June 12, 2019

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International Pinot Noir Festival (IPNC): Pinot Noirvana

Pinotphiles from all over the world gravitate each summer to the bucolic campus of Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, to revel in their beloved indulgence. No written tests, no dreadful lectures at 8:00 in the morning, and no critical judging of Pinot Noir. The Celebration is nevertheless educational, featuring a Grand Seminar and courses as part of the University of Pinot. Combine the learning experience with an abundance of great Pinot Noir paired with the delicious bounty of Oregon prepared by the Pacific Northwest’s most talented chefs and you have what I term “Pinot Noirvana.”

The 2019 IPNC will be held July 26-28. Full weekend guests arrive Friday morning for three days of tastings, seminars, vineyard tours and gourmet dining. Guests have the opportunity to taste Pinot Noir wines from over 70 carefully vetted wineries from several continents.

This year’s Master of Ceremonies and Grand Seminar moderator will Steven Spurrier who will guide an in-depth discussion of the wines of the Côte Chalonnaise, “The 3rd Côte.” With the prices of Burgundy wines from the Côte d'Or rising to stratospheric levels, it behoves the lover of French wine to familiarize themselves with the often overlooked yet outstanding and lower-priced wines of the Côte Chalonnaise.

Steven Spurrier, after 54 years in the wine trade, has accumulated an impressive list of accolades. Jancis Robinson has called him “the unsung hero of the British Wine Trade.” He has been a champion of French wine, moving to Paris from London where he bought a wine shop in 1971, organized the private wine school, L’Academie du Vin, in 1973, and arranged the Judgment of Paris wine tasting of 1976. This famous tasting led to the international recognition of California wine. He subsequently returned to the UK to focus on writing several wine books and consulting. He has been the consulting editor of Decanter for many years.

Spurrier’s latest achievement is an autobiography, Wine-A Way of Life? released in 2018. Anne Krebiehl MW wrote about the man and the book, “Few realize how daringly innovative his unstuffy, fun-fueled, and open-minded approach to wine was - something we no take for granted….His love for la belle France and her wines is profound.”

Besides moderating the Grand Seminar at this year’s IPNC, Spurrier will be part of the celebration’s University of Pinot courses. These informative classes are offered in the early afternoon after lunch and are part of the program reserved for all Full Weekend guests. “A Conversation with Steven Spurrier” is one of the classes offering a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have an intimate discussion with IPNC’s 2019 Master of Ceremonies. Share a glass of sparkling wine from his Bride Valley estate in England and pick up an autographed copy of Spurrier’s latest book.

This year’s IPNC is a rare opportunity to hear and meet a living legend expound about the Côte Chalonnaise as well as share his reflections of a life well lived.

A description of all eight of the University of Pinot classes, a list of participating wineries, event details, suggestions for lodging on campus or nearby, and the Pre-IPNC Dinners on Thursday night preceding IPNC, are available on the IPNC website at www.ipnc.org. Tickets for the Full Weekend are $1295 and include an extravagant buffet breakfast Friday and Saturday and sparkling wine brunch on Sunday, a lunch in the grove under the trees at Linfield College with winemakers, a special lunch at a winery, a multiple-course gourmet dinner Friday night, and the traditional Salmon Bake Saturday night. You must register by June 30 to get your choice of University of Pinot classes.

Tickets are still available. If you consider yourself a pinotphile, you cannot assume that moniker until you have attended this event. It is not too late. Fly to Portland and take a 45-minute car ride to McMinnville in the heart of the Willamette Valley. Please contact me if you are attending. If I receive enough responses, I will organize a greet and meet on Thursday, May 25, midday at a Newberg location prior to IPNC and I will offer a tasting from multiple domestic magnums of Pinot Noir free! A PinotFile Magnum Fest!! We can also arrange to sit together at the Friday Night dinner and the Saturday night Salmon Bake and share Pinot experiences. Let me know if you need assistance on your itinerary including lodging. You will never ever regret attending the IPNC!

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