Pinot Days 2010 Recap

Brian Ziegler

November 16 2010 - 3:08 PM

It was a pleasure and a privledge to attend a well-planned, well organized event this past Saturday held at Navy Pier and strictly focused on Pinot Noir (and some of its white cousins, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, if you can find it).   At forty dollars, tickets were the cost of a neighborhood wine shop tasting, yet with many more producers to sample.  In addition, the event was pleasantly not crowded and consisted of decent eating options, including copious amounts of Kerrygold Irish Cheddar cheese and bread, as well as specialty foodstuffs (Frontera Foods, Rare Bird Preserves, City Olive, and B True Bakery). 

Those in the Foodies writers group really loved the Oregon Sokol Blosser Dundee Hill wines from '07 and '08.  Both would be drinking fantastic with some bottle aging, given the tight tannic structure and generous acidity.   The wine had a Burgundian nose with a good expression of soil terroir, cherries, and pepper, with a long finish.  The '07 and '08s retail for $45 and $38, respectively. 

Another great wine was the Londer Vineyards' '07 Parabolla from Medocino County, California, and they were served by Shirlee and Larry Londer themselves.  It had nice hints of cardamom, plum, and eucalyptus, nice structure, and great acidity.  Oak was relatively restrained at 40 percent new French oak and nine months in barrel.  

Some of the writers also liked Domaine Serene, whose Evensted and Jerusalem wines had hints of cherry cola and tea.    The Alysian winery in Sonoma County, California, run by Gary Ferrell, had an impressive '07 Russian River Selection, a wine that managed to balance the New World largeness that many people like with the acidity much needed to pair with food. 

J Vineyards and Winery, from Russian River Valley in Sonoma County, came out with an outstanding value '08 Pinot Noir retailing for $35 with great acidity and value.  Their '07 Nicole's Vineyard, though pricier, was good but rather big, and we did find ourselves gravitating toward the cheaper but more nuanced '08 base Pinot.

The only Burgundy winery I found was Domaine de la Vougerie.  I tried the '03 and '06 Premier Crus:  the '03 Nuits St. George Premier Cru "Les Damodes", which had notes of petrol, menthol, mushrooms and cherry.  I also loved the '06, which was tight at the time of tasting but showed great potential.

Pinot Days is a fantastic event showcasing the many styles of predominantly American Pinots.   It would be wonderful to see more Pinot producers from Burgundy, Germany, and Austria, though there were some vineyards that really showed very well and do have great promise.