To wine nerds, pinot noir is the Holy Grail. No other grape variety holds a position of such reverence among makers and experts. For although it is temperamental and hard to grow, it produces wines that are deliciously complex.
“Pinot noir is the grape variety that excites me the most,” says Dan Sims, co-founder of Pinot Palooza. He is the former head sommelier at Taxi Dining Room and the recipient of the 2008 The Age Good Food Guide Sommelier of the Year award. “When it’s good, it’s mind blowing,” he says.
Now in its fourth year, Pinot Palooza is all about celebrating this pernickety yet charming red. More than 60 pinot producers from Australia and New Zealand are coming together to showcase their finest wines for Pinot Palooza. So the event gives punters the chance to immerse themselves in our antipodean answer to red Burgundy.
“We want to celebrate the diversity of pinot noir,” says Sims. “The thing with pinot is: you can have really light and ethereal wines, or really big, full-bodied, flavourful wines. The aim of the game is for you to come and taste and find out what you like … the best way to learn about wine is to drink it.”
If you want to extend your palate beyond wines from Australia and New Zealand, there will be an opportunity to drink pinots from Burgundy (the home of pinot noir) and the Loire Valley in France, the USA and even Germany, at the Burgundy Bar. It’s a break-out area run by some of our country’s best sommeliers.
“We want to create a conversation about wine. We want you to bring your friends and learn about wine how you consume it – and that’s socially,” says Sims.
Pinot Palooza is on October 10 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Tickets are $60 and are available here.