The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2010

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Page 88 of 112

PACIFIC NORTHWEST iving on the edge is nothing new for Pinot Noir produc- ers. This is especially true in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where each vintage is marked by the chances of rain leading up to harvest. But when conditions are optimal, the region can make wines that rival the best in the world. At the 24th annual International Pinot Noir Celebration, held July 23–25 at Linfield College in McMinnville, much of the buzz centered on stunning new releases from the 2008 vintage presented by premiere producers from Willamette Valley, California, Burgundy and other premium regions in Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Alsace, Italy and Germany. Pinot Pushers L While pouring her family’s elegant and sophisticated Ponzi 2008 Reserve Pinot Noir at the Saturday Alfresco Tasting, Willamette Valley winemaker Luisa Ponzi recalled memories of what made the vintage so special. “After a late set, the tight clusters and small berries led to what became a legitimate ‘nail biter’ harvest until the weather conditions held steady through Indian Summer. Even then, we picked all the way to the end of November, but it turned out to be a dynamite vintage across the board!” said Ponzi, whose family is celebrating the winery’s 40th anniversary this year. David Page of Adelsheim Vineyards is an ecstatic fan of the vintage as well. “To me, the wines from 2008 are very complex and focused. The fruit flavors are denser, with more concen- tration, more vibrant acidity, plenty of spice and tannins that are chewy but not as tight as some of the previous vintages. CELEBRATING 2008 PINOT NOIRS IN OREGON’S WILLAMETTE VALLEY by Christopher Sawyer / photos by Andrea Johnson Photography courtesy of IPNC Longtime IPNC attendee Kiiyallah Hatherston of Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen in Eugene, Oregon. Amy Wesselman of Westrey Wine Co. 88 / the tasting panel / september 2010

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