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One annual event I look forward to every year is World of Pinot Noir. As World of Pinot Noir celebrated its 20th anniversary, Pinot Noir producers from around the world...

This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.
Often you will hear a domestic Pinot Noir described as Burgundian in style. But only Pinot Noir from Burgundy tastes Burgundian.
Each region has its own style. Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir has bright red cherry fruit aromas. Santa Maria Pinot Noir has darker cherry aromas as well as earthy spice and tea notes. Russian River Pinot Noir is noted for its cherry fruit flavor, bright acidity and earthy mushroom notes. Oregon Pinot Noir has raspberry, strawberry, cherry and floral aromas with earthy notes of mushroom.
What sets Burgundy apart is that it is a region driven by its terroir. Land is passed down from generation to generation and Josh Green of Wine & Spirits Magazine described it as a more spiritual way of dealing with vineyards. The vignerons (grower/winemaker) look to grow grapes in a way that represents the place from where it comes. They do not have a preconceived idea of what the wine should be. In comparison, in the U.S., a winemaker chooses the land they want to work with and are more driven by varietal.
While we should not compare other wine regions to Burgundy, an interesting panel discussion led by Josh Green took place at World of Pinot Noir. The panel consisted of three Oregon wine producers: Aaron Bell of Domaine Drouhin, Thomas Savre of Lingua Franca and Mark Tarlov of Chapter 24. Their wines were tasted side-by-side with Burgundy producers. Why was that? It was not to pick the best but to see if we could find parallels. The greatest parallel is that all three of these wines have ties back to Burgundy.
This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.
The 18th annual World of Pinot Noir took place in Santa Barbara this past weekend. More than 250 wineries from around the world showcased their Pinot Noirs at seminars, lunches, dinners and the grand tastings. Everyone in attendance was friendly and shared the common love of Pinot Noir. I was reminded how overall, the wine industry is one of camaraderie, friendship and support.
Winemakers share their wines and taste each other’s wines, offering their feedback. Winemakers buy fruit from each other and sometimes work in the same facility, sharing equipment. They travel together for events or on sales trips.
Even as competitors, they are friends and that was showcased at a dinner I attended featuring winemakers Wells Guthrie of Copain, Jonathan Nagy of Byron, Greg Brewer of Brewer-Clifton and Adam Lee of Siduri.
From the Alexander Valley to the Santa Ynez Valley and in between, these four winemakers have each been making wine for more than 20 years each and their relationships go back as far.