Pasadena Pinot Fest – Time to Get Your Wine Geek On

Winemakers at last year's Pinot Fest, courtesy festival organizers

Yes, it’s another Grand Tasting Festival for the pinot noir grape, but this time it’s happening in our backyard, at the Altadena Country Club.

It’s the Pasadena Pinot Fest, from 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 11. You can go to the site to get tickets and more specifics, but it’s looking like it’s going to be a good one.

We had to ask Mike Farwell, one of the festival founders, just what is it about pinot noir that gets folks not only so excited, but why they get so geeky about it.

Farwell is somebody to ask, too. He not only started the festival by having tastings out of his own huge collection of pinot noirs (including quite a few Burgundies – the French region where the grape is grown), he’s one of the co-owners of Noir, in Pasadena, a wine bar and restaurant dedicated to the wine.

“Pinot noir is, by far, the most aromatic wine grape,” Farwell said. “There is no wine grape that rivals it in complexity. It has so many ways that it expresses itself. Sometimes it’s really intense, sometimes it’s really delicate. No other grape has that. No other grape comes close. It’s the perfect grape.”

But what about all the clones (which are what it sounds like, different clones of the same variety, cloned to get slightly different results)? Farwell agrees that might be going a bit.

“It’s kind of fun, but it’s a little unnecessary,” he said.

With around 200 wineries represented at the festival, Farwell does recommend taking it a little slowly.

“I think if you don’t drink everything, it can be much more interesting experience,” he said.

He recommends spitting and drinking lots and lots of water. And don’t feel like you have to try wines from every table. In fact, Farwell suggested making a list of the wineries you like and try them.

We’d like to amend that – not because we disagree. But one of the values of a festival like this is that you can try wines from wineries you wouldn’t ordinarily try, such wines from out of state or from wineries you’ve never heard of before. It’s not going to cost you any more or less, so it’s the perfect time to try something new.

We’ll be there, though only to try wines ourselves and figure out who we’re going to feature next.

So if you do go and find a winery that you want to know more about, be sure to comment below.

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