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Oregon shines at IPNC 2012

Oregon proved its quality on the world stage, along with its collaborative spirit, as nearly 700 visitors descended on McMinnville for the 26th International Pinot Noir Celebration at the weekend.

Among the mix of consumers and trade were almost 70 Pinot Noir producers from countries including Burgundy, California, Canada, Chile and New Zealand.

“I believe there is a truth in Pinot Noir that you cannot find in any other wine, with the possible exception of Riesling,” insisted Allen Meadows, author of BurgHound, who stood in as keynote speaker after a last minute cancellation by Sex And The City star – and Walla Walla vineyard owner – Kyle MacLachlan.

“Pinot Noir is the messenger but not the message,” Meadows summed up, before a three-day programme got underway, which despite its Willamette Valley setting proved its international credentials with seminars reaching in focus right across the Pinot producing world.

Highlights included a retrospective tasting with Jacques Lardière, who retires this year after 42 years as winemaker for Louis Jadot. Lardiére also took part in an in-depth Burgundy seminar chaired by Meadows, which featured family representatives from Maison Ambroise, Domaine Henri Gouges and Domaine Lécheneaut.

Despite the presence of big names from Burgundy, the age-worthy nature of many Oregon wines was particularly apparent. In addition to the evidence from wines poured during the various dinners, Oregon’s maturation potential was highlighted in a tasting co-hosted by Michael McNeill of California’s Hanzell and David Adelsheim of Adelsheim Vineyards in the Chehalem Mountains AVA of the northern Willamette Valley.

A full report examining the evolution and identity of Oregon Pinot Noir, together with the growing reputation of its white varieties will appear in a future issue of the drinks business.

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