A new day has dawned, peace and love are in the air, and all is right with the world. Everywhere, that is, except for Binnys in Lake Zurich, where Pinot Noir from around the world are gathering for a take no prisoners, last wine standing Smack-Down! Thursday night, April 16th the fine wine world will erupt in conflict that will pit country versus country and quite possibly a civil war to find a victor. For those willing to bear witness to this event, here is an overview of the competitors.
France – Home to Burgundy and some of the greatest Pinot Noir in the world, France seems sadly out manned in this Smack-Down. Their big gun is a must try Premier Cru from Chateau Chorey of the stellar 2005 vintage. France also has a couple of wonderful value wines from Jadot and Parent, but sadly, the numbers dont seem to add up for France in this competition.
New Zealand – Pinot Noirs from New Zealand have been improving greatly over the last several years, with a style more similar to Burgundy than California. At their best, they have great intensity and balance, with good acidity that bodes well for ageing. This can all be said for the 2006 Dog Point Pinot Noir, the star this night for New Zealand. Supporting roles from Allan Scott and Wild Rock will help the cause, but much like France, New Zealand doesnt seem to have the fire power on this night.
Oregon – Now things begin to get interesting. Oregon comes blazing out of the chute with four single vineyard offerings from Ken Wright, one of the best Pinot producers in Oregon. One of these vineyards, Shea, will also be represented by Raptor Ridge from the excellent 2006 vintage. Other standouts for Oregon include Lemelson, Elk Cove, Gypsy Dancer and Ponzi. While California is often about power, Oregon is all about finesse and elegance. With this line-up, it is no surprise there have been whispers of an upset.
California – Here is the favorite, with both numbers and star power, but can they perform under pressure? Duckhorn leads the way with their Goldeneye (2006) and Migration (2007) Pinots from Anderson Valley, which is considered a premier area for growing Pinot. Roar, a big dramatic wine from the Santa Lucia Highlands, will be on hand, along with wines from the Russian River Valley like Iron Horse and Paul Hobbs. We will also get a sneak peak at the much heralded 2007 vintage with new releases from Melville, Brewer Clifton, Belle Glos Clark & Telegraph Vineyard, and more!
So you be the judge, April 16th at 6:30 P.M: just you, 50 wines, and the fate of the wine world on your shoulders.