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Tim Foolery

Home » Posts tagged 'Pinot Noir' (Page 2)

Tag Archives: Pinot Noir

Correcting a Restaurant’s Wine List?

Following our recent trip to Yosemite, we capped our vacation with a meal at Coi (pronounced kwa, not coy) in San Francisco.  We opted for the tasting menu and decided to splurge and do the wine pairings as well.  I was that guy who took photos of the meal, but I did so with my phone, without flash and as clandestinely as possible.  I will share those photos and the full menu shortly.

After a bit of a debate on whether we would spring for the full wine pairings, we delved a bit deeper into the list.  Their was a Burgundian wine that looked and sounded great.  The menu read:

2006 Sérafin Père et Fils Les Millandes Premier Cru (Morey-Saint-Denis) Premier Cru, Bergundy, Germany.

I am not in the wine business.  I am just a consumer.  I love Pinot Noir and I think Burgundy and the Willamette Valley (Oregon) have the best in the world.  I had never heard of Burgundy, Germany.  Was it a misprint, or was there a small German region of which I was unaware?  I was told by MS to leave it alone and not to ask about it.  So I obliged…for a while.  This wine was to be served with the seventh of of the 10 courses.  We had some good laughs with the server and when he mentioned this was what was up next, I asked him about the menu and our interaction went something like this:

Server: Gentlemen, next up is the 2006 Sérafin.
Me: Oh, I’ve been looking forward to this wine.  I am a huge fan of Burgundian wines.  What should we be looking for as we taste.
(He then proceeded to talk about the grapes and the key influences of terroir, etc)
Me:  So this is the wine from Burgundy, Germany?
Server:  (Flabbergasted).  Um, no sir.  Burgundy is in France, not Germany.  It is located southeast of Paris, but just a couple hundred miles from the German border.
Me: Oh, my mistake.  I would have sworn the menu said it was a German wine.
Server: (Scoffs). Oh no, sir. It says Burgundy, France.
Me: Ok, my mistake.  Well, you may want to take another look at the list.
Server: I am sure it is accurate. (Giggles nervously).  If we did make a mistake, we will have it corrected immediately….and we will make this worth your while.
Me:  Thank you.

Fast forward about four minutes and the server returns.  He has a semi-shocked look on this face.  He quietly apologized for both the menu error and for his doubting us.  He said the menus were being reprinted and we would be given a proper menu before we leave.  He would not let me have a copy of the menu with the error. He also mentioned that this wine list hadn’t changed in months and no one had said a word about it.  He continued to thank us throughout the dinner, but the best part, was that he continued to joke with us.  For example he mentioned the lobster (which was served with this Burgundy) was from “Maine – a beautiful Region in Northern Germany, not too far from Berlin.”

The menu had an error. He was horrified. He fixed it and we all had a good laugh about it. We had some delicious food at Coi and some amazing wine, but we also had a fantastic time chatting with the staff (some of which are recent Bay Area transplants from Chicago).  I love places that can be serious, but also poke fun at themselves and have a good time.  The world isn’t perfect, but this meal was one of the closest version I’ve gotten to culinary perfection in a very long time.

So, how did the server “make it worth our while”, you may be asking.  He added a wine pairing for us with the first of the desserts and quite honestly, his ad hoc selection paired so much better than the pre-planned wine (which was still great).

We ended the evening with some long chats with the staff, getting recommendations for breakfast and lunch the following day, even some recommendations for Chicago.  This would be a great place to visit more regularly – I just loved the team at this restaurant.  Too bad we are in Chicago and they are in San Francisco.  This restaurant is definitely a splurge meal and not a regular occurrence.  If you have the opportunity to dine here, I would highly recommend it. It was such a great experience.

Have you come across a menu with an error like this?  Would you have said something?  I’m not a wine expert and I’m sure I’ve come across, but didn’t notice, many other errors on wine lists (incorrect vintages, block blends that don’t make sense, etc), but this error just jumped out at us.  How would you have handled it?

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IPNC Day 2

Our second day at IPNC started off with some more bacon and pain au chocolat (again) along with some fruit.  We decided to skip the Grand Seminar, which everyone said was a mistake.  It turned out to be a great discussion on Australian wines.  We’ve had one or two snoozer events in the past, so we decided to head off campus by ourselves and do some tastings on our own.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a place to taste at 09h00?

