What an eventful year!
Here’s my Fave 5 highlights of 2017, in chronological order:
1. Meadowood Wine Writers Symposium 2017
Winning a Fellowship to the Meadowood Professional Wine Writer’s Symposium 2017 (WWS17) set the tone for 2017, and introduced me to a slew of savvy industry professionals, Napa Valley winemakers, and top-notch wines.
So when the Wine Country wildfires hit later this year, it was personal.
Personal fave: Meeting up with WWS17 alum Marie Oskarsson – noted Swedish author, sommelier, and journalist – while in Gothenburg working on a pending international feature I’m doing on Swedish sommeliers.
2. International Pinot Noir Celebration 2017
A media pass to the 31st Annual International Pinot Noir Celebration featuring “The French Adventurers: Burgundians Making Pinot Noir in Oregon” felt more like winning the Burgundian lottery.
Kicking things off at the The Grand Seminar included commentary by – and wines from – these French luminaries:
- Véronique Boss-Drouhin of Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Roserock Drouhin Oregon and Maison Joseph Drouhin.
- Jacques Lardière of Résonance and Maison Louis Jadot.
- Dominique Lafon of Lingua Franca and Domaine des Comtes Lafon.
- Jean-Nicolas Méo of Domaine Nicolas-Jay and Domaine Méo-Camuzet.
- Alexandrine Roy of Phelps Creek Vineyards and Domaine Marc Roy.
I also scored a berth at University of Pinot “Meteorology 325: The Impact of Vintage in Burgundy” Besides tasting more fabulous wine, we received a master class on Burgundy, terroir, and vintage from host Allen Meadows.
Panelists included Chisa Bize of Domaine Simon Bize et Fils, Mathilde Grivot of Domaine Jean Grivot, and Étienne de Montille of D. de Montille, who shared their personal harvest notes, including a particularly riveting account of the cataclysmic 2016 harvest.
Aside from seminars and tastings, off-campus ‘field trips’ rounded out an over-packed itinerary, including a tour of Chapter 24 Vineyards‘ Witness Tree Vineyard in Eola-Amity Hills AVA with winemaker Felipe Ramirez, a private tasting at Bells Up Winery in Chehalem Mountains AVA with Dave and Sara Specter, a sidebar with John Grochau of Grochau Cellars, and dinner with Jeff Knapp and Kitri McGuire of Visit McMinnville.
Personal fave: Profiling winemakers from emerging pinot noir regions, including New Zealand’s Paul Pujol of Prophet’s Rock and Duncan Forsyth of Mount Edward for Palate Press, and South Africa’s Pieter Ferreira of Graham Beck Wines for BKWine Magazine.
3. Women in Wine
“Ataxaria: ‘a state of serenity or calm.”
What happens when a group of talented ‘women of wine’ retreat to California’s Lake County in late September? “Ataxaria: Yoga & Meditation for Women,” brainchild of USA Today’s Lauren Mowery, proved the right combination of ‘reset’ and ‘restore’ over a long weekend of yoga, hiking, local wine tasting and farm-to-table fare, plus a lot of laughter.
Ok – so I’m still not sure how I ended up falling down the rabbit hole of the Champagne Master Level designation I earned in November, but I can verify that I did drink more champagne over the course of the rigorous program than most people drink in a lifetime. In the process, I developed a new appreciation for Champagne’s complex history, geology, production techniques, and the art of assemblage.
I also admit that, despite an unbreakable bond with Burgundy, I do consider Champagne the ‘flip side’ of Burgundy – same cépages (pinot noir, chardonnay), but different textures, and terroir. Well worth the effort.
Personal fave: Reviewing Champagne expert and author Caroline Henry’s new book Terroir Champagne – an invaluable study guide for any student of bubbles.
5. Hospices de Beaune
The view from the cramped press room overlooking the Hospices de Beaune wine auction never gets old. Ever. Nor do the official tastings, luncheon, and press conference prior to sounding the auction gavel.
During three days covering the 157th Hospices de Beaune wine auction, I rushed between obligatory press tastings and events to conduct a one-on-one interview with Domaine Hospices de Beaune managing director Ludivine Griveau for the February 2018 issue of basil + salt magazine, sneak a peak inside the Burgundian cellars of Oregon vignerons Véronique Drouhin-Boss of Maison Joseph Drouhin, Jean-Nicolas Meo of Domaine Meo-Camuzet, Comte Louis-Michel Liger-Belair of Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair, and Matthieu Gille of Domaine Gille for the February 2018 issue of Oregon Wine Press, and attended an exclusive, invitation-only preview of Three Days of Glory at Beaune’s Les Ateliers du Cinéma, a film about Burgundy by Oregon wine importer Scott Wright and filmmaker David Baker.
Bonus: You can get the inside scoop Three Days of Glory in the March 2018 issue of Oregon Wine Press prior to the international Newport Beach Film Festival premier in April 2018.
Personal fave: Getting lost in Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits under softly setting afternoon sunlight. Though we missed our Roi Gevrey-Chambertin tasting and dinner, the magnificent views brought much solace.
So grateful you’ve been here to share 2017 with me…looking forward to more adventures in 2018!
Have your own 2017 fave event or wine? Please do share in the comment section below!
Cheers, and Best Wishes in 2018!
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