The hottest ticket in McMinnville: the IPNC Salmon Bake, which was held last night (Saturday) in the Linfield College Oak Grove. The wild salmon is baked on Alder stakes over an open fire (pictured), which is a traditional method, and looks pretty spectacular. The salmon is served with a sumptuous buffet, and sommeliers go round distributing wines to the tables so you get to try quite an assortment of things.
It was free seating, but the smart journos were those who found their way onto Jim Clenenden's table (I didn't), where some serious wines were being opened. A couple of other tables had some high-end collectors who'd brought their own wine, and before long there was a crowd (described by one winemaker as the 'mosh pit') gathered round anxious to blag any scraps that might be falling. People are generous with the wine they bring, but even so, there's a limit to how generous you can be with just one bottle, and so there's an interesting social dynamic that develops when people are trying to blag pours.
Lafon Meursault Clos de la Barre 2000
Slightly reductive with a lovely cabbage note. Long and mineralic with great weight and depth. Fantastic wine. 94/100
Lafon Meursault Clos de la Barre 1996
Slightly oxidised nose. Herby, a bit funky, but still some nice minerality. I'm not sure this is an OK bottle.
Drouhin Charmes Chambertin 1985
Beautifully soft and evolved with some earthy, spicy structure. A lovely aged red Burgundy of real charm. 93/100
Dujac Clos de la Roche 2001
Wonderfully textured earthy, spicy Pinot with lovely expressive character. Dense and full with massive concentration and rich texture. Thrilling wine. 95/100
Dominique Laurent Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques 1999
Seriously expressive with fresh fruit and earthy complexity. Nicely structured with brilliant purity and depth. 95/100
Rene Engel Clos de Vougeot 1996
Very earthy and dense with a mushroomy character. Quite earthy and evolved. 90/100
Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir 1993
Elegant, complex nose. The palate is fresh, vivid, spicy and beautifully expressive with good structure. 95/100
Bonneau du Martray Corton Charlemagne 2003
This maybe atypical, because of the hot summer, but it's still a very nice wine. Rich and sweetly fruited with lovely smooth toasty complexity. 92/100
Denis Mortet Gevrey Chambertin Les Champeaux 2002
Savoury, dense and complex with a lovely earthy edge to it. Mouthfilling, savoury and spicy. 94/100
Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir 1996 Santa Barbara County
Evolved and quite earthy but there's some freshness to the fruit here: this is still alive and drinking very well. A ripe expression of Pinot but interesting with it. 88/100
Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru 1999
Beautifully focused and structured with lovely freshness and some tannin. Complex stuff that's pretty serious. 95/100
Leroy Auxey Duresses 1976
Focused, earthy and fresh with a citrussy edge and some good structure. Finishes tannic, and it's drying out a little, but it is drinking brilliantly still and has lovely minerality. 93/100
Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Sandford & Benedict 1999
This is brilliant. Earthy, spicy nose leads to an expressive palate that's quite pure with lovely focus and depth. Quite profound, and drinking perfectly now. 94/100
F Mugnier Bonnes Mares 1998
Earthy, dense, spicy nose leads to a palate that is quite structured. Evolving really nicely, there's some real complexity here. 93/100
Then it was 1130 pm and time for bed: I declined an invitation to go the dive bar with the other journos.
Labels: Burgundy, pinot noir