Post Event Recap: International Pinot Noir Celebration


Executive Chef Craig Hetherington, Beverage Director Kris Rezac and Director Danielle Custer just returned form a long weekend at the International Pinot Noir Celebration in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.  Upon their return, I sat down with Craig to talk about his unforgettable experiences, the remarkable meals and the outstanding wines of the 2009 International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC).

Cheeks rosy from the sun, Chef Craig smiles as he talks about trying everything on the menu at Thistle and warming himself next to the coals following the 800 plus person traditional Salmon Bake on Sunday.  But most of all, he swells with pride as he describes the multi course meal that he and his team created for the Saturday vineyard lunch.  Set at Adelsheim Vineyards, he began with a crab canapé and sweet pea and sorrel soup paired with the 2008 Auxerrois.  The main entrees included cream poached kumamoto oysters with a 2008 Pinot Gris as well as a grilled hangar steak atop a rogue blue cheese and chanterelle studded panzanella salad with the sumptuous 2007 Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir.  Lucy Damkoehler, our talented pastry chef, finished off the meal with an almond tapioca and nectarine-cherry compote. 

But for Craig, the very best part was making others happy through his food.  Not only did the TASTE team receive a standing ovation after lunch but David Adelsheim himself lauded the pairings created for his wines, calling them the best he has had in his twenty six years as a wine maker.  After such a resounding success, Chef Hetherington and his team cannot wait until the 2010 IPNC.

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