After an amazing couple of days in Portland and McMinville it was finally time for IPNC! We arrived on Friday morning and Shawna was lured over to the Portland Roasters coffee booth as I got in lone to get us breakfast. Shawna came back with a business card for Allan Meadows from Burghound.com and casually said that he said that we should send him a bottle of Furthermore for him to review. She asked who he was and I let her know he was the Robert Parker of Pinot Noir and she said “that’s cool!”. Five minutes into IPNC and I knew we were at the right place!
The theme for IPNC this year was “Sustainability Without Sacrifice”
The morning started out with a discussion between wine author Jasper Morris and Dominique Lafon from legendary Domaine des Comtes Lafon. During this discussion we tasted a flight of Lafon that included: a 2006, 2005, 2003 and 1997. The discussion centered around the evolving viticultural practices in burgundy and the challenges of organic and biodynamic farming when you have your lots interspersed with your neighbors.
Dominique was both charming and insightful. Some memorable quotes include:
“Biodynamic shows a sense of vineyard”
How French is that to bring terroir into it ; - )
“Biodynamic makes the wine more drinkable and more drinkable is better…”
Next up Andrea Robinson hosted a discussion and tasting with some great Pinot Noir producers:
- Ted Casteel, Bethel Heights Vineyard, Oregon
- Michael Dhillon, Bindi Wines Australia
- Ted Lemon, Littorai Wines, California
- Nigel Greening, Felton Road New Zealand
- Frederic Lafarge, Domaine Michel Lafarge, Burgundy
The tasting was a great demonstration of the diversity of pinot noir expression in various regions. My new world palate loved the Bethel Heights and Littorai (Sonoma Coast) but they were all great wines.
Next up it was time for lunch. The food was amazing and the wine was flowing. Sommeliers delivered wine but we were also sititng at a table with Gary Franscioni of ROAR wines who is also co-owner of famed central coast vineyards including Gary’s Vineyard, Pisoni and Rosella (named after his wife). People seemed to keep bringing Gary wine to taste and we all benefited from it!
On the afternoon agenda we attended a very cool (and tasty) demonstration by infamous mushroom expert Jack palmer of the Jack Palmer House. He told stories of mushroom hunting and shared his secret to cooking with mushrooms… Cook the mushrooms in a very light olive oil, not a virgin olive oil and add the holly trinity of soy, salt and add a little bit of sugar to them.
After enjoying Pinot Noir and mushrooms with Jack it was time to learn about great Pinot Noir that you may not be drinking, a session hosted by Andrea Robinson. Her list included:
- Castle Rock
- Sebastiani Sonoma County
- A to Z
- Golden Eye
- Russian Hill
- Cobb Wines
- La Crema trio
- Sokol Blosser, Dundee Hills
- Pierre Morey
- Alex Gambel
- Coldstream Hills
The day ended with the amazing “Grand Dinner” that featured chefs from “he Heathman Restraunt & Bar, Crush, The Herb Farm and Paley’s Place. Of special note was the Crispy Carlton Farms pork belly prepared but Jason Wilson of Crush. As to be expected the wine flowed and enjoyed conversation with our neighbors including some winemakers from New Zealand and Mark Fine of Firesteed. It was a great ending to an amazing day.