The 9th Annual Pinot Noir Summit

The Pinot Summit - Affairs of the VineI’m very happy to announce that one of the coolest wine events of the year is coming back to the Bay on 02/26/2011 with the arrival of the 9th annual installment of The Pinot Summit (Twitter). Spanning three different segments that day, attending the whole Summit gives you access to almost 9 full hours of delicious Pinot and tasty morsels. It is one of the most educational and complete consumer trade events that I’ve ever seen and it will definitely leave your bellies and brains full of new flavors of and knowledge about Pinot Noir.  Best of all?!  I’ve got an awesome contest to win some wine from one of the Summit finalists!  More after the break…

9th Pinot Shoout - The Pinot Noir SummitRun by Barbara Drady (Twitter) of Affairs of the Vine, the event is meticulously designed so that only the most highly rated wines out of three elimination rounds of blind judging make the cut for the Pinot Summit.  I was fired up to be chosen to judge the finalists for the Summit in the last round Pinot Shootout, held at Fort Mason Center on 01/15/11.  We tasted in 3 teams (mine was Blue) and each team tasted 4 flights of 8 wines, completely blinded.  We were instructed to score using the 100 point system and to write copious notes to back up our scores.

I found the quality very high for the vast majority of the 32 wines that I tasted that day, most of them from the 2007 and 2008 vintages and rather on the fruit forward side.   I also discovered a few favorites that exhibited some incredible balance, earthiness, fruit, fine tannins and bright acidity, aspects that are right up my pinot alley (and a couple dogs).  I was also pleased to see wines made it to the Grand Sweepstakes at the Summit from some previous favs, like Hahn SLH and Wild Horse Winery.

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My favorite of the whole judging was the ’07 Athair Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.  Exhibiting all of the characteristics that I geekily reeled off above and ringing in at only $36 (or even less), this delivers so much tastiness that I gave it a coveted AwesomeWK from the WKBadges.  You can check out all of the wines at the end of the article to add them to your own WineLog.  All of the wines that I judged that day are tagged with “PinotShootout2011” and the wines that I judged that also made The Pinot Noir Summit are tagged with “PinotSummit2011“.  I’ll also be moderating a panel entitled “A Question of Style” featuring one of the wines that I tasted, the 2007 TR Elliott Russian River Valley Burgonet Pinot Noir.  It will feature Ted Elliott from TR Elliott, Christy Griffith from Lazy Creek Vineyards and Marc Goldberg from Windward Vineyard.

So what’s this contest that I talked about earlier?  Well it’s pretty super cool if you ask me.  You can win a two pack of vino from one of my favorite wineries that also made the Summit finals, Wild Horse Winery!  One of the wines will be their Grand Award winning wine, the 2008 Wild Horse Central Coast Pinot Noir, winner of a QPRWK badge. Sweeet!  All you need to do is to enter the code “drxeno” when you check out to buy your tickets and you’ll be entered to win the wine.  You can pick it up at the Summit.  You’ve gotta hurry though, only 300 tickets will be sold and it sells out every year.  Good luck!

The Pinot Noir Summit

Hilton San Francisco Financial District
750 Kearny Street
San Francisco, California 94108

Full Day: 11:30 PM to 6:45 PM
Sparkling Wine Reception: 4:00 PM to 4:45 PM
Grand Awards Tasting: 4:45 PM to 6:45 PM

Click here for directions – convenient parking is available at the garage attached to the hotel and the Portsmouth Square Garage located across the street (733 Kearny Street). There are lots of other garages in the area.

Pinot Noir Summit Pinot Noir Summit Pinot Noir Summit Dinner
Pinot Noir Summit $125
(includes Blind Tasting, Workshops,
Sparkling Wine Reception, & The Grand Awards Tasting)
Pinot Noir Shootout
Grand Awards Tasting $80
Meet Pinot Noir winemakers in an intimate setting $125

Wines that I judged at the 9th Pinot Shootout (PinotShootout2011) for The Pinot Noir Summit 2011 (PinotSummit2011), listed by highest rating:

AwesomeWK - WKBadges Athair Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2007

Color: Medium garnet to brick core, lighter brick red edges

Nose: Musty, leather nose, loam and slight brett, baked rhubarb, dried cola

Palate: Very good. Love the mushroomy, and loamy notes, medium mouthfeel, balanced acidity, fresh tobacco and darker rhubarb fruit. Finest of tannins, quite good!: AwesomeWK

Lost Canyon Russian River Valley Morelli Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008

Sequana Green Valley Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir 2008

David Noyes Sonoma Coast Crane Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007

QPRWK - WKBadgesOldWorldWK - WKBadges Bogle Vineyards California Pinot Noir 2007

Color: Light ruby core, lightest ruby to clear edges

Nose: Cola and rhubarb are all over this nose with some char and dried florals underneath.

