International Pinot Noir Celebration – IPNC

International Pinot Noir Celebration – IPNC

Have you noticed how it is starting to get dark a little after 9:00 now instead of 9:20-ish? I feel like I haven’t crammed in enough the last couple of months. I need summer to stick around longer. My standard barometer for the end of summer is the second week of September participating in Cycle Oregon. There is a Cycle Oregon event this year, but it’s not the week-long 500-mile event. I find it interesting how I associate events with the time of year. I am a creature of habit and last weekend was the start of a whole new summer addiction for myself called IPNC.

In case you don’t know, IPNC is the International Pinot Noir Celebration which started in 1987. People from all over the world come to celebrate for three days with education seminars ranging from how different glassware affects the smell of wine to side by side comparisons of Pinot from other areas of the world. Saturday night is THE celebration called the Salmon Bake. Food and wine galore, along with happy people having the best of times.

Last year was supposed to be my first IPNC, but that didn’t happen. So this year’s event was all virtual but still kicked prominent tail! I was fortunate to be included in a small group, coordinated by the infamous Amazing Amy, starting at 10:30 using a conference table at Elizabeth Chambers. The Grand Seminar started at 11:00 via Zoom, and we tasted through six different Pinots. Four were from Oregon, one from California, and the other was from Burgundy. The moderator was Julia Coney, with some help from Michelle Williams. I enjoyed the Texas tag team with a bit of southern slang mixed in.

This year’s theme was “The Perfume of Pinot,” which perfectly matched Julia’s perfume background. Upon starting the Grand Seminar, Julia quoted Jean-Claude Ellena, “Smell is a word. Perfume is literature.” During the seminar, there is so much to take in. I was feverishly taking notes, and at the time, the quote didn’t take stock. Sitting here now, typing the words, it is a profound statement for perfume and wine. In this regard, I am directly referencing Pinot. There is nothing better than getting a big intoxicating sniffy sniff of Pinot. There are those times when opening a bottle wafts upon wafts of fragrances escape forever imprinting in your mind for years to come.

I will whiz by the wines during the Grand Seminar only because this was the first event of the day, and I could go on for freakin’ ever. Each winemaker talked about their wine for a bit, and Julia assigned a perfume to every wine. So here are the wines, the winemaker, with the perfume.

2017 Domaine Drouhin Laurene – Aaron Bell – Ralph Lauren’s Lauren
2017 Maysara Jamsheed Momtazi Vineyard – Tahmiene Maysara – Lubin’s Black Jade
2017 Stoller Estate Reserve – Kate Payne-Brown – Christian Dior’s Oud Ispahan
2018 Talbott Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Santa Lucia – David Coventry, ANINE BING Pure Noir
2018 Soter Mineral Springs – Tony Soter – Chanel Exclusifs Coromandel
2018 Maison Louis Jadot Nuits-Saint-George – Armani Armani Prive Orangerie Venise

I didn’t get the name of the French winemaker, and it wasn’t on the website. I also went back to the recording, and his segment was cut off for some strange reason. Overall, all of the wines were good. However, there was one in particular that didn’t belong, in my opinion. Can you guess which one it was?

After the Grand Seminar, Dru, who also tasted with us, set up a killer tasting at Elizabeth Chambers, consisting of the 2018 Willamette Valley, 2019 Reserve, 2018 Lazy River, 2017 Temperance Hill, 2018 Temperance Hill, and the 2019 Dupee Vineyard. The 2017 Temperance Hill was fabulous, but I had to leave with a few bottles of the 2019 Dupee Vineyard. It rocked my world on so many levels.

A few people who worked the Grand Seminar came over to chat with us and just so happened to bring a Saint Jacques Marsanny. Oh darn, another Burgundy bottle, whatever will I do?

The sun started to heat up a bit while the whole crew walked over to the Bloc Party at Mac Market. I got the chance to talk with Tiquette Bramlett, president at Vidon, for a little bit. I also got a small taste of David Cho’s Blanc de Noir, and oh my goodness, the bubble mouthfeel was excellent. I can’t wait to dive deeper into the bottle I have for my Sparkling Report.

We decided it was time to head to the next tasting at Domaine Serene with the sun bearing down. You will have to forgive me for not writing down all the wines Sean poured for us. We were lucky enough to preview the 2018 Jerusalem Hill, and it was everything you would expect from JH. Solid and impressive each and every year!

Once we were finishing up at Domain Serene, it was around 5:00, and for a typical type of day out in wine country, the day would be coming to a close. Looking back, it was a fabulous day, but with the transition from day into evening, it felt the day was just now starting to kick it up a notch!

Have you seen a charcuterie board like this ever? Oh my goodness, batman, IPNC’s Salmon Bake spirit was in the air big time. People brought some serious wines you get a chance to try once in a lifetime.

There was way more wine, and there was some wine I missed. I might have been the teeniest bit sad to miss out, but there is no way to taste every single bottle. The reason I missed out on some rarities is the fact I was talking with so many people. Sitting down at dinner to chat with Owen Bargreen was the highlight of the evening for me. His breadth of knowledge and graciousness is out of this world. Talking with Grant Coulter and Renée about the Bednarik vineyard in Cherry Grove is up there as well. Don’t be surprised if I do a newsletter just on the Bednarik vineyard before the end of the year.

With it being July, darkness doesn’t creep up until after 9:00. With the moon starting to come up over the vineyard at Hazelfern, I swear it felt like the day was just beginning. Off in the distance, someone was shooting off their 4th of July fireworks. I got the chance to talk with Julia Coney, and she is a hoot and a half. It was a fantastic conversation, and I wonder what she and Channing Frye were talking about.

It was fast approaching midnight when the festivities started to dwindle down. As much as I didn’t want to leave, I knew I needed to get some shut-eye and rest from the most jammed-packed day I had in recent memory.

To say I am grateful to everyone that had a hand in a spectacular day is putting it lightly. There are way too many people to list. First, the Amazing Amy, who seriously needs a better nickname, created a full itinerary filled with nothing but amazingness. Next, Bryan and Laura at Hazelfern were gracious to host a fantastic event with a setting you need to check if you haven’t been. Finally, everyone who brought wine, wow, what a day!

If you have thought about attending IPNC, do it! I already have my tickets and boarding all in place for next July. Seriously, people are planning already and getting things in place. It is a great weekend event and worth every penny. If you are planning to go or already have your ticket let me know to connect up.

With Gratitude,
A.J. Weinzettel

PS – So many pictures this week, but it is one of the best ways to tell a story. Hope you enjoyed. 

PPS – I didn’t take all of these pictures. We all pooled our photos together to share. Thank you to everyone who uploaded their photos!

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