The wet and windy weather didn't deter fans of Pinot Noir from attending Pinot Envy Uncorked! in Mt. Pleasant on Saturday afternoon (March 3). Originally booked for the open-air Lookout Pavilion at Patriots Point, hundreds of ticket holders packed into the convention rooms, patios, and tent area at the nearby Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina.
Presented by the Charleston Wine and Food Festival, the event featured dozens of visiting winemakers from Oregon, California, Washington, and the Carolinas. Plenty of regional distributors, local restaurateurs, and enthusiastic foodies were on hand as well.
Attendees strolled through the meandering maze of tables and booths, sampling bold and fruity reds and whites and tasting gourmet seafood, pork, and specialties prepared by local chefs and caterers.
Biltmore Wine from Asheville, N.C. offered a few fruity and straightforward varieties from their station under the main tent. Lines were long for samples of California winery Lutea's organic Russian River Valley and Anderson Valley Pinot Noir wines (the Anderson Valley was especially sharp and assertive). Row Eleven's rich and complex Viñas 3 — a blend from their Sonoma, Santa Barbara and Monterey vineyards — earned a few new fans on the patio. Amity Vineyards (from Yamhill County, Ore.) stayed busy discussing and pouring their earthy/fruity Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2009.
Local singer/guitarist Doug Jones welcomed guest guitarist Charles Hedgepath (of the Bad Popes) to a porch stage for three sets of oldies, blues, and country — much of which inspired couple to dance and carry on.
Inside, the Maysara Winery (based in McMinnville, Ore.) poured plenty of their fragrant Jamsheed Pinot Noir. There was a festive vibe over at the Saxon Brown Wines (from Sonoma, Calif.) table, where owner.winemaker Jeff Gaffner and his team offered a spicy, leathery Durell Hayfield Pinot Noir and a smoky/smooth Parmelee-Hill Pinot Noir 2007.
Perception Wines, a winery based in Calistoga, Calif, and founded by Lowcountry native Mark Ray, drew a large crowd early in the afternoon and eventually ran out of their 2008 Orsi Vineyard Pinot Noir. The wine was complex and delicate with tart, berry-like aromatic and a rich, mildly sweet, balanced flavor.