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The Pinot Noir Summit: February 10th, San Francisco

Every January, unbeknownst to most wine consumers, a group of wine writers, sommeliers, and other wine industry professionals spend many the entire month doing nothing but tasting Pinot Noir. Over many successive days, through rigorous double-blind tastings, these judges whittle down hundreds of Pinot Noirs from all over the world to a select final few.

This process is called the Pinot Noir Shootout, and it is put on every year by an organization called Affairs of The Vine. I have participated as a judge for the last two years and lived to tell the tale. It's a pretty difficult process. Unlike normal wine judging where judges must simply apply a score to each of hundreds of wines, judges for the Shootout must do careful sensory analysis and record full and robust tasting notes for every wine they taste. It's rough going, but someone's gotta do it.

The cool thing about the process is that at the end, the public gets to taste the results at an event called the Pinot Noir Summit, which happens to be going on this Saturday at the Officer's club in Fort Mason. Along with the opportunity to taste blind the top 40 wines from all of the judging sessions held throughout January as well as hundreds of other Pinot Noirs, participants can also attend their choice of two different seminars, all the while snacking on various bites and nibbles from local food purveyors.

This event has a distinctly different format and atmosphere from most of the other public wine tasting events on offer in San Francisco. If you ever wanted to know what it's like to be a judge at a wine tasting, this might be an opportunity for you to give it a try without the commitment and responsibility. Or you could just go drink some good Pinot.

The Fifth Annual Pinot Noir Summit
Saturday, February 10, 2007 ~ Noon to 7:30 p.m.
The Officers' Club
1 Fort Mason (Franklin and Bay streets)
San Francisco, CA

Tickets are $100.00 per Person and can be purchased online. The ticket price includes attendance to two workshops. Current offerings (subject to change at the last minute) include:

Here Comes the Clone ~ Discussion and tasting
Food and Pinot Noir Pairing ~ An exploration of the classic pairings
The Fashion of Pinot Noir ~ Who's driving the fashion?
A Question of Style ~ Winemaker panel will discuss their "style" and tasting
Discover the Velvet ~ A Vertical Tasting
Understanding Pinot Envy ~ Identifying Aromas & Flavors in Pinot Noir
Discovering New Stars ~ An introduction and tasting of wines
Location, Location, Location ~ An exploration of appellations

Comments (7)

Tim S wrote:
02.06.07 at 10:17 AM

Tough slogging there, Alder, give it your best. Seriously, will anyone have/publish the list of the top 40 pinots as determined by the judges? Too bad I don't live in SF or I'd be there in a second.

Tim S wrote:
02.06.07 at 10:18 AM

Tough slogging there, Alder, give it your best. Seriously, will anyone have/publish the list of the top 40 pinots as determined by the judges? Too bad I don't live in SF or I'd be there in a second.

Alder wrote:
02.06.07 at 2:05 PM

Thanks Tim! I'm not sure what the list of the top 40 is, but it will certainly be published after the event on the Affairs of the Vine site.

victoria wrote:
02.09.07 at 8:17 AM

This would be a dream event for me, beeing a pinot lover... To bad I can't make it over to San Fransicso this weekend. Will it be around the same time next year? If so I will have to put it in my calnder...

PB wrote:
02.10.07 at 2:32 AM

Curious if you have been to this event before and if you feel that the wine/information presented is worth the admission price for an average wine lover? Thanks

Alder wrote:
02.10.07 at 5:01 PM


Sorry it's a bit late for me to respond as this event is going on as we speak. I've been and it is a good event, however whether it is "worth it" is something that is completely personal and subjective. I would pay $100 for it, but I would also pay $100 for a good bottle of wine I really wanted in a restaurant. To many people that would be far too much.

I hope you went and will give us a report, as I could not attend this year.

tom merle wrote:
02.17.07 at 7:59 PM

This will hurt, but... our favorite ticket agency Goldstarevents offered tickets for half price plus $8 fee.

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