I checked with all of the retail wine outlets and wine bars in the metro area and not a single one had even heard about the #PinotNoir Smackdown much less had a scheduled activity. So I said #WTF, I will have my own. I invited some of my tasting buddies to meet at one of two venues but most of them had prior engagements so it was going to be a mighty small Tweet-down in Orlando.
On the morning of the event, I awoke with barely-contained excitement, swung my legs out of bed, and was greeted by a searing pain in my big toe. Gout. Just kidding. I was driving to Tampa that day so enroute I reached out to @wineontheway for Pinot Noir recommendations. He recommended the most expensive item on his menu. I said fine and we had a deal (This guy knows his customers.). We agreed to meet later so that I could get the wine prior to the event. Later on in the day I reached out to @winebarn and Hlyterroir for their recommendations as to what I should be packing (By this time you are beginning to get the sense that my cellar is not exactly brimming with Pinots.).
The day went by slowly, the passage of time repressed by anticipation. I left Tampa at 4:45 pm so that I could get back to Orlando in good enough time for the 8:00 pm start of the Tweet-down. Unfortunately, I left at the same time that a storm chose to blow through. Heavy thunderstorms. Rain. Lightning. Flooded highways. Major accidents. It was a hellish trip which took over 2.5 hours (1 hour 15 minutes under normal circumstances).
There was no time to meet with @wineontheway to pick up my Kistler so I stopped in at @winebarn and Gary recommended the '07 Radio-Coteau La Neblina ($44.99)from Sonoma and the '06 Belle Pente ($32.99) from the Yamhill-Carlton District. I agreed, paid for them, and rushed out.
I got to the Imperial at a little after 8:00 and my little group settled in at a table just to the right of the entrance. I borrowed a wine key and some glasses from the bar manager, fired up my iPad and directed it to #PinotNoir, and settled in for a night of fun. It was a slow night, due to the rain, so the two managers sauntered over and joined us.
The second bottle opened was an '05 lamont ($52.00) from Central Otago in New Zealand. This wine was darker in color than the Radio-Coteau and gave a visual impression of concentration. It had a lot more fruit (dark, ripe berries) on the nose than did its predecessor and also presented vanilla and other baking spices. Very light on the palate. It fell off a cliff after an initial weak attack on the frontal palate. This was not a complex wine. It was rather flat.
At this time Imperial management brought out another brown-bag special. This wine had been part of an earlier blind tasting and so had had some oxygen face time. On the nose it presented ripe red cherries, polyurethane, and pine needles. Dark red fruit on the palate and evidence of skin tannins. New world fruit but old world acid. It turned out to be an '07 Frederic Magnien Bourgogne which retails for $30.00.
I left the Imperial at 10:15 pm feeling pretty good about myself and the evening I had just had. I had shared five bottles of Pinot Noir with a small group and with the world. Simultaneously. And I had lived to tell the tale. Ok Hlyterroir. I take back all the things that I had said about Pinot Noir in the past.