It’s time to kick off the New Year right… so bring on the wine! Tastings will begin Thursday, January 4th at 4 PM at Lamberti’s. January is Pinot Noir month, and we will bring in a featured Pinot Noir each week, tasting it side by side with related Pinot Noirs from our wine list.
Where a wine comes from is just as important as any other aspect of wine making. Most wine regions through history grew what worked best in that region, without any special attention to which varietal or clone happened to be there. The best wine is the wine that works there. Drinking wine connects us to the place it comes from. Pinot Noir happens to thrive in Burgundy, and is finding lovely homes in California and Oregon, as well as across the globe. So let’s go visit!
Pinot Noir is a noble grape with a storied heritage. There are accounts of people growing (and drinking!) Pinot Noir throughout the European continent from the first century AD. However, Pinot Noir got famous under a different name. For centuries, it was grown and bottled in Burgundy, France, where the winemaker’s focus is on place, not varietal. So, all those wonderful red wines were just called “red Burgundy,” while Pinot Noir is what actually went into the bottle. The grape first came to the United States in the 1950s, and has found very suitable homes in California and Oregon. American Pinots are delicious, and right around the time a certain movie extolling its virtues was released, Pinot Noir skyrocketed in popularity almost overnight. Now, it’s grown in dozens of countries all over the world.
Pinot Noir is a finicky, thin-skinned grape that will only grow in very particular conditions. It is much more difficult to grow than other, heartier varietals like Chardonnay and Merlot. As legendary winemaker André Tchelistcheff said: “God made Cabernet, and the devil made Pinot Noir.” In spite of the difficulty, winemakers continue to make Pinot Noir because the resulting wines can reap a reward as great as the challenge.
January 4th Tasting:
Week one (this Thursday!) will feature the delicious Aquinas Pinot Noir out of California. It will join a smokey Oregoner called Omen, and the ever-popular Clos du Bois Pinot Noir out of Sonoma. All three wines come from varied terroirs, and each offers a unique expression of the storied varietal.
January 11th Tasting:
Week two will feature warmer climate coastal Pinot Noirs from Oregon, California, and Chile. These will feature spicier, meatier profiles than the cool-weather week one wines.
January 18th Tasting:
Week three will be full of unusual takes on the varietal. We will feature a hybrid varietal from South Africa, along with the wonderful, rich Résonance from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, and a bold Pinot Noir from Carneros, California.
January 25th Tasting:
Finally, an homage to where it all began: Burgundy. We will explore the lighter, elegant Burgundy-style Pinot Noirs in week four.
You can expect to enjoy three wines each week, perfectly paired with a tasty stuzzichino (small plate) each. Be sure to ask your servers about the 5 P’s for each wine as you are tasting them or try to decipher them for yourself! Read our first blog post again for more detail on the 5 P’s of wine tasting
I’m really excited for our selections this month, and I hope you’ll join me for a taste!