Thursday, September 15, 2011

Doesn't Seem to Be a Shadow... Pinot In the City

With fall supposedly just days away, Summer in Portland definitely made its comeback this weekend, and with a fury. The mid-nineties weather did not keep us Portlanders away from a full city block of the Willamette Valley’s finest and made for two gorgeous (albeit feverish) days of swilling and snacking at Portland’s first ever Pinot in the City event!
Mid-Saturday I leisurely took the streetcar into the heart of the Pearl, walked in envy of Pearl-dwellers for about two blocks, and found myself in a miniature Willamette Valley. Nestled between the train station and the Pearl’s characteristic swanky mid-rise condominiums, 50+ Willamette Valley Wineries had arrived, with 50 more to pour the following day.

While the main event of the weekend was, of course, the wine, during tasting breaks I wandered around a few other exhibits including a coopering demonstration by Oregon Barrel Works, and nibbled on delicious pork sliders with currant mustard from Salem’s Crooked House Bistro. Another pleasant surprise was Hot Lips Pinot Noir Soda made from Pinot Noir grapes, lightly carbonated and with no supplements or artificial anything. It was the essence of the fruit, pre-fermentation, and it provided great perspective for the Pinot Noirs I tasted throughout the day.

It is no surprise to me looking back, that many of the weekend highlights are of the chilled variety:

Anne Amie 2008 Prismé Pinot Noir Blanc was the first white Pinot Noir I’ve tasted and was as though they had bottled summer – notes of crème soda and toasted marshmallow were enough to fill the summer s’mores shaped hole in my heart. The unusual combination is tamed by a light white peppery finish.

Twelve 2009 Estate White is comprised of 80% Pinot Blanc, 20% Pinot Gris and features a butter-smooth mid-palate with an airy burst of summer fruits and apple-crisp. The Estate White is absolute chilled perfection for a summer pick.

Ribbon Ridge (RR) 2006 Ridgecrest Vineyards Pinot Noir is a smoky, full-as-they-come Pinot with a unique mixture of spice and a lengthy finish. I would probably be the happiest with a bottle of this Pinot and a healthy portion of filet mignon, which has been duly noted for some chilly autumn day in the near future. According to RR, it is best aged 3 to 4 years, and I couldn’t agree more. Delicious!

R. Stuart & Co. 2009 Ana Vineyard Riesling was another favorite with bright notes of Fuji apples, and underscores of almond and citrus – a wine to enjoy now with fish or at last minute summer barbeques, and well into Fall with turkey and mashed potatoes.

Pinot in the City was the ultimate city slickers pocket wine country weekend. While many of the Willamette Valley wineries have participated in two previous events, the Seattle Block Party in 2010 and
the more recent Oregon Wine Flight to NYC event in February, Pinot in the City was the first of its kind in Portland from the Willamette Valley Wineries Association. The event was diverse, well run, and reminded me just how many WV wineries I have yet to visit… a list has been created.


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