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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pinot Days are here Southern California: Time to get your wine on!

If you love a great Pinot Noir like I do, then folks it is time to get your "wine on". What better way is there to experience some of the best NW producers of Pinot Noir than to dive into a burgundy filled pool and slurp your way through it all in one day and under one roof, than this upcoming Pinot Days event. Honestly folks is there a better deal on the horizon, umm I don't think so.

Most wine stores will charge on average ten bones to sample maybe 10 wines if you are lucky. At Pinot Days $60 gets you in the door so you can sample wines from over 125 phenomenal producers of Pinot Noir and drown in a burgundy sea of deliciousness. So what is there to think about, get your happy little wine-loving self down to the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica this weekend.

Of course who could forget the character Miles from the movie Sideways discussing his favorite vino, saying he likes pinot because"It's a hard grape to grow - thin skinned, it ripens early, it's not a survivor. It needs constant care and attention, and can only really grow in these specific tucked away corners of the world."  possibly meaning that you can't just grow Pinot Noir any where and expect it to be mind blowing wonderful, something which can't be said for many of the other well known grape varieties which are not half as fussy. His sentiments are partly based on reality as many of the very best Pinot Noirs are site specific, but I'm not sure Miles was just talking about the grape.

"Appropriately nicknamed the heartbreak grape’, no other varietal can claim to have simultaneously seduced and rejected as many suitors. The greatest wines made from the vine possess a complexity and beauty that trap consumers and winemakers alike in a lifelong search for its equivalent."Appellation America.  I think Appellation America here sums up the the love/hate relationship many have with this very fickle varietal.

Pinot Profile: Typically very light in body, featuring a light colored garnet core. When sampling Pinot Noir many find the flavors are reminiscent of sweet red berries, plums, cherries and at times a notable earthy or wood-like flavor, depending on specific growing conditions and for aromas along side the sweet baking spices and whiffs of strawberry, you will also find a barnyard [nope not kidding] smell or two on occasion.

The Gist: Pinot Days is an event that connects wine enthusiasts from all walks of life directly with the winemakers themselves gathered together in one spot, creating a unique opportunity for new and even the seasoned wine geek to experience, enjoy and deepen their knowledge of Pinot Noir [pronounced Pee-noh-n'wahr].  This event will feature New World Pinot Noir, but its forerunner and modest inspiration hails from Burgundy, one of France’s most prized wine regions. This event will feature Pinot Noir planted, cultivated and produced in Oregon, and California hailing from the Russian River Valley to the Santa Lucia Highlands, Willamette to Carneros, the Anderson Valley to the Sonoma Coast to the Santa Rita Hills. Folks honestly it doesn't get any better than this

How long is the event: The three-day Los Angeles food and wine extravaganza includes two intimate winemaker dinners, the VIP Regional Tour and the Grand Festival, a wine tasting event which gives wine lovers the opportunity to experience and enjoy some of the worlds best Pinot Noir and interact directly with the gifted and passionate winemakers who produce them.

When does it begin: Pinot Days Southern California begins Thursday January 13th with a Winemaker "Table Hop" dinner at the Wine House and culminates on January 15th with the Grand Festival at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. Event tickets can be purchased at Pinot Days.

What is Pinot Days: This event
will showcase over 125 phenomenal producers of Pinot Noir. Consumers will be able to sample up to 400 pinots from every important domestic PN region. Producers from the Russian River Valley to Oregon, Carneros to the Santa Lucia Highlands, the Anderson Valley to the Sonoma Coast.
More than 125 pinot producers will pour their wines at Pinot Days, including the newly-released 2008 vintage and maybe some will still be pouring the winetastic 2007 vintage, which critics have called the best PN vintage in decades, and maybe ever

The Food: Oh did I mention the food; Le Pain Quotidien as created a pairing menu that folks can enjoy, and Whole Foods is bringing fondue, pinot-friendly cheeses and meats, and who knows what else. The 2nd Annual Pinot Days in Southern California will engage all the senses with its offering of gourmet food and 400 incredible Pinot Noirs. You can also expect to find local specialty food purveyors will serve delectable tasty treats [well I hope so] which should pair well with PN being slurped down. 
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Who should go: If you are a self described "Pinotphile" or just your garden variety Pinot Fanatic you should definitely find a way to be there. And just about anyone else who is new to wine or even the seasoned veterans among you, this is a great opportunity to try many styles of Pinot Noir under one roof and in one venue. The price is right and this is the 2nd time that this event has come this far south so mark your calenders now. Remember this famous French saying when considering when you want to pony up $60 to attend this event, "La coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point. ~ Pascal  meaning the heart has its reasons that reason ignores completely. Hopefully I will see you there, cheers.

