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Let’s taste with the Pinot Posse

Caramie Schnell
cschnell@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO, Colorado

The eight men who make up the Pinot Posse give new meaning to the phrase “grape nuts.”

And the grape that’s beckoned to these California and Oregon winemakers, and continues to lure years later, is the oft-times finicky pinot noir.

“It’s a really difficult grape and it attracts people who like the challenge, just like a really difficult woman pulls you in,” said Jim Prosser of JK Carriere at a Pinot Posse event at Avon’s vin48 in 2008.



Prosser and his cult-pinot producing cohorts – California’s Peter Cargasacchi of Point Concepcion Cargasacchi Vineyards, Ed Kurtzman of August West, Dan Kosta of Kosta Browne Winery, Brian Loring of Loring Wine Co., Andrew Vingiello of AP Vin Wines and Craig Strehlow of Keefer Ranch – are back in town for the group’s annual Pinot Posse tour of the state. The posse has been touring together for seven years now, and Tuesday they stop in at vin48 in Avon for an apres wine tasting where attendees will have a chance to try a pinot noir from each of the eight winemakers and nosh on appetizers from vin48 chef Charles Hays.

“Most importantly, people will be able to see the diversity of pinot noir,” said John Salamanski, the founder of the Pinot Posse and co-owner of CS Wines Imports, which specializes in small-production wines. “We have eight different producers, some sharing the same vineyards. You can really see is it about the fruit, and the place, or the winemaker?”



Pinot noir is one of the most diverse varietals, Salamanski said. It can be floral and light, or more fruit-forward with cherry or berry coming through, or even have peppery characteristics.

Big pinot, big personality

Vin48 has hosted Posse events for four years now, mostly because of the big personalities involved.



“You couldn’t ask for a more down-to-earth, fun group of winemakers,” said Greg Eynon of vin48.-” In addition it is unheard of to have eight winemakers this talented together at once.”

The restaurant has served pinot noir from all eight of the producers, and the wine is “consistently met with rave reviews from our clientele,” Eynon said. “The wines represent a broad spectrum, both geographically and stylistically, of what domestic Pinot Noir is all about.- For someone looking for a little education on Pinot Noir and a lot of entertainment,- this is the perfect event. Just be careful not to take what Peter Cargasacchi tells you too literally.”

Having the chance to ask the actual winemakers questions about the vino is indeed part of what makes the event so special, Salamanski said.

“This is not marketing henchmen, not their minions coming out, this is David O’Reilly. This is Ed Kurtzman.”

Collegial not competitive

Like dog owners who begin to resemble their canines, there are some people who think a winemaker’s personality shines through his or her wine.

“Exuberant winemakers who are passionate, their wines tend to be more racy and sexy, more full throttle with more acidity,” Salamanski said. “It’s fun to look at a person and say ‘hmmm, interesting, does it match or not?'”

Though the men are dynamic characters who clearly love their own wines, there’s a collegial rather than competitive environment – at least with each other.

At an affordable $25 a pop, this tasting is “all about having fun,” Enyon said.

“It’s really amazingly cheap for $50 pinots,” Salamanski said.

“But it is a tasting, not a pour-a-thon. It’s not ‘get slammed with the Posse, it’s ‘let’s taste with the Posse,'” he said, chuckling.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or call cschnell@vaildaily.com.


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