Palate: Great structure here, more angular with good acidity, medium body and still smooth out to the finish. Unsweetened cherry cola with good fresh garden herbs of rosemary, as well. Good: QPRWK, OldWorldWK

OldWorldWK - WKBadges Chamisal Vineyards Edna Valley Domaine Alfred Estate Bottled Pinot Noir 2008

Color: Medium ruby core, light ruby edges

Nose: Good earthy, cherry-wood nose, rhubarb and light florals.

Palate: Burnt cigar here and dried leather, with earthier rhubarb from the nose and more of a fuller, cigar box finish. Good tannins, great complexity. Good balanced acidity, as well. With air, juicy cherry comes through: OldWorldWK

OldWorldWK - WKBadges TR Elliott Russian River Valley Burgonet Pinot Noir 2007

Color: Medium ruby with light ruby edges

Nose: Musty and murky dark red fruit here, charred toast: interesting.

Palate: Earthier here with some loam to it, dark red fruit here of black cherry with good toast that is balanced with the fine, medium tannins and medium acidity: OldWorldWK

NewWorldWK - WKBadges Hahn SLH Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2009

Color: Medium to light ruby, lightest ruby edges

Nose: Deeper and darker rhubarb and bigger cola here, with some black cherry poking through.

Palate: Bigger mouthfeel here with a coolness to the spiced rhubarb pie.  Big, chewy and toasty root beer finish with dried florals and hops.  Big but good: NewWorldWK

Lucas & Lewellen Santa Barbara County Goodchild High 9 Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir 2008

Bouchaine Napa Valley – Carneros Estate Vineyard Pinot Meunier 2008

Nth Degree Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir 2008

NewWorldWK - WKBadges Asuncion Ridge San Luis Obispo County Pinot Noir 2008

Color: Darker ruby core, light ruby edges

Nose: Big red fruit medley here, ripe and juicy baked cranberry, fresh black cherry and sweeter rhubarb, toast underneath and distinct cinnamon. Big, but good.

Palate: Fuller mouth, with hoppy florals, baking spice, and ripe and juicy Bing and black cherry. Balanced, bigger yet fine tannins, cola all the way into the finish. Very Good: NewWorldWK

Summerland Santa Rita Hills Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008

R. Stuart & Co. Willamette Valley Autograph Pinot Noir 2008

Fulcrum Sonoma Coast Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir 2008

QPRWK - WKBadges Wild Horse Central Coast Pinot Noir 2008

Color: Ruby core, light ruby edges

Nose: Distinct fresh cherry pie, complete with toasty pie crust, very bright.

Palate: Cherry pie here as well, fuller body and smooth and chalky mouthfeel, toast out to the cola finish: QPRWK

Fess Parker Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir 2008

Davis Family Vineyards Russian River Valley Horseshoe Bend Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008

Paro Russian River Valley Indindoli Vineyards Pinot Noir 2009

Tarras Vineyards Central Otago The Steppes Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008

Erath Willamette Valley Leland Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008

Alysian Russian River Valley Rochioli Vineyard Allen-Rochioli Blocks Pinot Noir 2007

Claiborne & Churchill Edna Valley Twin Creeks Pinot Noir 2008

Armitage Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir 2008

Expression 39° Anderson Valley Annahala Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009

Windsor Vineyards Sonoma County Private Reserve Pinot Noir 2009

V. Sattui Winery Los Carneros Reserve Pinot Noir 2007

Leveroni Vineyards Sonoma Valley Seven Oaks Vineyard Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2009

Mueller Russian River Valley Emily’s Cuvée Pinot Noir 2008

Kenneth Volk Santa Maria Valley Nielson Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007

Beauregard Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2008

Prix Napa Valley Fagan Creek: Block 38 Reserve Estate Bottled Pinot Noir 2007

Vinopanion: Ward Kadel - @drXeNo

View posts by Vinopanion: Ward Kadel - @drXeNo
Ward Kadel - @drXeNo is the founder of Vinopanion wine blog, former West Coast Ambassador & Staff Blogger for and former Le Wine Buff for (CIVB). He will try any and all wines and tends to write about the parts of his life that include virtually all of it! He and his wife grew up in Napa and Sonoma and they still live in the Napa Valley. Check out the wines he's recommended with his WKBadges. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Like #Vinopanion on Facebook. Contact him: "Ward at". Ward happily accepts samples but does not guarantee a review, positive or negative.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ward Kadel – @drXeNo and Tia Butts, Larry Chandler. Larry Chandler said: If any of you still have doubts about attending the #PinotNoirSummit, read this post by @drXeNo It will fire you up. […]

  2. spiritandwine
    February 14, 2011

    Great job Ward. Would have loved to judge a few of those wines myself. Hoping to make it to the shootout, but I think tickets are sold out. Let me know if you find any… “floating around”


  3. Ward Kadel - @drXeNo
    February 14, 2011

    Hi Mark! Thanks so much, I had a great time judging. There are still be tickets available as of today, so take a peek at the site to sign up. Cheers!

  4. […] on the heels of my panel workshop at the very successful 9th Pinot Noir Summit this past month, I’m involved in another new, […]


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