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Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Comes To City Winery

By Erin Drain in Food on Feb 25, 2013 4:15PM

For North American winemakers, March is a safe month for travel. The time for careful and selective winter pruning has passed, the vine's buds are only just about to break, and the threat of May's delicate flowers getting walloped by a sudden frost or hailstorm is still two months away.

And so they travel—often in packs, doing road shows all across the country, like the upcoming tasting put forth by the Willamette Valley Wineries Association to be held at City Winery Thursday, March 7. At first blink, one might wonder why a winery, particularly a small one, would send out an emissary to a strange city in order to show off their wines while surrounded by their closest competitors. But it actually makes a ton of sense, especially for wineries from Oregon's Willamette Valley, which is known for its strong sense of community amongst winemakers and wineries. For this small region that's gaining incredible steam (but isn't exactly Napa yet), a rising tide raises all boats; smaller wineries benefit from their neighbors' success.

Bringing such a diverse group to show off the region's many distinctive Pinot Noir styles to Chicago wine lovers benefits unheard-of wineries by proxy. But this tasting, says City Winery beverage director Rachel Speckan, also benefits consumers, providing "[a] rare opportunity ... tasting Ribbon Ridge next to Dundee Hills next to Yamhill brings a flavor experience that is unparalleled except by a wine tasting tour through the Willamette Valley in Oregon." The midwest isn't exactly winery central yet (although if you attend the Taste of Pinot, you'll get to check out the urban winemaking facility at City Winery), and plane tickets to Oregon come dear. Save yourself some coin and let the wine come to you.

Pinot In The Windy City will be held at City Winery on March 7th from 6-9pm. Tickets cost $65 each, and include tasting wines from over 60 different wineries, with Pinot-friendly snacks and hors d'ouevres. RSVP here.

City Winery is located at 1200 W. Randolph Street.