Thursday, June 10, 2010

The World Needs Pinot: The International Pinot Noir Celebration

There was a song that I remember from, well, from a long time ago, and the lyrics are "what the world needs now is love, sweet love, that's the only thing that there's just too little of" and how love might cure all the world's ills. I like to think of myself as an optimist, but in this case I think the singer got it all wrong. Certainly, the world could use some more love, but I think the world would wildly benefit from more delicious earthy, complex and delicate Oregon Pinot Noir. Hell, we all could.

To that end witness the 24th Annual International Pinot Noir Celebration July 23 through the 25th 2010, billed as "Three days of Revelery in Oregon Wine Country." The person responsible for this phraseology is obviously highly talented in the art of the understatement. McMinnville, Oregon is going to be host to a proverbial orgy of the palate. (I am in no way implying that there will be an orgy, so get your mind out of the gutter. However, I am looking forward to seeing the blog's keyword search results spike in new and interesting ways.) There will be no shortage of incredible eats (50 NW chefs) as the weekend progresses through an array of amazing food and Pinot pairings(65 local and international wine makers). The Grand Dinner will highlight Northwest cuisine sourced from local farmers and up and coming culinary talent. A series of courses will be paired with specially selected Pinot Noir. The Northwest Salmon Bake will be a feast the likes of which you will not ever see again, unless you come back, or you get a White House invite. The visually dramatic Northwest tradition will be accompanied by what is described as "an extravagant" buffet that will include cellared Pinot Noirs from around the world. This event will take place on July 24th. That day, the world will be getting a lot of what it needs, and by my estimation we should see some swings in world peace, political turmoil and maybe even my Pittsburgh Pirates be on a winning streak.

photo by Andrea Johnson

Peppered throughout this culinary decadence will be seminars by winemakers and chefs, vineyard tours and luncheons, an opportunity to speak with and about wine media, and barrel making demonstrations. The weekend will wrap up with a more public event, and the one I'll be attending, the Passport to Pinot. Passport to Pinot is described as a "pocket version of the three day weekend" wherein you'll get to sample some 60 of the Pinot Noirs that have been poured throughout the weekend, as well as food prepared by some of the chefs that have been highlighted throughout the event, 12 of them, to be exact. The $125 price tag gives you the more approachable opportunity to sample what the $975 Full Weekend experience might have been like. Tickets for both are available here.

Besides the fact that you are essentially given an IV of Pinot Noir and some tasty treats from Oregon's best culinary talent, you're also contributing to a great cause. Salud, is an organization that works to provide health care for the vineyard workers who do a tough job for all this Pinot Noir that we get to enjoy. Proceeds from the event, as well as other auction and donation opportunities will go to assist the organization that works closely with the Oregon medical community to get care to the vineyard workers and their families. So buy your tickets, support a great cause, and enjoy some of the best Pinot Noir in the world.


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