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2009 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival

Once a year, Anderson Valley opens its arms to pinot aficionados and stages its annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival. This year marked the 12th annual Festival, held on a sunny weekend May 15-17, 2009. The event began informally 17 years ago with winery open houses, but was formalized into a festival in 1997. It has increased in popularity in step with the meteoric rise in quality of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir over the last several years and this year’s celebration of Pinot Noir was sold out with over 700 people in attendance. Held each year the third weekend in May, the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival is sponsored by the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association.

The Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival is one of my favorite annual Pinot Noir events. Each year I look forward to attending, attracted by the casual, country fair atmosphere, the delectable local artisan food, the warmth and passion of the local winegrowers and winemakers, the cheerful organizers, and the superb Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs which have become world-class.

The event kicked off on Friday, May 15 with the Technical Conference at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds Apple Hall in Boonville. I was honored to give a presentation titled, “Health Benefits of Wine: Not Too Much But Not Too Little.” This program is available for listening......“Health Benefits of Wine”

Saturday, May 16, turned out to be toasty (flirting with 95 degrees) at Goldeneye’s Confluence Vineyard where the Grand Tasting of over 40 producers of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir was held under the big tent. As a reggae band played in the background, visitors downed some great juice, renewed friendships and found some new producers to follow. Listen to winemakers at the grand tasting comment on Anderson Valley Pinot Noir:

“AV Grand Tasting Interview”

Before the Grand Tasting, a press tasting was offered in the Goldeneye Tasting Room featuring the latest releases from 31 producers of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. This was a special opportunity to spend some time with each of the wines and critically evaluate them. My tasting notes are featured in the following pages. In addition, I have included tasting notes on many other Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs that I have recently sampled in my usual manner.

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