Friday, June 22, 2012

IPNC: The Weekend to End all Weekends

Wide selection of fine wines, including kosher wines.

You dream in shades of burgundy. To you, sexy legs are the ones that coat the side of glass, streaking the fine crystal with signs of viscosity. A nose is less a prominent feature on a face, but more so the fruit and spice characteristics that waft up from the glass, enrapturing your heart as well as your olfactory system. Age refers not to how many years you have tucked under your worn belt, but the length of time from creation you’ve been able to save that special bottle until it’s reached its moment of perfection, when you share it those you hope will appreciate it.

Traveling the world and tasting the finest in wine and food is a part of your lifestyle, yet you want to learn more… you seek out knowledge in order to better understand the luscious liquid that fills your glass. Maybe you’ve read about soils, have an inkling of terrior, visit various regions by way of jet plane (or your local wine shop), readily absorb cues from the wine with respect to aromas, textures, flavors… yes, clearly you’ve been bitten by the Pinot Noir bug.

If any of the above description resonates with you, chances are you may have already signed up for this year’s International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC), a showcase for both the world’s finest Pinot noir and the Northwest’s farm-to-table style of cuisine. If you’re new to wine and food appreciation, perhaps the extravaganza has yet to enter your field of vision. If the latter is your story (or it you're still busy figuring out your summer plans), I have one piece of advice: Pull out your bucket list and add this to the top, now (if it’s not yet sold out that is).

Preeminent winemakers, wine lovers, educators, revered regional chefs and epicureans from all over the globe will gather together in McMinnville Oregon for the 26th annual event that is the absolute foremost in wine weekends. This year’s IPNC, scheduled to take place July 27-29, will land you smack dab in the heart of Oregon wine country exploring everything Pinot noir for three full days. With featured wineries from the North America, Europe and the Southern Hemisphere, this is your rare chance to taste them all side-by-side and get to know them all intimately. Enjoy vineyard tours, a grand seminar by Burgundy expert Allen Meadows, and welcome keynote speaker, actor and wine producer, Kyle MacLachlan.

In addition to tasting a wide world of Pinot, you can learn about how geology, geography, climatology, international relations and anthropology all relate to the Pinot noir grape through engaging seminars from the world’s foremost authorities on the subjects at the event’s University of Pinot. Explore walkabout tastings, movie screenings, book signings, alfresco breakfasts and lunches, a grand dinner as well as the renowned and much anticipated Salmon Bake…whatever floats your cork.

If the whole weekend isn’t in your budget, you can still experience a taste of the event with a Sunday walkabout ticket or a Pre-IPNC dinner only. Though there are many interesting dinners on the list to chose from, my personal favorite is always Anne Amie’s annual Counter Culture; a celebration of international wineries and urban street food. This casual atmosphere welcomes some of Portland’s most coveted restaurants alongside wines from local and way beyond, with breathtaking views and relaxing grounds to soak it all up from. As night falls, a bonfire is lit and fire dancers have been known to make their appearance, dazzling the audience while adding an air of mystique and excitement to the already magical evening. The whole IPNC weekend is utterly enchanting, you might even feel like you've died and gone to Pinot heaven. Join me there.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Winelovers Guide to Getting Lucky…

Fine wine and great spirits too!

Ok, confession time: It's true, I’ve been feeling oh-so-lucky lately. Almost like providence has finally stepped in to dance with my intention, whispering in each others ear, conspired together to make all my dreams become reality. Romance has made a surprising but exceedingly welcome entrance into my life, and as if that’s not enough, after a year-long search, I’ve gained stable employment again (this time with benefits to boot, yet another stroke of good fortune)! Counting my blessings, I'm never one to look the gift horse in the eye. I'm going to acknowledge its presence, choosing to mount that noble steed and ride on its bare back with the wind blowing through my hair as said horse gallops through the valley of my existence… lest I get trampled.

My recent auspicious state actually brings to mind a few things: Like maybe it’s time to start playing the lottery or visit a casino or try my hand at online poker, but I know the old adage, lucky at cards, unlucky at love. So maybe it’s just time to raise my glass and celebrate with a toast of the perfectly appropriate wine.

While a good bubbly might be the obvious and tasty choice for celebration, I have something a little less conspicuous in mind. Whether you’re like me and have felt good fortune land upon your shoulder like a the warm arm of a dear friend or are trying to invoke the spirit of Lady Luck herself, my recommendation is to fill your glass with Lucky Edition Evolution from Sokol Blosser ($15).

You might be wondering if a wine can really bring you luck. While it probably won’t change your life, it just might become your favorite summer white and make you feel like it has. Lucky Edition Evolution is a delightful blend of nine different varieties of white wine, crisp and bright, exhibiting flavors of peach, lemon-lime and tropical melon. The winery thinks of it like a four-leaf clover or a horseshoe, a charm blessed with positive vibe and good fortune. Forget about keeping your fingers crossed behind your back, that's practically yoga. And that lucky pair of stinky socks with a hole in the toe you’re afraid to wash because they’ll fall apart if you do? Throw them out and invite kismit into the room with a glass of aromatic and refreshing Sokol Blosser Lucky Edition Evolution wine instead. I’ll be here waiting when you thank me.