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 19th, 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 17th with a day of technical sessions, followed by a BBQ at Scharffenberger Cellars.
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: Angel Camp, Balo Vineyards, Baxter Winery, Bink, Black Kite Cellars, Breggo Cellars, Brutocao Cellars,Cakebread, Champ de Reves, Claudia Springs, Copain Wines, Couloir Wines, Drew Family Wines, Elke Vineyards, Esterlina Vineyards, Expression, Foursight Wines, Frati Horn, Fulcrum Wine, Goldeneye Winery, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards, Handley Cellars, Harmonique Wines, Husch Vineyards, Knez, La Crema, Lazy Creek Vineyards, Londer Vineyards, LuLa Cellars, Macphail Family Wines, Maggy Hawk, Navarro Vineyards, Phillips Hill Estates, Philo Ridge Vineyards, Roederer Estate, Saintsbury,Scharffenberger Cellars, Stella Cadente Olive Oil, Toulouse Vineyards, Twomey Cellars, Waits Mast, William Selyem, Wind Racer, and Witching Stick, among others.
The full conference details can be found on the event web site.
16th Annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival
Saturday, May 18, 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
9200 Highway 128
Philo, CA 95466
Tickets to the Grand Tasting are $105 and should be purchased online as they almost always sell out. The Friday technical conference tickets are $95 (yes there is wine to taste at this event), the BBQ is $50, and the winemaker dinners are $125 a pop.
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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