After leaving campus we found a place that was open and had a great view – Durant Vineyards and worked our way through the six wines they were tasting.  We even ended up buying a few bottles and some olive oil.  The views from Durant / Red Ridge Farm are breathtaking – it is a perfect view of the Willamette Valley.

Perfect spot to enjoy a picnic and a glass of wine - Durant Vineyard

Perfect spot to enjoy a picnic and a glass of wine – Durant Vineyard

View from the yard at Durant - I love the Willamette Valley Views

View from the yard at Durant – I love the Willamette Valley Views

After a quick morning tasting, we headed back to campus to enjoy the al fresco lunch.  We sat with some Canadian friends we met at a prior IPNC – our table selection was completely random and honestly, we didn’t realize we knew them until we chatted for a few minutes.

At each meal you are seated with a wine maker.  For lunch we sat with Jef from Dutton Goldfield located in Sebastopol.   He told some great stories, not only about wine, but about his attempts to be a professional mogul skier, life with a toddler and surviving the recent Napa quake.

Lunch on the Lawn Menu - Featuring work by amazing local Chefs

Lunch on the Lawn Menu – Featuring work by amazing local Chefs

Stone Fruit Salad - Perfectly ripened Oregon stone fruit makes me very happy.

Stone Fruit Salad – Perfectly ripened Oregon stone fruit makes me very happy.

A take on a Salade Niçoise with seared Oregon Albacore.

A take on a Salade Niçoise with seared Oregon Albacore.

Chocolate Tamale - not your typical dessert, but a great blend of flavors nonetheless.

Chocolate Tamale – not your typical dessert, but a great blend of flavors nonetheless.

After lunch, we headed to the old Library on Campus where we attended a University of Pinot session titled Mindful Appreciation of Pinot Noir lead by Håkon Skurtveit, Head of Sensory Testing, Vinmonopolet from Oslo Norway. The wines we had were very good and a nice mix of both old and new world and the presentation was quite enthralling.

Following the University of Pinot, we headed back out to the Academic Quad where we tasted some rosé and rillettes.  The pork rillette was created by the good people from Olympia Provisions and I ate more than my fair share.  We also watched the Sparkling Wine Sabering demonstration where IPNC guests could try their hand at opening a bottle of bubbles in a non-traditional way.  Some people used a saber, while others opted to use a more unique instrument, including: screw driver, a wrench, a shoe or even a three-hole-punch.

Our friend Penny from Arizona successfully "sabering" a bottle with a wrench.

Our friend Penny from Arizona successfully “sabering” a bottle with a wrench.

We planned on taking a nap, but that didn’t pan out as we ran into Scott and Lisa from Coeur de Terre during the Sabering demonstration and decided that we’d hang out the rest of the day tasting together.  Great decision — naps are overrated.

Salmon baking over open flames. The final meal of IPNC.

Salmon baking over open flames. The final meal of IPNC.

The final meal at IPNC is a casual Salmon Bake Buffet with amazing food prepared by local chefs showcasing local ingredients – all designed to go with Pinot Noir, of course.

The end of the night, after the wine service is done, the late night folks crowd around the still burning coals from the Salmon Bake to tell stories, finish a glass of wine and reminisce of the wonderful weekend they’ve had.

Final moments of the Salmon Bake end around the embers of the cooking fire.

Final moments of the Salmon Bake end around the embers of the cooking fire.

Luckily our flight home was about 45 minutes later than prior years, so we could enjoy the Sparkling Brunch Finale which had a great mix of items including breakfast pastries, fruit, oysters, sushi and of course a ton of sparkling wines.

We always have so much fun at IPNC.  Going just as a couple or with a group of friends brings different experiences, but no matter how you slice it, it is a great weekend and always a sad time when you drive off campus the final time.  Until next time IPNC!  Keep up the great work.

IPNC Day 1 

Friday of IPNC we were off campus and visited Coeur de Terre in the McMinnville AVA. After quick breakfast (pain au Chocolat and bacon make me happy) and a slightly lost bus driver, we made it to the vineyard.

We were greeted by Scott and Lisa and served a lovely Pinot Gris to start.  After a quick discussion on harvest, mildew and soil, which included a hole dug to show the different layers, we moved inside to talk about “Earth, Wind and Sky: Ingredients of a Great Site for Pinot Noir.”

Checking Out The Different Soil Levels at Coeur de Terre

Checking Out The Different Soil Levels at Coeur de Terre

Grapes at Coeur de Terre are coming along nicely. Harvest should be in mid-September.

