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07.31.2007

IPNC 2007: Al Fresco Tasting Notes

walk_around_ipnc07.jpgDAY TWO (continued): At the 2007 International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon's Willamette Valley, every afternoon features a walk-around wine tasting "al fresco" outside in the shade of some of the beautiful trees that dot the campus of Linfield College. Wineries and their winemakers take turns pouring their wines each day at these tastings, offering an interesting opportunity to taste Oregon, French, New Zealand, and Californian Pinot Noirs side-by-side.

As opposed to many public tastings where the people standing behind the table are only marketing staff for the winery, or even worse, just friends that have been pressed into service to pour for the masses, the folks at the IPNC tables are almost always the winemaker, the winery owner, or both.

Unfortunately, my single-minded tasting circuit doesn't allow me much chance to take advantage of the great opportunity afforded by the presence of these folks, but they offer an amazing opportunity to learn whatever one might care to about their wines.

At this tasting it seemed to me that my palate responded better to the French wines than most of their Oregon brethren, though there were clearly some standout domestic Pinots to be had.

I should say that a number of the prices for the Burgundies are very approximate, as many of the producers only had a general sense of what their wines sold for in the US.


WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5

2004 Chateau de Chorey "les Cras," Beaune, Burgundy, France. $60. Where to Buy?

WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9 and 9.5

2005 Camille Giroud "Cent Vignes" Beaune, Burgundy, France. $50
2005 Domaine Audoin "Les Longerioes," Marsannay, Burgundy, France. $25
2005 Domaine Claude Dugat Grand Cru Charmes-Chambertin Burgundy, France. $800 Where to Buy?
2005 Domaine Fougeray de Beauclair Grand Cru Bonnes Mares Burgundy, France. $150. Where to Buy?
2004 Domaine Serene "Jerusalem Hill Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $75
2005 Kosta Browne Wines Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, CA. $75 Where to Buy?
2005 Marc Roy "Clos Prieur" Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy, France. ??
2005 Taupenot-Merme Grand Cru Corton, Burgundy, France. $95. Where to Buy?
2005 Violot-Guillemard Pommard "Rugiens" Burgundy, France. ??.


WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9

2005 Addamo Estate Vineyards "Addamo Estate" Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, CA. $35
2004 Belle Pente "Estate Reserve" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $40
2005 Broadley Vineyards "Shea Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $50
2004 Cana's Feast Winery, LLC "Cuvée G Reserve" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $75
2005 Domaine Lecheneaut "les Pruliers" 1er Cru Nuits-St.-George, Burgundy, France. $??
2004 Goldeneye Winery "Goldeneye" Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley. $52
2005 Jacques Prieur "Greves" Beaune, Burgundy, France. $??
2005 Lynmar Winery "Five Sisters" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, CA. $80
2005 Maison Ambroise "le Rognet" Grand Cru Corton, Burgundy, France. $100
2005 Patz & Hall Wine Company "Chenoweth Ranch" Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, CA. $55
2004 Stoller "Estate" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $40
2005 Taupenot-Merme Charmes Chambertin Burgundy, France. $95
2006 Valli Vineyards "Gibbston Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Central Otago, NZ. $45
2004 Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards "Cheval Sauvage" Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, CA. $55


WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 and 9

2005 Argyle Winery "Spirithouse" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $70
2005 Bergstrom "Bergstrom Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $75
2005 Brick House Vineyards "Les Dijonnais" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $42
2005 Brooks Wines "Janus" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $29
2005 Cuvaison "Block F5" Pinot Noir, Carneros, CA. $48
2005 Domaine Alfred "Estate" Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, CA. $38
2005 Domaine D'Ardhuy "Clos des Langres" Monopole Cotes de Nuits, Burgundy, France. $75
2004 Hamacher Wines "Hamacher" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $45
2005 Joseph Voillot "Volnay Les Champans" Burgundy, France. $75
2006 Kingston "Alazan" Pinot Noir, Casablanca Valley, Chile. $28
2005 Lemelson Vineyards "Jerome Reserve" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $50
2004 Main Ridge Estate "MRE Half Acre" Pinot Noir, Mornington Penninsula, Australia. $45
2005 Maysara "Delara" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $50
2004 Michel Gay "Chorey les Beaune," Vieilles Vignes Burgundy, France. $25
2005 Patricia Green Cellars "Ribbon Ridge" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $38
2005 Soter Vineyards "Beacon Hill" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $46
2005 St. Innocent "Shea Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $35


WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5

2005 Archery Summit "Red Hills Estate" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $85
2005 August West "Rosella's Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, CA. $45
2005 Buena Vista Carneros "Ramal Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Carneros, CA. $40
2005 Carrick "Carrick Pinot Noir" Pinot Noir, Central Otago, NZ. $38
2004 De Ponte "Dundee Hills" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $38
2005 Dobbes Family Estate "Quailhurst Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $65
2005 Melville "Estate" Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, CA. $29
2005 Raptor Ridge Winery "Reserve" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $38
2005 Scott Paul Wines "La Paulée" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $40
2005 Sineann "Schindler" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $42
2004 Twelve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $28
2005 Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards "Unbridled - Bien Nacido Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, CA. $45
2005 WillaKenzie Estate Inc. "Pierre Léon" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $36


WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8 and 8.5

2005 Beaulieu Vineyard "Reserve" Pinot Noir, Carneros, CA. $35
2004 Chehalem "Reserve" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $55
2004 Cristom "Jessie Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $45
2002 Eyrie Vineyards "Reserve" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $55
2005 Muddy Water Pinot Noir, Waipara, NZ. $40
2005 Orogeny Vineyards Pinot Noir, Green Valley, Sonoma, CA. $35
2004 Sokol Blosser "Dundee Hills Estate Cuvée" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $40
2005 Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards Pinot Noir, Central Coast, CA. $24


WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8

2005 Aleth Girardin "Epenots" 1er Cru, Pommard Burgundy, France. $??
2005 Anam Cara Cellars "Reserve" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $42
2005 Brandborg Vineyard & Winery "Ferris Wheel Estate" Pinot Noir, Umpqua Valley, Oregon. $35
2004 El Molino Pinot Noir, Rutherford, Napa, CA. $55
2005 King Estate "Domaine" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $50
2004 Panther Creek Cellars "Freedom Hill Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR. $40
2005 Huia Pinot Noir, Marlborough, NZ. $??

Comments (7)

Stacy Nelson wrote:
08.01.07 at 12:01 AM

Ya Burgundy! My friends and I always say there are two very distinct palettes when it comes to Pinot Noir, West Coast and Burgundy. Since she and I are almost at polar opposites when it comes to our personal tasting ratings, it stands to reason that since she's a West Coast taster, I love the Burgundy. I infact only really enjoy Pinot from Burgundy so it's great to see so many you tasted with such great marks.

Thanks for taking one (or a lot) for the team!

Malcolm wrote:
08.01.07 at 6:24 AM

Stacey,
As someone whose wine tasting epiphany was trying the 1999 De Vogue Bonne Mares I am to a large extent in your camp when it comes to tasting Pinot Noir.

However there were a couple of wines on the list from areas other than the West Coast or Burgundy whom I suspect might be more up your street than you might expect. The Mornington Peninsula produces some really good European style Pinots thanks to its maritime climate - Stonier Pinot Noir (not on the list but bloody good) would strongly appeal to you if you can find it, I suspect. Also New Zealand has some very nice Pinots - some of which are very restrained compared to the fruit forward style favoured by so many American producers - take a look at Otago on the South Island.

You might find something that both you and your friend can agree on!

Malcolm

Alder wrote:
08.01.07 at 3:12 PM

Stacy,

Thanks for the comments! There were lots of good non-French wines there too, so it's not like I suffered through a lot of crap...

Marc wrote:
08.05.07 at 7:26 PM

$800 for the Claude Dugat Grand Cru Charmes-Chambertin Burgundy?

I want to meet the person(s) willing to pay that much for that bottle?

I tasted it, and thought it was the best of the burgundy's at the IPNC, but I sure wouldn't spend that much on the bottle. There were a lot better ones IMO.

And you must be one of the in crowd, because I didn't get to taste the Domaine Serene Jerusalem Hill nor the Lynmar Five Sisters.

Did you get a taste of them at one of the dinners, or did they have them under the table for the press people, or did I just miss them some how?

Alder wrote:
08.06.07 at 9:16 AM

Marc,

Yeah, I was surprised to see the price of that Dugat as well when I finally looked it up online.

It may be that Domain Serene and Lynmar ran out of those wines by the time you got to those tables. That's what they were pouring for everyone when I walked up.

malcolm wrote:
08.07.07 at 3:08 AM

Marc, I'm not sure what the normal practice is in the States but here in the UK consumer and trade tastings tend to be kept pretty seperate (although you will get a few journos come along to the better quality consumer tastings).

For consumer tastings there is normally a format set by the organiser (ie you can show a maximum of six wines) and the limits on "under the table" wines tend to be a bit variable too.

Obviously as a commercial concern we would not normally show £400 bottles of wine (if for no other reason than the fact that they are sold en primeur via brokers long before they are ready to drink) on cost grounds.

The wines we would show "under the table" at consumer events tend to be bottles of the latest harvest brought over by the winemaker and just bottled a few days before, or bottles of a single vineyard wine made in some vintages.

The criteria we use when deciding who gets to try these is pretty subjective - essentially if you are someone who seems knowledgeable about wine, are interested in the other wines we are showing, or are simply a nice person who is honest enough to say you do not know much but want to learn, and most importantly are pleasant to talk to, then you have a good chance of trying something a bit special at our table. Of course if I'm pouring then being a good looking blonde female also helps!

For trade tastings it tends to be much more formal with less under the table - when we are deciding what to show we have already thought about the invitees and what we want to show them to get the maximum impact for our investment.

As Alder alluded to arriving early on the first day increases your chances as well - we would only bring a few bottles of the specials and when they are gone they are gone (and you do not know how many good looking blondes might come to my table before you!).

Malcolm

Marc wrote:
08.07.07 at 7:12 AM

Thanks Malcolm for that insight. I do know how the system works for the most part, but as you and Alder pointed out, I think my problem was we got there late.

Next time I'll know better.

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