Do you need a spring break idea? Do you love Pinot Noir? Do you love bacon? If the answers are ‘Yes!’ to all of the above, check out Charlie Palmer’s 8th Annual Pigs and Pinot event in my favorite town in Sonoma county, Healdsburg–click here.
The event is being held this year on Friday, March 22nd and Saturday, March 23rd, so if you are looking for a wine-focused getaway, consider trekking out to Northern California that weekend. I’ve never been, but I think it is on my life ‘to do list’. Here’s what I know:
- I’d be most excited to attend Friday night’s Taste of Pigs and Pinot event. Perhaps it is the concept that, while you are noshing on some fantastic pork dishes, master sommeliers have to ‘sell’ you on their favorite Pinot Noirs of the year to win the ‘Pinot Cup.’ Doesn’t that sound like an Olympic sport of wine and food?! You know I love that! If I had to enter the competition, I would nominate Arista’s 2009 La Cruz Pinot Noir. I had been saving the bottle since my trip to Sonoma last spring, and the Pigs and Pinot email notifying me of the event convinced me that I needed to stop waiting and uncork that bottle. It was delicious! As I stated in my original tasting notes, this wine is all roses, raspberries, and fresh red fruit. Looks like all it is out of stock online, so get your butt to the winery if you want to try Arista’s artistry.
A variety of seminars are held on Saturday, which sound fun, but besides the Friday night event, I’d be most excited about attending Saturday night’s gala dinner at Hotel Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Kitchen. The event organizers described it as follows: As a collaborative offering, each course features a signature creation from Palmer and his guest chefs including: Elizabeth Falkner of Krescendo, Dean Fearing of Fearings Restaurant, Jose Garces of Garces Group and Craig Stoll of Delfina, Locanda and Pizzeria Delfina. Every course will be paired with two limited-production Pinot Noirs from highly acclaimed wineries including De Loach, Domaine A.F. Gros, Kosta Browne, Martinelli and Sea Smoke.
The last two Pinots from this list intrigue me the most. First, I visited Martinelli last spring too and bought the 2008 Zio Tony Ranch Pinot Noir for $60. From the winemaker, this wine is full of ‘cola-laced black cherry, wild berry, and black licorice galore that’s deep, persistent and concentrated, long and intriguing’. Robert M. Parker, Jr. scored it 93+ points. I would be excited to try Martinelli’s wines again!
Also, the Sea Smoke Pinots come highly recommended by my favorite local wine store, The Corkscrew. From a recent email from The Corkscrew’s owner, Geoff Bland:
SEA SMOKE PINOT NOIR 2010 Sea Smoke “Southing” $75.00 This wine represents the bulk of their production and it is gorgeous showing intense black cherry and raspberry fruit, there is a core of structure and depth in this wine that you seldom find in Pinot Noir, oak accents add richness and length on the palate; this is a wine that while delicious now will improve over the next five years.
2010 Sea Smoke “TEN” $99.00 As the name implies this wine represents the top TEN percent of their barrels and is a wine even bigger and more ageworthy than the Southing; this is serious,intense wine that never lets you down. Please cellar this for several years to see the true potential.
- The event is for charity and there will be high demand for rooms in Healdsburg, meaning it isn’t a cheap weekend getaway option. For perspective, the value package at the h2Hotel (the one that I stayed in last spring, which was great!) for 2 for the weekend is ~$1,600+transportation costs. Yikes! But you can always just buy ‘a la carte’ tickets for the tasting events and stay outside of Healdsburg. That could be lovely, too! So if you are interested in heading out to Pigs and Pinot and need some lodging options near Healdsburg, give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org. I may have some helpful hints for you
The Wandering Wine Girl