The Oregon winemakers did it again! A great event. Their second annual International Pinot Noir Celebration (Aug. 1988) was a smash hit. Held on the campus of Linfield College in McMinville, Oregon; the congregation was composed of winemakers, trade and press personalities, and serious wine enthusiasts (about 500 total).
There were several sessions of intensive tasting, at stand-up and sit-down events, of over 55 Pinot Noir wines presented from 5 countries by their winemakers and winery owners. Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, and the U.S.A. (California, Oregon, Washington) were the countries present.
For now, this is an exclusive Oregon event, organized by the winemaking community around McMinnville. They have cleverly taken the lead in selecting their most promising grape and inviting the rest of the world to come see and to bring their examples to show. Everybody learns in the process. Clever, these Oregonians!
There is no competition, no attempt to say who has the better wines. The air is refreshing and wholesome. There seems to be a free exchange of information and ideas.
Despite the non-competitive nature of the event, one cannot but help make mental impressions of who was showing better wines. Last year, the French burgundies were head and shoulders ahead in my mind! A few shining examples of Oregon wines were apparent, and the California wines were generally miserable. This year, again, the French burgundies were superb, really leading the flock. There were two exceptional California wines at the tables while the Oregon wines showed several of merit.
Here are the notable ones from my notes:
Australia: Coldstream Hills, 1986 three vineyards blend.
California: David Bruce Winery, 1985 estate.
Sanford Winery, 1986.
France: Dom. Claude Cornu, 1985 Hautes Cotes de Nuits.
Dom. Jacques Germain, 1986 Beaune Premier Cm, Les Teurons.
Dom. Michel Lafarge, 1985 Volnay, Clos des chenes.
Dom. Jacques Frederic Mugnier 1986 Musigny, Vielles Vignes and 1980 Chambolle-Musigny, Les Amoureuses.
Dom. Daniel Rion & fils. 1986 Nuits St. Georges, Vignes Rondes.
Dom. Georges Rournier, 1984 Bonnes Mares.
Oregon: Adelsheim Vineyard, 1986 Polk County.
Alpine Vineyards, 1981 Estate Bottled.
Amity Vineyards, 1985 Willamette Valley.
Ponzi Vineyards, 1986 Reserve.
If you are serious about pinot noir, this is an event to try and attend next year.