Monday, March 30, 2015

IN PHOTOS: IPOB Tasting: March 10

The In Pursuit of Balance (IPOB) movement, started by the husband and wife team of Raj Parr (somm) and Jasmine Hirsch (grower/vintner), is sometimes a bit mysterious to outsiders, but it's very much, as Jay McInerny once wrote, "a cool kids" event. Staged three times each year - once in LA, NYC and SF - it's dedicated to countering the California trend of making overly fruity or alcoholic Pinot Noir and Chard by featuring a self- and peer-selected group of vintners who follow a lower alcohol path.

It's for California vintners only, which in my mind, makes it slightly idiosyncratic. Oregonians tend to make wines that are in better balance, due to their cooler climate, so I guess the original IPOB gang didn't think those producers needed any help communicating their "IPOB-ness." Basically the IPOB club wanted to escape the bad rap that overly ripe California wines from Burgundian vines were getting and thus separated themselves from the pack. It's a marketing move.

As a group, in contrast to the Rhone Rangers or the Oregon Pinot gang, fewer of these producers are growing organically or Biodynamically. Why Oregonians - with a lot more wet weather than California - can grow Pinot without using pesticides or fungicides more than Californians is a bit of a mystery to me. Or perhaps most of the organic/Biodynamic producers (Alma Rosa, Ampelos, Benziger, Porter Creek, Robert Sinskey Vineyards, and more) don't seem to gravitate to IPOB. Whatever.

The tasting was well attended by a powerhouse bunch of buyers, wine merchants and press.

Enjoy these photos from the IPOB tasting in SF.

UPDATE: Since this post was published, Ron Washam, the savagely humorous Hosemaster of Wine, has weighed in on the IPOB movement. Don't miss his coverage here.

There was plenty of time to socialize before the
tasting as the seminars were late in letting out.
Calera, one of California's greatest wineries
focused on Burgundian varietals, makes
7,000 cases from its organic estate vines.
Calera's unique terroir - on limestone soild in San Benito County - is
haunting and remote, and a great place to visit.
Pouring Littorai's Mays Canyon (grown at the Demeter certified
Porter Bass vineyard on Mays Canyon Road)
Tasting the Brosseau Chard at Copain
Like Calera, Brosseau's organic vines are located on limestone rich
soils, but in the Chalone AVA
Somms wanted to let attendees know they were alive and well,
despite reports of their disappearance from SF restaurants,
an assertion Jon Bonné, San Francisco Chronicle wine writer,
made in a recent column. Locals disagreed and let the crowd know.

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