Registration is open for the 11th Annual Pinot Noir Summit, March 16, at The Presidio. Many events focus on Pinot Noir, but what sets the Pinot Noir Summit apart is the process that precedes it, and the way it presents Pinots to consumers.
From a field of over 440 submitted wines, only those which consistently score 90 points or above in a series of double-blind tastings by a broad spectrum of wine writers, bloggers, wine buyers and winemakers, are chosen to be part of the Pinot Summit. Pinot-based sparklings, roses and still wines made from Pinot are eligible, and entries from around the world were evaluated.
Many appellations from across the globe were represented in this year’s field of entries. Eight of the highest scoring wines came from Anderson Valley, nine from Santa Rita Hills, 22 from Carneros, four from Santa Lucia Highlands, 10 from the Sonoma Coast, 22 from Russian River, nine from Oregon and a smattering are from East Coast AVAs, including the Finger Lakes, Pennsylvania and the Hudson Valley of New York.
The 40 top-scoring wines will be available for the public to taste, and rate, at the 11th Annual Pinot Summit, Saturday, March 16. Put on by Affairs of the Vine, this event is small, intimate and very focused, allowing attendees to explore new producers, as well as perennial favorites, in a blind tasting format while voting for their top favorites. Male and female ballots are tallied separately, revealing distinct preferences.
Attendees get to meet the winemakers who will be pouring a selection of their portfolios, including Pinot, sparkling, roses and a variety of other wines as part of the walk around tasting. Newcomers to the Pinot Summit this year include Carol Shelton, who made her first Pinot in 2010, along with J2, Mud House and Six Sigma. Favorites Bonneau, Claibourne & Churchill, Handley, Field Stone, Hahn and TR Elliott will also be in attendance.
Prior to the blind tasting, two workshops will be held, beginning at 12:30 p.m. and concluding at 3 p.m., offering VIP attendees an opportunity to delve into what makes Pinot Noir the topic of such intense interest.
“Pinot Noir: The Wine That Speaks Loudest from the Vineyard” - Top winemakers from four premier cool climate growing regions will share their insights into how their wines best demonstrate and define unique site characteristics.
Moderator: John Drady, founder, Sonoma Coast Vineyards
Eugenia Keegan, acting general manager, The Four Graces Winery
John Clark, winemaker, Brophy Clark Cellars
Francis Mahoney, winemaker, Mahoney Vineyards
David Strada, U.S. marketing manager, New Zealand Winegrowers
Erica Trombetta, enologist, Trombetta Family Wines
12:30 – 1:45 p.m.
“Winemakers to Watch” features a panel of four talented and relatively young winemakers, who are still “below the radar.”
Moderator: Fred Swan, CS, DWS, CWAS: NorCal Wine
Csaba Szakal, owner/winemaker, En Garde Winery
Alan Dewitt, winemaker, Guglielmo Winery
Michael Zardo, winemaker, Ten Acre Winery
Matt Hughes, winemaker, Six Sigma Ranch
1:45 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Taste These Top Scoring Wines
Among the top scoring wines by the male judges were:
Anderson Oaks 2010 Pinot Noir (92 pts)
Sonoma Coast, $30.00
Chloe Creek Vineyards 2010 Leras Family Vineyard Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $40.00 (92 pts)
David Bruce Winery 2010 Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $42.00 (92 pts)
Double Bond Wine 2009 Wolff Vineyards Pinot Noir
Edna Valley, $48.00 (92 pts)
Field Stone 2011 Vineyard Select Hopkins River Ranch Pinot Noir
Russian River Ranch, $30.00 (92 pts)
Among the female judges top scoring wines were:
Bargetto 2010 Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $25.00 (93 pts)
Breathless Blanc de Noirs
Sonoma County, $25.00 (93 pts)
Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs
Carneros, $22.00 (93 pts)
Mahoney Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir
Carneros, $24.00 (93 pts)
Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery 2009 Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $65.00 (92 pts)
Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery 2009 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir
Green Valley, Russian River, $55.00 (92 pts)
Graton Ridge Cellars 2010 Estate Paul Family Estate Pinot Noir
Russian River Vineyards, $50.00 (92 pts)
Handley Cellars 2009 Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $32.00 (92 pts)
PINOT SUMMIT EVENT LOCATION & TIMELINE
Location: The Eleventh Annual Pinot Noir Summit
Saturday, March 16, 12:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Herbst Building in the Presidio
385 Moraga Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94129
Workshops: 12:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Pinot Noir Showdown, Blind Tasting: 3 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Attendees taste and cast their ballots for their favorites. Male and Female ballots are tallied separately.
Pinot Noir Shootout Grand Awards Tasting & Ceremony: 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Top Pinot Noir winemakers will showcase their wines with a Pinot-friendly selection of light hors d’oeuvres. Winners will be unveiled at 7:45 p.m.
Pinot Noir Summit All Day Tickets - $125 - are available at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/329467
12:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.: Includes two workshops, Pinot Noir Showdown, Grand Awards Tasting & Ceremony
Pinot Noir Summit Grand Tasting & Awards Ceremony Tickets - $75 - are available at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/329467.
6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
According to International Wine Review, “This premier Pinot Noir event defines excellence for New World winemaking.”
For tickets and information, visit www.affairsofthevine.com.