No I did not start drinking this because of "That Movie". My love of this grape started long before Sideways mainly because I'm a sucker for the flavor cherry. Cobbler, pie I can still smell my grandmothers fresh cherry creations (she was damn good at apple too and chardonnay is another story). You shove a wine with cherry, spice, red berry and add some earthiness or leather and I'm yours for life. Perfectionists make great Pinot and settle for nothing less.
While the pinot grape is high maintenance and difficult to make into wine, some say its best grown in France, California's Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Carneros, Santa Barbara and up in Willamette Valley Oregon. Cool regions with sun and fog allowing the grape to thrive and produce are ideal. Walking the vineyard at various times of the day gives you an appreciation of "a grapes life" and the contrast between warm and cool throughout the day. Seeing those "pine cone" clusters of deep purple grapes beautifully hanging from the vines makes the heart race knowing what lies ahead for these beauties.
The first 2 bottles of Pinot both introduced by friends Adelsheim Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon and La Crema Pinot Noir from Sonoma County California. That started off my "pinot" quest to discover every bottle produced and rarely will you see my small cellar with zippo bottles of this fine juice (except for now which I blame on the wine gremlins). Visiting with the likes of Eric Luse at Eric Ross Winery sipping that beautiful Saralees Vineyard Pinot, Jason Deloach of HookNLadder Winery tasting both bottled and barreled Russian River Valley Pinot, Amelia Ceja of Ceja Vineyards and the wonderful earthy Pinot of the Carneros Region of Napa, Cuvaison's Carneros tasting room on the patio overlooking the vineyards gives you an appreciation for the different characteristics of the regions. Santa Barbara Cambria or Highliner from the famous Hitching Post, Cartlidge and Browne, John Tyler Wines, Owen Roe, Bouchaine the list is endless. Smooth, silky light to medium bodied its why I say "Heaven In A Bottle"
This weekend in honor of the 9th Pinot Summit I shall raise a glass and toast my many friends attending and hope they share some of their thoughts on the event. Some even have orders to remember the wines they tasted and email me a list. To the winemakers may you all enjoy success, gain many new "friends" of your wines but most of all have a great time sharing your story. Afterall without all of you we wouldn't have this wonderful juice to enjoy.