A balmy summer night in Los Angeles, drinking expensive wine at LA’s premiere five star hotel The Sofitel, what could be better? Stars of Pinot 2015, hosted by WineLA will delight you with 60 of the world’s top producers pouring over 240 Pinot Noir wines! With the best of the best wineries in California, Oregon and Washington State, and some from all over the world, I have a very tough life.
Pinot Noir has come a long way. I remember when I worked at Valley of The Moon Winery in Sonoma County back in the late 80’s and you could not give Pinot Noir away. We actually had a forever sale bin of Pinot that the winery was always trying to give away. After the movie Sideways wine lovers all over could not get enough Pinot and that really changed the game. Throughout the film, Miles the main character speaks fondly of the red wine, varietal Pinot Noir while denigrating Merlot. Following the film’s U.S. release in October 2004, Merlot sales dropped 2% while Pinot Noir sales increased 16% in the Western United States. A 2009 study by Sonoma State University. found that Sideways slowed the growth in Merlot sales volume and caused its price to fall, but the film’s main effect on the wine industry was a rise in the sales volume and price of Pinot Noir, and in overall wine consumption.
Pinot is a hard grape to grow and is now right up there with the Best Cabernets Sauvignon around. It is a wine that takes some time to get to know. The gal that I went with to this tasting said, “Oh I really don’t like Pinot Noir’s, I hope there I some thing else that they are pouring.” After her very first taste she said, “Wow this is not what I remember drinking a Pinot, this wine is amazing”. That is because there are so many different levels of taste in a Pinot Noir wine, from very light and berry, to jammy and syrupy. It’s a whole new wine tasting experience, and one that I truly love. You also know that Pinots have gone up many notches by their prices, they can be priced like a good Cabernet, but completely worth the money. The best part about this event is that a lot of the wine makers were there pouring their wines, which doesn’t happen that often at these big wine tastings, so that was an added bonus. You get to discuss at length the varietal and their newest products, I love that! Also there was a Pinot Noir panel discussion, and tasting, a delicious Buffet, and the VIP folks got a gift bag packed with fabulous items to take home. They had some nice tray passed food and a station that had a variety of delicious tacos, and an assortment of breads, cheeses and chocolate. If you were in the market for a trip the silent auction would have been right up your alley. They also had some really great wine packages to bid on. I saw a gentleman walk away as the winner of a huge wine box, filled with 8 wines from the same winery. Also, all guests attending were able to take home a stunning Schott Zwiesel Pinot Noir wine glass.
Greg La Follett – Alquimista, Brian Talley – Talley Wines, Ernst Storm – Storm Santa Barbara, Hannes Storm – Storm South Africa, Charles Hendricks – Hope & Grace, Tom Mortimer – Le Cadeau, Moze Cowper – Temerity Vineyard, Michael Mooney – Mooney Family, Robert Kugler – AVE Winery, Marc Dumont – Domaine Belleville, Alex Crangle – Balo, Joel Aiken – Aiken, Jennifer Halleck – Halleck, Chris Williams – Brooks, David Rossi – Fulcrum, John Fones – Cellars 33, Elliott Dolin – Dolin Estate, Brian Mast – Waits-Mast Family Cellars.
Casa Marin – Chile, Angela Estate Winery – Oregon, Temerity Vineyard – Santa Rita Hills, MacMurray Estate – Sonoma, Mooney Family – Santa Lucia Highlands, Tolosa – San Luis Obispo,
Anderson Oaks – Sonoma Coast, AVE Winery – Paso Robles, Domaine Belleville – France, Ca’Momi – Napa Valley, Sonoma – Loeb – Sonoma, Le Cadeau – Oregon, Balo – Anderson Valley, Aiken – Napa Valley, Halleck – Russian River, Landmark – Sonoma Valley, Alexana Winery – Oregon, Donelan – Sonoma County, Davis Bynum – Russian River, Balletto – Russian River, The Calling – Russian River, Viszlay Vineyards – Russian River, Summerland- Central Coast, Mansfield-Dunne- Santa Lucia, Hope & Grace- Napa Valley, Windward Vineyard – Paso Robles, Derby Wine – Paso Robles,Felten Cellars – Paso Robles, The Missing Leg – Paso Robles,
Wasted Youth – Paso Robles, Fort Ross – Sonoma Coast, Fog Crest- Russian River, Trichardt – Napa Valley, Frank Family – Napa Valley, Alquimista – by Greg La Follette, Foxen – Santa Barbara, LaFond & SB Winery – Santa Barbara, Belle Glos – Saint Lucia Highlands, Talley Vineyards – Arroyo Grande, Flowers – Sonoma Coast, Storm – South Africa, Storm – Santa Barbara, Brooks – Oregon, Waits-Mast Family Cellars – Mendocino,
Cellars 33 – Sonoma Coast, Fulcrum Wines – Petaluma Gap,Blair Wines – Arroyo Seco, Dolin Estate- Malibu, Adelaida Cellars – Paso Robles, Westerly Wines – Santa Barbara, Bernardus – Carmel, Aberrant – Oregon, Consilience – Santa Barbara, Caraccioli – Santa Lucia, Matetic – Chile, Terrapura – Chile, Ayres – Oregon.
This was the best of the best as far as wine tasting goes, all under one roof. The wine makers and the representatives from each winery were having a ball, carrying on fun conversation about the wine and other cool wine related topics. Moze Cowper from Temerity Vineyard said to me this wine will change your life and he was right, one of the best Pinot’s I tasted all evening!! There were a few favorites I have to say, I always love what The Frank Family wines bring to the table, very elegant, fruit forward wines. I have been to their winery near Calistoga in Napa Valley so I know what kind of top-notch wines they produce. Also Ca’Momi is one of my favorites having written and visited their lovely restaurant in Oxbow Public Market, in Napa and doing a great review last year, their Pinot was remarkable. Viszlay was big surprise; their red blend hit all the right notes for me. Revana’s Pinot was very delightful, and hearing Dr. Revana’s story was equally fascinating. Mooney Family provided me with a new appreciation, their 2013 Pinot Noir – Boekenoogen Vineyard, was bright and sunny, and completely drinkable.
The charity involved in this event is one my favorites, T.J. Martell Foundation, which benefits Leukemia, Cancer, and AIDS Research. The Events sponsors were; LA Brea bakery, Truffle G Gateau, and Los Angeles Magazine. Make this event part of your yearly education on what’s new and exciting in the Pinot world, and tell your friends, everyone needs to attend and be reinvigorated about what a great Pinot can do for you!