Yesterday I went to McMinnville, Oregon with Chuck Humble for the International Pinot Noir Celebration. We tasted nearly every wine there (totallying something like 75), had some great food (who knew buffalo could be so tender), and generally enjoyed ourselves in some wonderful weather.

At the end of the day, there were only a couple of surprises. One surprise for me was that the French Burgundies didn't seem to show very well next to the Oregon Pinot Noirs -- the style of winemaking (less fruit, more spice) just seemed less appealing on a hot day. A second was the $18/bottle Firesteed -- it was showing in a league with many $40 and $50 bottles and was a wonderfully drinkable wine. Finally was a surprise from Switzerland -- the Fromm below.

Here are my picks, most of which aren't available yet, but all of which promise to be wonderful:

Winery

Wine

Contact Info

Kingston Family Vineyards, Chile

2003 Casablanca

www.kingstonvineyards.com

Domaine Marc Roy, France

2001 Gevrey-Chambertin, Clos Prieur

+33 03 80 51 81 13

Dry River, New Zealand

2002 Dry River

Liza_lanier@rowines.com (importer)

Fromm Winery, Switzerland

2002 Malanser

www.frommwineries.com

Domaine Alfred, California

2001 Califa

www.domainealfred.com

Goldeneye Winery, California

2001 Anderson Valley

www.goldeneyewinery.com

Hitching Post Wines, California

2001 Highliner, Santa Barbara County

www.hitchingpostwines.com

Skewis Wines, California

2001 Demuth Vineyard, Anderson Valley

www.skewiswines.com

Chehalem, Oregon

2002 Reserve

www.chehalemwines.com

Elk Cove Vineyards, Oregon

2002 Roosevelt

www.elkcove.com

Firesteed Cellars, Oregon

2001 Willamette Valley

www.firesteed.com

Ponzi Vineyards, Oregon

2002 Reserve

www.ponziwines.com

Sokol Blosser Winery, Oregon

2001 Estate, Old Vineyard Block

www.sokolblosser.com

Yamhill Valley Vineyards, Oregon

2000 Estate Reserve

www.yamhill.com

On another note, the IPNC had a table where they were tasting three wines made from the same grapes, picked the same day from the same vineyard. There was an amazing difference among the three -- truly a sign of the winemaker's art.