Imagine a four-course dinner at beautifully appointed tables surrounded by vineyards while meeting winery insiders and drinking amazing Pinot Noir in the heart of the Russian River – and that was only the beginning.
The 2nd Annual Paulée Dinner was hosted this year at DeLoach Vineyards and presided over by Jean-Charles Boisset who kicked of the evening with a song. Over 120 guests gathered to celebrate the good fortune of a life filled with wine. The four-course menu was delicious but it was the wine that was the true star of the evening.
It’s impossible to find words to describe what made this a magical evening. Perhaps it was the free flowing wine selected from the personal cellars of the winemakers and generously shared, or dining with a winemaker at each table, or the friendship enjoyed between people with a shared love of wine.
Before dinner, passed appetizers almost seemed an afterthought to the special selection of wine available for tasting, courtesy of each of the participating wineries. Laughter and camaraderie permeated the evening’s ambiance. Watching the group photo of the Russian River wine Who’s Who underscored the sense of community that makes this area so special.
During the meal winemaker’s circulated to each of the tables sharing their special vintages with guests. With so many amazing wines to enjoy it was difficult to choose what to sample next. With a cadre of fabulous Pinot Noirs it was a decadent evening. After dinner guests were invited indoors to enjoy sparkling wine, dessert wine and sumptuous desserts.
The Russian River is best known for their luscious Pinot Noir’s. The Pinot Classic weekend was designed to provide guests with a variety of events and settings in which to experience these wines. Many of the wineries hosted events throughout the weekend starting with a VIP Reception at Kosta Browne at their stylish tasting room in the Barlow. Guests socialized on the patio while sipping wine from several additional wineries (Dutton Goldfield, J Vineyards, Sonoma-Cutrer, Moshin Vineyards, and VML) while tasty bites were served. Inside the tasting room guests could sample Kosta Browne’s award-winning wine.
The following day we were treated to an education in Pinot Noir, a blind tasting of 3 wines each from 3 differing neighborhoods. One might have expected that the wine from vineyards within a neighborhood might taste similar. Surprisingly the wine had some similar characteristics but each tasted distinctly different. Most of us were surprised to learn the results of the reveal.
During the weekend wineries hosted open houses and brought out special vintages for guests. At Moshin Vineyards we enjoyed a library tasting of their Pinot Noir’s from 1994 – 2009, each of which highlighted different aspects of red fruit and the terroir. It was a pleasure to sample these wines. At VML Winery we were treated to a lunch in the barrel room alongside a tasting of their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Carozzi Winery joined forces with 5 wineries for tastings, snacks and a band, all enjoyed on their spacious lawn. Later we visited the Ancient Oak Cellars tasting room in downtown Santa Rosa where were enjoyed a 6-year vertical of Pinot Noir from 2007-2012. Davis Family Vineyards poured Chardonnay and Pinot Noir but it was their Old Vine Zinfandel that I fell in love with.
The Pinot Classic is an annual event held in the Russian River in May. There are numerous activities over the weekend celebrating Pinot Noir. The Russian River Winegrowers also host additional events throughout the year, more information can be found here.
Stay: Applewood Inn, nestled in the redwoods in Guerneville is the perfect mini resort from which to enjoy wine tasting in Russian River. Upon arrival guests are offered a glass of wine or champagne. The Gatsby-style pool and hot tub allow guests to unwind after the rigors of a day spent wine tasting. Spa treatments are also available. Rooms are luxurious with silky linens, soft pillows and comfy beds. The restaurant serves a gourmet breakfast, included with the room and guests can also enjoy dinner prepared with fresh ingredients from their garden.
About the Author: Karla writes about global destinations, food, wine, horse racing and exotic car events. Discover more from over 400 travel articles of places to explore.
©Karla Erovick 2014 article
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