California Pinot Noir lovers take note. Wine lovers with a free weekend, listen up. It's Spring, and the wine events are coming fast and furious. It seems like every week there's a new wine tasting to go to. But some are more worth paying attention to than others.
Anderson Valley is known for two things in California, and not coincidentally, it has more or less two major wine tasting events per year. The first, the International Alsace Varietals festival took place a few months ago.
The second is the annual Pinot Noir Festival. If you're a fan of Pinot Noir and you don't have plans for the weekend of May 20th, I seriously recommend it. It's definitely worth the three hour drive.
Not only is this a gorgeous time of year in the Anderson Valley, but the Pinot Noirs on offer include a few of the better ones in the state. This isn't a huge tasting, and consequently you'll find very few huge wineries there. Instead you'll find a bunch of small, dedicated growers and producers pouring their (mostly) small production wines.
The event kicks off on Friday May 18th with a technical conference led by Michael Mina Group Wine Director (and Sandhi Wines owner) Rajat Parr followed by a BBQ at Husch Vineyards.
Saturday features the grand tasting and winemaker dinners, and those who choose to stay through Sunday can wander around to the many open houses hosted by the valley's wineries.
Participating wineries at the grand tasting include: Balo Vineyards, Baxter Winery, Black Kite Cellars, Breggo Cellars, Brutocao Cellars, Champ de Reves, Claudia Springs Winery, Copain Wines, Couloir Wines, Drew Family Wines, Elke Vineyards, Esterlina Vineyards, Expression Wine, Foursight Wines, Frati Horn, Fulcrum Wines, Goldeneye Winery, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards, Handley Cellars, Harmonique Wines, Husch Vineyards, Knez Winery, Lazy Creek Vineyards, Littorai, Londer Vineyards, LuLa Cellars, MacPhail Family Wines, Maggy Hawk Vineyard, Navarro Vineyards, Phillips Hill Estates, Philo Ridge Vineyards, Roederer Estate, Roessler Cellars, Scharffenberger Cellars, Standish Wine Co., Toulouse Vineyards, Twomey Cellars, Waits-Mast and Zina Hyde Cunningham.
The full conference details can be found on the event web site.
14th Annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival
Saturday, May 19st, 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
9200 Highway 128
Philo, CA 95466
The $105 tickets to the Grand Tasting are almost sold out, so get yours soon online. The Friday technical conference tickets are $95 (yes there is wine to taste at this event), ht BBQ is $50, and at least one of the winemaker dinners is still open at $125 a pop as well.
If you are driving up for the event, I recommend giving yourself a bit of extra time to get there. Perhaps drive up in the morning and have some breakfast before the tasting.
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