It's June, and that means one thing when it comes to wine in San Francisco: Pinot Noir. For the past nine years, June has played host to PinotDays, a celebration of the grape that brings wineries and wine lovers together for a couple of days of tasting and education.
There was a time when San Francisco had no large-scale tasting of Pinot Noir, but those days seem a distant memory, now in a post-Sideways world. Every year members of the wine-drinking public can spend an afternoon wandering in a sea of Pinot Noir, as 140 different producers (primarily California, but also Oregon and France) offer their wines for the tasting.
The Thursday prior to the grand tasting, various wineries will be present for a "Table Hop" dinner at One Market restaurant, where winemakers will move from table to table with each course of the meal to meet guests and talk about their wines.
The day before the grand tasting, several seminars will be offered. These seminars have become an increasingly popular aspect of the PinotDays event, and this year I'll be moderating one of them: Celebrated Vineyards: Keefer Ranch, Pisoni, Bien Nacido and Gap's Crown. The tasting will offer four wines from each vineyard, and each wine will have been made by a different winemaker. I'll lead the tasting and coordinate the discussion. It should be a great tasting.
There are lots of other seminars, too, including a tasting of the Boisset portfolio of both Burgundy and California wines, and more.
All of the events are available as part of packaged deals, or a la carte, for your pleasure. At the very least, if you love Pinot Noir, it's hard to think of a better way to spend a few hours than wandering around tasting Pinot.
9th Annual PinotDays San Francisco 2013 Grand Tasting
Sunday, June 30, 2013 - 2:00pm-5:00pm
Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center
Buchanan Street and Marina Boulevard, San Francisco (map)
Tickets are $60 for the grand tasting, and $50 for the individual seminars, or you can buy a package ticket for somewhere between $105 and $170 depending on what selection of events you'd like to attend. Tickets should be purchased in advance online.
My usual tips for such public tastings apply: get a good night's sleep; go with a full stomach; drink lots of water; wear dark clothes; and remember to spit if you want to learn anything.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
I'll Drink to That: Danilo Nada of Nada Fiorenzo Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 8/23 Vinography Images: Night Sorting Small is Beautiful: The Champagnes of Savart I'll Drink to That: Karl duHoffmann of Anchor Brewing Warm Up: Jerez de la Frontera I'll Drink to That: Antonio Flores of González Byass California 2015 - Vintage of Fire Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 8/16 A Selection of Georgian Wines
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune