2011 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival Recap: Part 2 – The Grand Tasting by Jennifer

Glasses at the entrance to the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival (Photo: J. Waits)

Although billboards across the land had warned of impending doom on May 21, 2011; what was utmost in our minds on that date was the 14th Annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival’s Grand Tasting at Goldeneye Vineyards.

This was our 3rd year pouring at the grand tasting and we couldn’t have been happier to be there on a breezy May day. Around 40 wineries offered samples of Pinot Noir made from Anderson Valley fruit to the crowd of eager tasters.

Although we’d hoped to be previewing our 2009 vintage at the tasting (which is still aging will be available in a few months), we ended up offering tastes of the nearly sold-out 2008 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir from Hein Vineyard and of the 2006 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir from Hein Vineyard (a library selection).

Jennifer and Brian at the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival

Just like last year, people were able to compare and contrast the vintages. We ran across fans of both wines, with tasters saying that our ’06 was “the best wine we’ve tasted today by far” and that our ’08 was “our favorite today” and had a “nice, earthy component” with “nutmeg and cinnamon.”

We also pulled out one bottle of our prized 2007 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir from Wentzel Vineyard from our personal collection (as it’s completely sold out) and were told that “it sneaks up on you” and paired well with the peanut butter cookies that were being served at the festival. We couldn’t be more excited to be producing more wine from Wentzel Vineyard in 2010 and 2011 (in a future post we’ll share photos from our recent visit to the vineyard).

Following the grand tasting we headed over to Roederer Estate to refresh our palates by sampling their line-up of sparkling and still wines before heading out to a winemaker dinner at The Apple Farm. In our next posts we’ll recap that dinner as well as our travels to various winery Open Houses on the closing day of the festival. And, if you missed it, our summary of the Technical Conference on Friday, May 20 can be found here.


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