What's the Buzz: Pinot Days organizer Lisa Rigisich said, "Los Angeles is a real food town and the innovative culinary scene in this city is the perfect complement to the depth, complexity and versatility of Pinot Noir" and went on to say "Like chefs, pinot producers are modern day artists with an intense passion for their craft. This dynamic lends itself well to Pinot Days because it allows food and wine lovers to learn about pinot by connecting to it with both their palate and through its producer." I understand it this way, this event is going to be the bomb-diggity [yes a phrase from the urban dictionary]!
                                    
The Pinot Days Southern California event line-up:

Day One: Pinot Days Winemakers "Table Hop" Dinner at the Wine House on January 13, 2010 from 6 PM to 10 PM in Los Angeles and the cost is $90 per person. Be prepared to sit down to artfully planned five course meal prepared by the Wine House's Chef Todd Barrie, and each paired with two acclaimed pinots.

What to expect: Chef Todd Barrie, whose creative culinary style is hailed for its emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients and flavors from around the world, Chef Barrie designs his cuisine based on the wines with which he pairs, and the seasonal foods available to him, also known for his creative turns with Mediterranean-style dishes. The winemakers play a sort of musical chairs as they move seats with every course so they can share their stories with attendees [Sounds like good times].

Day Two: On Friday, January 14, 2011 6:00pm-9:00pm they will have a "Meet the Winemakers" night at the West Restaurant at Hotel Angeleno and the cost for this event is $28, a bargain for sure.

What to expect: At this Eat, Drink and Meet the Winemakers event you can expect to slurp your way through six different pinot producers who will pour the amazing fruits of their labor and the new vintage is spectacular - and Angeleno's West will prepare and pass pinot-focused, incredible appetizers.

Day Three: The Grand Finale: The Pinot Days Grand Festival on January 15th2:00 pm - 6:00 pm, at the Barker Hangar, in Santa Monica, CA. for ridiculously low entry fee of $60 per person to get into a place where you taste many wonderful Pinot Noir styles.

What to expect: Saturdays Grand Tasting will showcase over 400 Pinot Noirs and the 125 wine makers who produce them. A culinary extravaganza, the Pinot Days Grand Festival features dozens of gourmet samplings from local food purveyors. So amazing snack-age and winetastic juice by the gallon.

About the Organizers: Pinot Days was created by Steven and Lisa Rigisich out of their love for the "the noble grape." The Bay Area Wine Project holds annual events in San Francisco, Chicago and Southern California. Produced by the Bay Area Wine Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of Pinot Noir, Pinot Days provides information about and access to wine-related events, wine education opportunities and wine trivia -- including articles about outstanding wine personalities, winery profiles, reviews of wine events, restaurant wine lists, formal tastings and more.

Designated Driver: Folks a moment of debbie-downer time here to be serious you will need to find someone to take you to this event and pick you up. So for Pete's [who's Pete] sake do yourself and everyone else a favor find a way to get there that does not involve you driving. Or at the very worst hang out in your vehicle and wait a few hours so you can sober up.

Stay Hyrdrated: Another debbie-downer message but it must be said over and over, stay hydrated. They will be giving out bottled water at this event, not just as a suggestion either. It is highly recommended. I've seen folks walk into these events only to be carried out later, spewing purple cookies everywhere [not a pretty site]. So don't be that guy or gal, the wine will sneak up on you faster than you think.

Spit Buckets: Those buckets are there for a very good reason. Don't be afraid to spit, frankly the folks pouring at this event are really hoping you will spit their wine out. Yep you heard me right they hope and desire for you spit their wine out and not drink it that day. But not because you won't like their wine, but because you are there to taste and not drink. So sip, swirl and then spit, you'll be happy you did.

Event details and ticket information can be found at PinotDays.com. the video below give ya a small bit of insight as to what you can expect to see, hear and slurp.


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