Two programs at the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) were very interesting. The IPNC is a summer celebration of all things Pinot, with seminars, tastings of international Pinots, and grand dinners featuring Pinot noirs. It is held on the last weekend of July on the campus of Linfield College in McMinnville.
On Friday and Saturday a number of Pinot-focused seminars took place.
On Friday, two seminars were intruiging.
One program led by Mike Veseth, a professor at the University of Puget Sound, and author of the 2011 Wine Wars, looked at the rise of such commodities as Blue Nun and Two Buck Chuck, but reinforced the role of Pinot Noir.
Blue Nun was developed in 1921 and became the best selling wine brand of the world. The quality went down subsequently.
Two Buck Chuck is another sales phenomenon.
But he reinforced that Pinot Noir will never be a commodity. He showed a video of Jancis Robinson MW handing a glass of Oregon Pinot Noit to Lalou Bizes Leroy. After tasting the wine, Bizes Leroy said she didn’t think Pinot Noir should be grown in Oregon! Veseth said that globalization will never come to Pinot because of its low yields and smaller production.
The other interesting program was a retrospective with Jacques Jardiere, the retiring winemaker at Louis Jadot. He has been winemaker at Jadot for 42 of Jadot’s 150 year history.
One could get lost in Jardiere’s metaphysical discussion. He talked about how grand cru wine was a more powerful medicine than premier cru wine. He talked about the transfiguration in the context of Pinot Noir processing. He explained that when you drink the wine, that you understand, the “je’, the I am.
Lardiere explained that you must have vision to take what is underground and bring it to the top. He said that all of life is vibration and we know that from physics. Vibration is how the plants grow, what they are, how they exist, and how we receive from them. He said it is what we are, as well. “If you plant the flower, you move the star,” he said, quoting an unnamed poet to illustrate his point. The ground, as we know, is full of minerals, but in planting we release the minerality (which Lardière frequently referred to as the power itself). Minerals, Lardière explained, are life. Lardiere next spoke about the metaphysics about wine and about keeping the molecules in movement.
There was a tasting of his wines next:
2005 Savigny-Les-Beaune Clos des Guettes, premier cru
2004 Chambolle-Musigny Les Baudes, premier cru
2002 Volnay, Clos de la Barre, premier cru
2001 Beaune Clos des Ursules, premier cru
1991 Clos st Jacques, premier cru
1989 Bonnes Mares, grand cru
The 02 Volnay and the 89 Bonne Mares were the best wines on the table; they were each elegant, silky wines. The Volnay had years still on it, while the Bonnes Mares may have been at its peak, as the fruit was not showing, but very interesting layers of flavor were apparent.