Thomson Vineyards has been chomping at the bit to have a Pinot Noir Throwdown since 2009 when a new winemaker we began working with noted that not only would he be buying Napa Carneros (CN) fruit from us, but also writing a check to some other grower for some other Russian River Valley (RRV) fruit. In an email dated August 19, 2009 the winemaker declared, “los carneros vs. russian river [may the best fruit win!]” After working through extensive logistics surrounding the challenge i.e. would we be comparing apples to apples or in this case clone 667 to clone 667, age of the vines, farming practices, ect. I then declared that he’d better have, “an amazing tasting room manager on hand or someone who can really tell a story about what’s about to be known as Pinot Noir Throwdown 2009, it’s gonna be good!” As far as I know he never got a tasting room manager and instead opted to take advantage of the, “Buy Grapes Get Free Marketing Plan.”
Fast forward several months, through harvest, past Unified Wine & Grape Symposium and one evening I noticed in the Twitter stream that @winetonite and his buddy @suburbanwino were sitting in their basements eating Hooters wings, drinking Pinot, having some sort of “Throwdown” and neglected to include the King of Pinot – Carneros in the lineup. Instead that damn RRV was back in the mix and something about Washington. I don’t know for sure, but what I do know is that they clearly didn’t invite the big boy to the table because they were scared or worse someone paid them off. In my typical fashion I gave them what for and insisted that they step up to the plate and host a true Throwdown. Threatening that if they didn’t include Carneros this time, I’d ensure all direct shipping from Carneros was cut off to those boys out there in Georgia.
Well folks, here we are bottom of the 9th and it’s time to put your Pinot rally cap on. @winetonite, @suburbanwino, @spiwithme are hosting the #PinotNoir Twitter Tasting and Smackdown on July 15, 2010. In a virtual Smackdown scenario regions are invited to Tweet out their favorite Pinot with designated regional hash tags, while live events also take place across the nation. Results will be aggregated according to hash tags to determine who’s rallied for their region hardest from 5 – 7 p.m. that evening, no bots allowed.
You can participate virtually, all you need is a desktop, laptop, mobile device, a few bottles of Pinot and hash tag references or at the very least the region you’ll be pulling hardest for. In my case this is obvious – #CN for Carneros. If you need Twitter Coaching, I offer that for FREE here.
Or you can grab 4 or 12 of your closest Pinot lovin’ friends, track down a live event, put your cap on and get on your feet people. @suburbanwino has already done the work for you and you can check out his starting line up (soon to be posted).
Now, I often like to get to the bottom of just what kind of a player a guy is by asking, “What’s your walkup song?” My own answer as of late has been I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) by Pitbull. But for the Showdown, I like East Side by Snoop Dogg because no one throws an East Side party like we do. That’s East Side Carneros, because both you and I know no one grows Pinot on the East Side of Carneros like we do! Other options include 1,2,3,4 by Coolio because in the spirit of West Coast Unification there ain’t no party like a West Coast party or a recent personal favorite with a roguish vibe The Gambler by Kenny Rogers; because if you’re a winemaker who’s gonna take the gamble making Pinot I respect you and I’ve got 5T still available if you feel like showing up to the 2011 Showdown.
Whatever happened to the 2009 Pinot Noir Throwdown? The RRV grower never came through. He got scared that his Pommard clone 10 year old vines couldn’t face the knuckleball of 34 year old Martini vines where rattlers make their home. The Farmer even went so far as to reduce his price per ton in the spirit of sportsmanship and offer his 4 year old (first harvest) 667 clone vines up for the ’09 Throwdown. No dice. RRV grower, shaking in his boots. And the ’09 Throwdown winemaker? You’ll have to ask him yourself what his walkup song is.
Until then, put your rally cap on folks and get on your feet for Carneros (#CN). The only AVA that spans two great lands, Napa and Sonoma. East Side!
Standby for East Side live event location and details to be updated as soon as a Carneros Winery Throws down…