It began on a whim and has become a focal point for the conversation about where California wine is going. The tasting known as In Pursuit of Balance, held last week at Bluxome Street Winery in San Francisco (see below), and six weeks ago in New York, has now become the most talked-about wine event among the cognoscenti on either coast.
The event began four years ago as friends Jasmine Hirsch, daughter of famed Sonoma Coast pioneer David Hirsch, and sommelier Rajat Parr of the Michael Mina group fantasised about getting a group of their favourite California Pinot Noir producers together for a tasting. 'We kind of just put this together on the back of a napkin', recalled Parr as he kicked off this year's tasting in San Francisco.
At the time, the two friends had a desire to celebrate and draw attention to a group of winemakers whose approach to California Pinot Noir steered closer to the lower-alcohol, higher-acid model of Burgundy. 'When Jasmine and I spoke about having this tasting, it was just about what we were doing within this group of like-minded friends', said Parr. 'It was never about being better or worse, or what a lot of people have written about.'
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