The last weekend of July each year brings together a wondeful group of winos 40 miles south of Portland Oregon. The International Pinot Noir Celebration is one of my favorite weekends of the year. Wine growers, makers, distributors and most importantly, consumers gather in Mcminnville, Oregon for two-and-a-half days of sheer Pinot bliss.
The festivities are held on the campus of Linfield College, my alma mater, and at various vineyards in the surrounding countryside. The Willamette Valley is home to some truly amazing Pinot Noirs. The volcanic soil brings a certain delightful minerality to the wines. The topography and climate push the Pinot grapes to be their best. The rainy springs and hot dry, summers (with a beautiful coastal breeze that cools down the valley late in the afternoon) make for, what I think, is the perfect wine.
Traditional Oregon Pinot Noirs are (like their cousins from around the world), light bodied and pair well with pork, salmon and duck (remember French Burgundy is a Pinot Noir). They also have an Earthy element. Some would say (yes, I am one) that Oregon Pinots taste like dirt. Delectable dirt.
IPNC includes tasting seminars, vineyard tours, amazing meals and al fresco wine tastings, all culminating in the final dinner, the Salmon Bake. Large slabs of salmon are roasted over hot coals. This buffet dinner has so many great options you must take multiple trips to the buffet line.
Not all meals are buffet though, breakfast is, but the other dinner and the lunches are proper plated affairs. Still casual in nature, but with white table clothes, excellent food and of course fabulous wines. Every event is casual. Shorts, sandals and polos are the standard attire for men. Even the Grand dinner on Friday night is still casual – you may opt to put on long pants because it does get chilly in the valley at night.
I love Oregon summers. The heat and sun of the day re-energize me. The camaraderie of the attendees is intoxicating. This isn’t a snobby event. People are here to talk about wine, learn about wine and share. At the Salmon Bake guests are encouraged to bring their favorite bottles. People do this and share. They aren’t showing off, they want to expose you to their favorite wine. They want to discuss the wine with you. It is a totally refreshing experience. It is Oregon.
Put this wonderful wine event on your calendar and join us at Linfield College the last weekend of July in 2019.