Pinot noir and Riesling have more than just being (the greatest?) “noble” varieties: next month they each have worthwhile public tastings dedicated to them.
First up, in SF and LA next week, is In Pursuit of Balance. Organized by Raj Parr of RN74 and Jasmine Hirsch of Hirsche Vineyards, this annual tasting showcases some of the most cutting-edge Pinot Noir (and Chardonnay!) from California. There are a couple of seminars, but the main event provides the chance to sample wines from 28 wineries and have your picture taken with the hirsute hipsters from Santa Barbara, Sonoma, and Mendocino. $85; Feb 4 and 6.
Then, kick off President’s Day weekend in NYC with the first-ever Rieslingfeier, the brainchild of Steven Bitterolf of Crush Wine & Spirits (here’s a Q&A with Stephen from five years ago) . The events start on Saturday, Feb 16, with a free panel discussion of diversity in the Mosel and the Saar. Participants include Andreas Adam, Thomas Haag (Schloss Lieser), Florian Lauer, Dorothee Zilliken as well as David Schildknecht of the Wine Advocate. Then there’s the opportunity to crawl from uptown to downtown sampling Riesling and talking with producers at four wine shops (all free). The main event of the Fest is a BYO dinner at Rouge Tomate with some NYC’s top sommeliers, all the above producers plus Klaus Peter Keller and Katharina Prüm. It sounds fantastically fun and, while pricey at $275, I would definitely attend (but I will be out of town). Check out their website for full details.