One of the longest running wine tasting events in San Francisco is also one of its best. While the city often plays host to really huge public tastings like ZAP, Family Winemakers, and PinotDays, some of the better tastings are more intimate and focused. Both words appropriately describe PinotFest, a low-key event held every year at Farallon Restaurant.
Despite practically non-existent marketing or announcement, PinotFest quietly pulls together 60 or so top producers of West Coast Pinot Noir every year for a dedicated crowd of Pinot lovers in San Francisco. This year will be the event’s 20th annual incarnation.
Attendees get nibbles from Farallon’s kitchen, and access for a few hours to many hard to find Pinot Noirs that often don’t appear at the larger public tastings.
This year’s wineries will include:
Alma Rosa, Au Bon Climat, Big Table Farm, Bonaccorsi, Byron, Calera, Charles Heintz, Chehalem, Cobb, Costa de Oro, Cristom, Domaine Drouhin, En Route, Ernest, Etude, Failla, Fiddlehead, Flowers, Foxen, Freeman, Gary Farrell, Gloria Ferrer, Handley, Hartford Court, Hitching Post, Joseph Phelps, Keller Estate, Kendric, Kosta Browne, LaRue, Littorai, Lutum, Marimar Estate, Melville, Merry Edwards, Nicolas Jay, Paul Hobbs, Paul Lato, Peay, Radio Coteau, Saintsbury, Siduri, Sinor LaVallee, Soter, Talisman, Talley, Testarossa, Tendril, Thomas Fogarty, Twomey, Wayfarer, Whitcraft, WillaKenzie, Williams Selyem.
While, at $125, this tasting may be expensive for some, it is only the price of approximately 1.5 bottles from most of these producers, and by far the least expensive way of getting a chance to taste a lot of them in one setting.
This year’s event will also feature a pop-up tasting of some of Australia’s finest Pinot Noir producers, courtesy of friends at Wine Australia.
It’s a great event and one that no California Pinot Noir lover should miss.
Saturday, November 17th
3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Farallon Restaurant, 4th Floor
450 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
Tickets are $125 per person (a price which hasn’t gone up in years and years) and can be ordered online or by calling 415-956-6969. This event will almost certainly sell out.
I recommend arriving exactly at 3:00 PM, wearing dark clothes to minimize spills, eating a hearty lunch ahead of time, and swallowing only a few wines so you can taste a lot more.