We’re standing in line at Linfield College–in McMinnville, Oregon–home of the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC). It is July, 2011 and the weather, having been too cool up to our arrival, ushers in the blue-sky beauty Oregon is known for this time of year. As a 40-foot line of molten fruit-wood is about thirty feet away from us, we can feel the warmth on our cheeks. We suck down a few local brews as we wait for the gaits to open. Our fellow pinot-philes are all doing the same, anticipating the moment when we gorge on the local delicacies which make this evening legendary. You see, this evening is the Salmon Bake, one of the most awesome displays of fire-cooked cuisine matched with Pinot Noir, and winemakers, from 17 freakin-Pinot-makin countries. It does NOT get much better than this.
As the evening progresses, guests are treated to a buffet of not just the legendary wild-caught salmon, piercing red in the center bursting with Omega goodness, but also fire-roasted steaks, salads and sides exploding with in-season Oregon green-ness, and a dessert buffet to push anyone off the sugar wagon. Our tables of guests (we had a group of 20 that joined us for a five-day long excursion into Oregon wine country) were serviced by top regional Sommeliers, each showing up periodically with a different Pinot surprise. And if white wine or bubbly is your thing, don’t despair, there is literally a pick-up bed iced-down with a bevy of crisp white.
Many of the guests, attending this annually, have a routine of bringing some special Pinots themselves. And those who are seated with winemakers, usually get to enjoy a few “library” wines with the makers. For example, my connection to King Estate Winery got us connected to Jeff Kandarian, Director of Winemaking, who treated us to some 1992 King Estate Pinot Noir, their first vintage of production! And it tasted quite youthful still–a testament to the quality of Oregon fruit.
Heading Back Next Month–Again!
Salmon Bake is the fulcrum of Pinot fun for the three-day affair, which means preceding and succeeding the Salmon Bake are amazing tastings, seminars, and dinners. We are excited to be heading back to the International Pinot Noir Celebration this July! Now in its 26th year, the IPNC is famous around the globe as a mecca for lovers of Pinot noir and northwest cuisine. During the weekend, world-renowned winemakers, northwest chefs, esteemed media, epicures and wine lovers will gather in McMinnville, Oregon, for three days of exploring Pinot noir, savoring unforgettable meals, and learning and celebrating with luminaries of the food and wine world. Along with the speakers and chefs, it is the relaxing and festive atmosphere that sets the IPNC apart from all other wine events.
Whether tasting Grand Cru Burgundy or walking through Oregon vineyards with the grower who planted them, guests find themselves unwinding in picturesque Oregon wine country for what wine legend Jancis Robinson described as “one of the most enjoyable wine weekends in the world”. The 26th Annual IPNC will be held July 27 – 29, 2012. Tickets for the Full Weekend, Salmon Bake (A la carte tickets Sold Out but still included for Full Weekend Guests) and Sunday Walkabout events are sold on a first come, first serve basis! Register at the Online Store or by phone at 800-775-4762.