Pinot posse rides again at vin48 in Avon |

Pinot posse rides again at vin48 in Avon

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
Daily File Photo/Rebecca Moidel

AVON, Colorado ” There’s a reason why pinot noir is the most popular varietal at vin48, a wine hotspot in Avon.

“I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that it’s a very versatile wine to pair with food,” restaurant co-owner Greg Eynon said. “It’s a delicious varietal. People gravitate toward it.”

Well, pinot fans are in luck. Seven winemakers who call themselves the “Pinot Posse” return to vin48 Tuesday for a wine-tasting dinner. The $90 dinner combines delicacies like bison tartare and wild mushroom risotto with seven different pinots. If customers don’t want to commit to the dinner, they can cruise by the bar to sample wines by the glass, Eynon said.

The Pinot Posse is a group of winemakers from Oregon and California who unite each year for a Colorado tour. To understand why these guys are so passionate about wine, it’s worth getting to know them.

For instance, Andrew Vingiello gave up his career in finance after savoring a glass of Pisoni Vineyard Pinot at a California restaurant.

“It was such an epiphany moment,” he said.

Today Vingiello owns A.P. Vin, a warehouse winery in San Francisco.

Ed Kurtzman said he named his San Francisco winery, August West, after a character in a Grateful Dead song. His passion for the wine comes from vacationing in Burgundy, France, a region famous for pinot.

For Brian Loring, owner of Loring Wine Company in Lompoc, Calif., the decision to make pinot noir was a no-brainer.

“It’s what I love,” he said. “I worked in wine shops in high school and college and I fell in love with Burgundy and then California pinot noir, so when it came time to make it, there was no other option.”

Tonight will mark the Pinot Posse’s second visit to vin48. Other members of the posse include Dan Kosta from Kosta Browne Winery, David O’Reilly from Owen Roe, Jim Prosser from JK Carriere and Peter Cargasacchi from Point Concepcion Cargasacchi Vineyards.

Of late, the wine community has been abuzz about a New York Times blog on pinot noir. Eric Asimov’s March 10 report discusses how some winemakers are embracing a lighter version of pinot noir as opposed to the “dark, plush, opulent wines” that have made the varietal so popular.

Controversy rages in the wine world over which style of wine is better.

“The people in the (Pinot) Posse, we celebrate all styles of pinot,” Loring said. “There seems to be a certain subset of pinot lovers that think pinot noir should only fit into a very narrow category. If something isn’t Burgundian, that somehow that’s wrong. I’ve never understood that approach to it.”

Loring objects to the idea that lighter styles of pinot noir are somehow new. He said the lighter touch was popular when Californians first started producing pinot in the ’70s. Now, that style is making a comeback.

“It’s like a fashion designer coming out with bell bottoms,” Loring said.

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or

First course

Food: Five spiced smoked bison tartare, wonton, arugula, citrus soy glaze

Wine: 2007 A.P. Vin

Second course

Food: Wild mushroom risotto, fried shallots, truffle emulsion

Wine: 2007 August West and 2006 Cargassachi|

Third course

food: Roasted black cod, potato brandade, fried spinach, beurre rouge

wine: 2007 J.K. Carriere and 2007 Kosta Browne

Fourth course

Food: Braised lamb cheeks, gnocchi, pinot noir lamb jus

Wine: 2007 Brian Loring and 2007 Owen Roe

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