Grapes at Coeur de Terre are coming along nicely. Harvest should be in mid-September.

Enjoying some Pinot Gris in the vineyard

Enjoying some Pinot Gris in the vineyard

Earth, Wind and Sky: Ingredients of a Great Site for Pinot Noir

Earth, Wind and Sky: Ingredients of a Great Site for Pinot Noir

Earth, Wind and Sky: Ingredients of a Great Site for Pinot Noir

Earth, Wind and Sky: Ingredients of a Great Site for Pinot Noir

Post Seminar Tasting Notes - Some people say I have serial killer handwriting...

Post Seminar Tasting Notes – Some people say I have serial killer handwriting…

We then moved back out side for some rosé and lovely appetizers. We socialized with Scott and Lisa, their two big dogs and our fellow IPNC Patrons before moving back inside for our lunch.

Chef Dustin Clark from Besaw’s prepared us a great meal.

Vineyard Lunch Menu

Beef Tartare

Beef Tartare Close Up

Beef Tartare Close Up

Red Wine Braised Squid

Fennel Roasted Porchetta

Honey Panna Cotta

We ended the meal with some impulse purchases – who doesn’t need a couple magnums, right?

We returned to campus, without getting list this time and enjoyed the Reislings and Ceviche tasting in the academic quad of my alma mater.  There were a dozen or so wineries pouring Reislings and one was serving our of a little kiddie pool.  After this long day we needed a nap.

Kiddie Pool Full of Reisling

The afternoon tastings were in another quad on campus.  We reconnected with some old IPNC friends during the informal tasting session.  It was hot, so we weren’t really feeling the wines, but we were enjoying the conversation and sense of community.  After the afternoon tasting we headed to the Grand Dinner.

Green Bean Salad with Marscarpone

Confit rabbit crepinette

Venison with goat cheese soufflé and picked garlic scapes

I didn’t snap a picture of dessert because it was just a cupcake. Yes, just a cupcake with a birthday candle.  We celebrated IPNC’s 30th Birthday ensemble.

All in all our first day at IPNC was a winner this year.   Check out #IPNC for other photos from the revelers.

International Pinot Noir Celebration (#IPNC) 2016

The International Pinot Noir Celebration, a/k/a IPNC is held the last weekend of July each year for the last 30 years in McMinnville, Oregon.  The epicenter of this grand (yet casual) fête is my alma mater, Linfield College.  We have attended this weekend festival for 6 years now and have really grown to love the event.  We love it for the wine, of course, but the food is stellar and we really love the people we’ve gotten to know over the past several years and the new people we meet each year.

Moving on to some lovely rose before lunch

Can’t beat a beautiful summer day in the Willamette Valley

I knew of IPNC from growing up in Yamhill County and attending Linfield College.  In 2010 we decided we’d visit once and see what it was like.  That’s always the biggest problem, I tell first timers:  You attend once, you love it and you return annually.

The event goes from Friday through midday on Sunday (with an option to tack on a Sunday Afternoon tasting, but you’ve already had the opportunity to taste all the wines showcased on Sunday Afternoon, so this is really more for the folks who choose not to do the full weekend ticket).  We always get in late on Wednesday night and spend Thursday with friends in Portland.  We flew in one year on a Thursday night and with flight cancellations, weather delays and reroutes, we didn’t get into campus until 04h30 and we had to be up and on a bus at 09h00.  No luggage, no sleep and no clothes made that day utterly awful.  We arrive a day early now.

Tasting in the vineyard at Momtazi.

Tasting in the vineyard at Momtazi.

IPNC consists of two main components: an on campus day where you take a couple of seminars and have lunch; and a day where you are off campus touring a winery, walking the grapes, tasting and enjoying lunch.  The attendees are split into two groups and on day one half of the folks are on campus while the other half is in the vines, then the next day you flipflop.

Salmon Baking Over an Open Flame

Salmon Baking Over an Open Flame

I won’t get into a truly detailed description of each day of our visit this year, but I will break down the days down into photos.

If these photos have piqued your interest, I’d love to hear from you.  Please let me know if you have any questions or if you plan on attending next year.  IPNC is a fantastic event, full of down to Earth people (no snobbery here) who truly love food and Pinot Noir.  Plus, the Willamette Valley is the absolute most perfect place on the planet during the summer.