An all-star line-up of chefs and sommeliers converged on the and its March 18-19 to celebrate Pigs & Pinot, Charlie Palmer’s sixth annual fundraising and culinary consciousness-raising event.
With over 60 hand-picked pinot noirs in play for the esteemed Pinot Cup, and a dozen celebrity chefs and “wine country elite” on hand to judge and be judged, the culinary event had its share of competition, too. Curiously, although the winter of the Pinot Cup winner wasn’t announced to the press until yesterday, word had leaked out on social media platforms much earlier.
A local blogger, @brandyea, spilled the beans through Twitter, texting “CA shut out at last night’s Pinot Cup…” She correctly identified both the winner and second place, one a French premiere cru and the other a New Zealand pinot.
Although many if not most of the pinots in competition were Californian, and many Oregon and other U.S. wineries were represented, the results were based on blind tastings.
Top honors went to Domaine Parent Winery for their 2007 Domaine Parent Pommard Premiere Cru (Burgundy) and the runner-up was Boulder Bank for their 2009 Boulder Bank Pinot Noir, New Zealand, Marlborough. Last year's winner was Woodenhead Vintners of Forestville.
Actually it wasn’t only Twitter that broke the story. Charlie Palmer’s own Facebook gallery featured a cell phone picture of the winning wine. The Domaine Parent is available for about $80 online, though its price point is somewhat higher.
Other results of the weekend included the "Tournament of the Pig" cooking competition at , where two teams created two dishes each from a a Gleason Ranch 90 lb suckling pig and market basket of secret ingredients. Both teams won – Bryan Voltaggio and Michael Voltaggio for best small plate, and Marc Forgione and Amar Santana for best main dish.
Finally, the "Ultimate Sommelier Smackdown" saw master sommeliers Keith Goldston, Fred Dame, Drew Hendricks, and William Sherer each pitch their personal favorite four pinot noirs to the audience. Four heats later, the audience ultimately chose Soter Vineyards (Carlton, OR) 2008 Pinot Noir, Mineral Springs Ranch as the winner and Kosta Browne (Sebastopol, CA) 2007 Pinot Noir Koplen Vineyard as the runner-up.
We will update this story when we find a result from the most important competition of all—raising money for education. All proceeds from Pigs & Pinot benefited Share Our Strength (Strength.org) and local Healdsburg education including The Healdsburg Education Foundation, St. John School and The Healdsburg School.
More details of the event are available on pigsandpinot.com.