In the vineyard this varietal is sensitive to light exposure, cropping levels , soil types and pruning techniques. In the winery it is sensitive to fermentation methods, yeast strains and is highly reflective of its terroir with different regions producing very different wines. Its thin skin makes it highly susceptible to bunch rot and other fungal diseases.
Pinot wines are among the most popular in the world. Joel Fleischman of Vanity Fair describes Pinot noir as "the most romantic of wines, with so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, and so powerful a punch that, like falling in love, they make the blood run hot and the soul wax embarrassingly poetic." Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon calls pinot "sex in a glass" Peter Richardsson of OenoStyle christened it "a seductive yet fickle mistress!"
For lovers of this very special variety , there is only one place to be the first weekend in March . That would be in Shell Beach California to attend The World of Pinot Noir.
These two days include in-depth Tasting Seminars, Grand Tastings a Featured Tasting with a guest Burgundian producer, two Gala Pinot Noir Dinners and even a Santa Barbara style Paulée. All of these extraordinary food and wine extravaganzas are hosted by participating wineries and feature an outstanding Sommeliers from across the U.S.
The 10th World of Pinot Noir began with a Tasting of Vintage Old World Burgundies. This very intimate and tasting featured aged Burgundies from the cellars of the Court of Master Sommeliers. Led by Master Sommelier Fred Dame, each table was hosted by a master sommelier .
Friday afternoon was just the mid-point of the first day when guests joined more than 95 Pinot Noir producers from across the globe showing both current releases and library selections in three tasting tents located on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Gourmet appetizers prepared by Chef Gregg Wangard, Chef José Garcia and The Culinary Team of The Cliffs Resort as well as exceptional cheeses from The Cheese Shop Carmel/The Cheese Shop Santa Barbara allowed all of the attendees some nice walk around dishes as they enjoyed wonderful Pinot Noirs in Riedel Crystal Pinot Noir glass.
The evenings even get better with two Gala dinners featuring
An elegant evening at The Cliffs Resort Gala diner began with a white "Pinot Family" wine & sparkling wine reception on the Pool Terrace and passed hors d'oeuvres prepared by Chef José Garcia and The Culinary Team of The Cliffs Resort. Chef Roy Yamaguchi of the famed Roys of Hawaii, created an exceptional dishes that showcases his fusion cuisine.
Chef Roy Yamaguchi holds the distinct honor of being Hawaii's first recipient of the prestigious James Beard Award. Since he first introduced Roy's twenty years ago, he has evolved as one of most respected and celebrated chefs in the world today.
Right next door to the Cliffs is the Dolphin Bay Resort and another Gala dinner that their famed LIDO restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Chef Budi Kazali recently named the "Ultimate Chef for 2009" by Central Coast Magazine 2004 took over the Ballard Inn & Restaurant in Santa Barbara County, prepared an unforgettable meal featuring fresh local ingredients and his French-Asian cuisine that was truly mouth watering.
For those adventurous attendees, there was an opportunity to test their wine and food pairing skills against an Iron Sommelier panel! Eight wines and four culinary selections were evaluated "blind" with pairing and an interactive audience/panel discussion moderated by William Sherer MS.
Audience members were asked to provide an convincing argument for their favorite pairing. The winners were be awarded a magnum of that wine signed by the winemaker in attendance. This is one of the most sought after events over the years and the sommelier panelists always deliver an exciting experience .
A second tasting by the sea with more than 100 Pinot Noir producers from across the globe showed off both current releases and library selections to the attendees. With their Pinot glasses full , Guest were able to enjoy gourmet appetizers prepared by Chef Gregg Wangard, Chef José Garcia and The Culinary Team of The Cliffs Resort. Sample exceptional cheeses from The Cheese Shop Carmel/The Cheese Shop Santa Barbara.
The last night of the World of Pinot Noir provided us a very special treat. The Santa Barabara style Paulee Dinner is always a big success.
A Paulee Dinner , was inspired by the Burgundian tradition that celebrates the end of harvest. Traditionally, each attendee of the Paulée brings a special bottle to share with the group.
A special feature of this tradition is that each winery participant attending will bring a special bottle and guests are not required to bring a special bottling - unless, of course they want to.
Visiting Chefs from across the country shared their specialties in a buffet style dinner . Small plates were " at Chef Stations and of course gourmet cheese/bread tables were available throughout the venue. This years participating chefs included :
Rob Baker, Me and the Hound, Monterey Peninsula CA
David Garwicki and David Reardon, Bacara Resort, Santa Barbara CA
Frank Ostini, Hitching Post II, Buellton CA
Cal Stamenov, Marinus at Bernardus Lodge, Carmel Valley CA,Clark Staub, Full of Life Flatbread, Los Alamos CA, Paolo Stoltz, The Men's Club, Dallas TX, Craig Von Foerster, Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur CA
The World of Pinot Noir is not only a Meca for Pinot lovers but for foodies as well. Its beautiful location over looking the Pacific Ocean at the the Cliffs resort for the two tastings as well as the seminars , dinners and much more make the World of Pinot Noir the ONLY place to be the first weekend in March . Mark your calendars for 2011, we certainly know we will.
Join VINO LAS VEGAS as we take you to World of Pinot Noir 2010 , experience some great wines and speak with winemakers from around the world