Pinot Days Are Gone, But the Pinot Lingers On

Courtesy Lisa Rigisich

We had a great day at the Pinot Days grand tasting in Santa Monica. We caught up with a couple old Faves (big shout out to Wes Hagen of Clos Pepe, who gave us a really great interview).

Boy, were there a lot of different pinot noirs and a lot of very passionate, very intelligent folks out there pouring. And a lot of people were tasting. We don’t have the final numbers, but it sure looked like everyone pretty much poured everything they had. We left relatively early and there were several wineries whose wine was gone.

This was a slightly different tasting for us – we ended up helping to pour for Amalie Robert Estate winery, since their owners/winemakers had to leave to go back to Oregon early. Turns out we weren’t that needed – we poured out just as co-owner Dena Drews was ready to call her taxi to the airport (her partner in life and in winemaking Ernie Pink had already left). But it was an interesting experience.

Aside from the fabulous wine that Pink and Drews make, it was fun talking about how the wine is all estate grown, produced and bottled – and why we needed to mention all three. Wines can be fermented other places than where the grapes are grown – which we well know, since we buy all our grapes for our own humble home winemaking efforts. So if a wine is estate-grown, you know the grapes all came from the owner’s vineyards. But that doesn’t mean the owner didn’t ship them elsewhere to be fermented or bottled. So the fact that Amalie Robert Estate wine is all three means that Pink and Drews are pretty much doing everything.

More on them later, but some other fun things we did included a quick tasting of several New Zealand pinot noirs. Alas, we were not impressed, but it was fun to try.

One sad note, it’s entirely possible that the Barker Hangar, in Santa Monica, where the event was held, may not be there next year. There’s a serious movement afoot to do away with the Santa Monica Airport, which may or may not include the hangar. Lisa Rigisich told Anne last week that they have looked at a couple other sites for the festival, but we do hope the hangar, uh, hangs in there.

Finally, major kudos to Lisa and Steve Rigisich for pulling off another great event. Pinot Days has become a career for them, but it’s also a passion project, and it shows. Things appeared to go really smoothly. Michael, who volunteered with set up the day before, noted that things went really well that day. ¬†All in all, a fun day and well worth going.