I just attended the ‘Pinot in the City’ event on Sunday here in Portland [OR] and boy, was it HOT! No, I mean the weather. Wow. It was sponsored by ‘Willamette Valley Wineries’, a non-profit that’s committed to getting Oregon’s Willamette Valley wineries recognized as premier Pinot Noir producers. A well organized affair but the location was a little, well,…odd. A vacant lot in the midst of Portland’s acclaimed Pearl District. A graveled piece of earth that seemed more like a construction site than tasting venue. I realize that an outside event in downtown Portland in mid September isn’t likely to produce temperatures in the mid nineties but that’s what happened. The vendors were trying to keep their wines at drinkable temperatures and not all were successful. A lot of the white wines were too warm and some of the Pinot Noirs were too chilly. It was miserably hot. Oregon’s wine, generally cool climate varietals like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc are very sensitive to heat. The serving temperatures of these wines is critical. This problem is eliminated in an indoor venue, where most wine tasting events occur. I hope they try another location next year. Did I mention it was hot? On to the wine…As I try to do at each event like this, I explore wines that are new to me. One standout was Dominio IV. They are biodynamic farmers that produce some other varietals like Syrah and Tempranillo. Their Pinot Noir’s were very good, even excellent. As I chatted with winemaker/owner, Patrick Reuter, I could appreciate their commitment to quality. These are wines worth seeking out. Hamacher Wines was another attention getter. Eric Hamacher was showing his ‘H’ bottling blend. Fruit from several vineyards go into making this wine. It’s good and very reasonable at $20.00 retail. His Willamette Valley Pinot was excellent and noteworthy. I hope to have some on the website soon.
Dobbes Family Estate was offering their Grenche Blanc, 2009 Grand Assemblage Pinot Noir and the Quailhurst Pinot Noir. To me, the two Pinots were very good but the champion was the Grenache Blanc. This white is crisp, fruity and to the point. I’ll try to get some of this too, stay tuned. Good wine and good people represent Dobbes. Other notables were Panther Creek Cellars, Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, Redman Wines, Soter Vineyards and a lot of other I didn’t get to. Also, another up and coming winery is Amalie Robert Estate, a small production winery with great results lately. Over 100 wineries were represented over the two day event, the best in Oregon. If you haven’t been to Portland recently, please come and visit when you can. It’s a beautiful city with some of the best restaurants and local wines in the country. Yes, Portland and Oregon Pinot Noir are ‘on the map!’ ♠ jp