Monday, March 30, 2009

Pinot Paradise 2009

Last Sunday was the 5th annual Pinot Paradise, the opportunity to sample almost every Pinot Noir producer in the Santa Cruz Mountains. (Though while it might be possible to try all of them in theory, I've yet to manage it.)

The event is held at Villa Ragusa in downtown Campbell. It's a nice, big venue, easy to reach and ample parking nearby. It doesn't get too crowded, though the $20 extra for the VIP session from 1:00-2:00 is money well spent even if you don't do the official tasting tour, since you get free run of the place.

I'll raise my minor complaints first to get them out of the way; there's not enough space in the program to write tasting notes, though granted most people who are serious about taking notes will have brought their own notebook. There weren't enough spittoons , which meant that you were constantly having to squeeze past people. Last year I thought that plastic Dixie cups were provided, which helped. And finally there really needs to be water jugs (not iced) on each of the pouring tables.

On to the tasting. Lots of people pouring multiple vintages, which gives a good opportunity to compare. Generally the 2006 vintages seems to be showing more fruit at this stage; the 2005s more structure. The 2007s mostly seemed young and tight.

Big Basin was the only new winery from last year. Testarossa were not listed and I didn't find Trout Gulch or Vine Hill. I'll post the tasting notes later in the week once I've had chance to write them up.

3 comments:

Tim Corliss said...

Ityped in notes on my iPhone. Worked great

Anonymous said...

I had a clear favorite wine at the tasting..and when I tried to buy at the bottle booth, they sent me to the winemaker's table. He was such an a**hole that I will never buy wine from him ever.

When people are trying to hand me money I generally have a smile on my face.

In spite of that one person...the event was very well organized and the wines were all good. Kudos to the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association.

Wes Barton said...

Trout Gulch and Vine Hill were to the right of Windy Oaks. A Vine Hill wine was poured during the sub-regional seminar, and was of my least favorites of the event. I didn't bother trying the other. They seem so enthusiastic and respectful of the history I want to like them. Oh well, some day I hope...

My main complaint is having food stations interspersed with the pouring stations. Food aromas presented a real challenge. The worst perfume was on a little troll lady who dived in for as big a pour as she could get, then was off chugging it in front of the next winery instead of waiting for a pour of the other wine from the first.

The layout was a little odd. I only saw SCMV after I thought I was done. Oops.