Pinot Noir. It’s a win win over here, and I’m slightly thinking Spain should change the way they do things.
My friends and I are strategizing over our plan of attack or shall I say, how to gain residence together at a prime table when the ribbon is cut and everyone makes a play for tables and slightly wondering why we don’t have a glass of wine in our hand while standing in the Running of the Bulls AKA salmon bake AKA International Pinot Noir Celebration AKA IPNC. (phew, I need a drink)! http://www.ipnc.org
All of us are either crazy or brilliant because we have just spent the weekend at a conference dedicated to Pinot Noir. Did you hear me? No kids screaming, no whining, no bizarre questions, just me, Pinot and the hundreds of other Pinot-crazed people around me. Have I gone to heaven? Nope. Just to Oregon. Before I give my major recap on the event and the weekend to which I have so much to say (what? I’m not chatty . . .) I’ll give you a little teaser! My BFF, Traci, and I have so many stories from the weekend, because Pinot crazed people are pretty awesome or maybe we were just were kidless and crazy. Either way, we have stories and might have bribed a few people for good Pinot.
The allure to PN, is founded on a respectful appreciation for the art of developing a good wine despite an uncooperative environment. Pinot Noir is a finicky grape, it’s thin skinned, and everything under the sun can go wrong when your growing the grape. Everything. But, the grape is passionate, expressive and elegant when it’s made well and completely underwhelming when it’s bad. As Jancis Robinson so brilliantly put it “it’s a minx of a vine”. I admit I am completely star struck with Burgundy (Pinot Noir). My love affair started years ago, maybe because it is sensitive to the elements and I can appreciate the elegance and expression, just like watching a ‘pas de deux in perfect succession.
In reality, it’s like when ‘mother of the year’ over here can get three kids, dressed, bathed, fed, lunches packed, and hair brushed (let’s not push it with teeth brushing) in perfect unison, that’s a perfect Pinot. Weather, soil, no rain at harvest, great terroir expression and body, tannin and acid come together, it’s called perfection. And that is what has brought all these people together. There are no enemies, no playground fights, just a huge love fest of Pinot.