Having made rather merry the night before, we were glad for a later start on Day Two of the WOPN. It also happened to be my birthday. A walk on the rocky beach produced a few shells and some nice looking rocks as souvenirs.
Our first event was the Sparkling Brunch at the newly completed Angel Oak dining room. This new restaurant to the resort has a stunning view. A selection of six sparkling wines was offered, one of which was an old Oregon favorite, Argyle 2013 Vintage Brut, plus a second Oregon sparkling, Anne Amie, 2011 Marilyn Brut Cuvee. One of the ‘new to me’ sparkling selections I liked quite a bit, was the J Vineyards, NV Blanc de Noirs.
The first course of Baked Oysters Arcadian Style was served on a bed of beach pebbles, garnished with seaweed, a truly beautiful presentation. The second course of Chicken And Waffle was easily modified to a meatless buttermilk waffle. The third course, dessert, was House Made Root Beer, Vanilla Ice Cream and Double Chocolate Fudge Cake. We spent a delightful two hours at brunch enjoying the views and the sparkling wines.
Having learned a lesson from the night before, we got in touch with the chef for the evenings dinner to give them a heads up on some meatless options. They had accommodated us as best they could the previous night with no warning.
With a good long afternoon to explore before our 7:30 pm dinner, we headed out to find the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. For two months only, the museum is hosting a special exhibit; Design by Nature, Four Centuries of Botanical Illustration.
I am crazy for historic botanical prints and it was a very nice collection.
The museum was a nice size, small and well done, and brought some rescued raptors out for display and a question and answer period. It was a lovely afternoon.
Back at the WOPN, as we headed to our room, the line for the Saturday afternoon Grand Tasting / Pinot Noir by the Sea snaked out the door and half way to the first set of buildings. We later learned that an estimated 900 people attended the Saturday afternoon tasting, a tight squeeze for the ballroom. So we did the tastings right by attending Friday instead. Our Saturday pace of, brunch, relax, then dinner, was more to our liking and we were able to enjoy the dinner and wines much more than the night before.
The Saturday dinner was in honor of local wine celebrity Merry Edwards. We had to confess to not being familiar with her name, but the local people were very familiar. Each course of the Rock Stars of Pinot Noir dinner was paired with two wines, a Merry Edwards Pinot Noir, and a Pinot Noir from a winemaker inspired by Merry Edwards. Ms Edwards herself was there to recount her memories with each of the other wine makers, who also gave short speeches on how Ms Edwards had inspired them. They were enthusiastic and obviously honored to be at this dinner. It was interesting to me to compare two different pinot noirs at each course, and I found this type of tasting to my liking.
The first course of the published menu was Duck Leg Confit En Miroton and Foie Gras. The chef had graciously prepared us a beet salad instead. The two pairings for this course were 2014 Klopp Ranch Pinot Noir by Merry Edwards, with 2012 Fiddlehead “Lollapalooza”, Fiddlestix Vineyard. The winemaker of the Fiddlestix Vineyard stopped by each table to chat. She was engaging and excited to be there.
All nine guests at our table agreed that the second course was the best of the night. The Pan Seared Scallops were tasty, and the Lobster Red Wine Reduction was elegant, accompanied by Celery And Turnip Millefeuille. The two wines were 2014 Meredith Estate Pinot Noir by Merry Edwards with 2014 Hartford Court Seascape Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.
My sister and I had to laugh as the winemaker from Seascape introduced himself from the Sonoma Coast and described that as “far north.” Hmm. We wondered if these people hadn’t heard of the incredible Willamette Valley of Oregon, where some of the best all time Pinot Noirs originate.
Our chef’s substitution for us for Course Three was a quinoa dish, replacing Prime Strip Loin. The pairings were 2014 Coopersmith Pinot Noir, with Brewer-Clifton 2014 Hapgood Pinot Noir.
Course Four, the dessert of Pavlova: Orange Blossom Water Bavarian, Blood Orange Sorbet and Kumquat Confit was paired with a Merry Edwards 2012 Late Harvest Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc. I am generally not a fan of dessert wine, but this was a really awesome pairing. It was perfection, and the bottle was a piece of art.
We learned a few things this weekend, as we always hope to. If we attend this event in the future, we will again purchases tickets to the Friday tasting which was far less crowded than the Saturday Grand Tasting. I would skip the Friday night dinner, with only a one hour reprieve between the tasting and the dinner. The Saturday schedule of brunch at 11 am, a bit of a rest, and then the 7:30 pm dinner was much to our liking.
Upon checkout from the Bacara we asked how long the WOPN had been held at their resort, and were told for the past four years. This year was the 17th for World Of Pinot Noir. Now if we can get our WOPN logo glasses back home without breaking them, it will be the perfect end to a lovely weekend.