Let no grape be without its own tribute - and that means festivals! While the Zin crowd has ZAP, Pinot Noir has three upcoming starring roles.
These Pinot Noir festivals should be on your radar screen - Anderson Valley's and the touring Pinot Days Festival.
The Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival - held May 18-19 - has been the Big Kahuna of Mendo-grown mainstays for 14 years. Tickets for the grand tasting on Saturday are almost sold out, as are tickets for the "technical session" on Friday.
Personally I would make it a high priority to attend the technical session's morning presentation (if I could) to hear one of my favorite speakers Glenn McGourty, who is the UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor for Mendocino and Lake Counties. He'll be presenting "The State of the Pinot Noir Union."
Glenn is a great speaker and while he won't be addressing this specifically, he's also one of the state's leading experts on organic viticulture in particular.
The event will be moderated by Greg Walters of the Pinot Report.
At the Grand Tasting: look for this following organically grown Pinot (which, unfortunately, are few and far between - what's with that Pinot crowd when it comes to pesticides?):
• Handley Cellars' RSM Pinot Noir ($52)
This organically grown Pinot - the RSM - comes from the winery's best vineyard, located right on the estate. It's named in honor of proprietor and winemaker Milla Handley's late husband Rex Scott McClellan and the wine is a fitting tribute. It's not made every year - just when it's good enough!
The 2009 won a Gold Medal at the SF Chronicle Wine Tasting Competition.
Says Pinot File: "A first-rate wine of uncommon charm that is terrific now and will age gracefully."
Wine & Spirits selected it for its April 2012 article on the best pinot noirs giving it a 93 point rating.
Pinot Days is June 9-16 in San Francisco, with small events scattered through the city, followed by the Grand Tasting June 16 at Fort Mason.
Organic producers whose wines will be available to taste include:
• Big Basin (selected Pinots)
• Masut (only one Pinot and it's organically grown)
For more on the Masut Pinot Noir, see the post below. I'll be posting pictures from the Masut 2010 Pinot release party (it was Saturday) soon.
I look forward to seeing a list of more of the participating wineries from the Pinot Days web site. I'd expect to see more of the organically grown wines represented when the list is published.
Sonoma's Russian River Pinot Passport event takes place June 9-10.
DeLoach is the only participating winery with some organically grown Pinots.