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PONZI 40th Anniversary Gala   August 2010

 

Notes and Photos by Gerald Weisl

The festivities began for a select group of guests with a vertical tasting of Ponzi Pinot Noirs at the new "Collina del Sogno" estate near in Sherwood, Oregon.



 

 

The San Francisco Bay Area's "Oregon Wine Ambassador," Tom Elliott of Northwest Wines, was delighted to see so many "old friends."

Luisa spoke about the winemaking of her father, Dick Ponzi and what refinements she brought after finishing her European Espionage tour back in the early 1990s.


Dick, apparently, had been unaware of his daughter's escapades in France and Italy.

And so we got down to business.


Ponzi's 1979 Pinot Noir in 2010.

The Vintages Tasting Notes
1979 The wine is brown in color and mildly leathery and tarry, not dissimilar from a good, mature Barolo.  I found the wine to be beautiful on the palate, too, with a smooth texture and it's graceful, elegant and long.  It seemed to blossom a bit with aeration and it's a treat to have a taste of a wine from Oregon's "early days."
1985 Light rust color, this shows a good bit of Pinot Noir on the nose.  It's dry and of medium intensity while being light and agile on the palate.  It's old, mature Pinot with mildly cherryish Pinot tones echoing throughout.  Good length.  I found a steely edge on the palate.
1991 Medium mahogany in color, the nose displayed an olive-like character with some earthy, dusty notes.  Nicely acidic, though and fairly firm on the palate.  Dried cherry flavors and slightly less "Pinot"-like than the 1985.
1994 Mahogany in color, this wine showed a fantastically good aroma.  I detected smoky notes and some woodsy elements.  It's a really fine Pinot Noir with plenty of depth.  There's a faintly floral aspect here, too and a hint of tar.  Very good on the palate with nice cherry fruit.  Mildly tannic and still youthful.
2002 Light mahogany in color, this wine showed some woodsy fragrances to start with a hint of caramel and cherry pie aromas.  It's really quite nice and smooth, refined Pinot.  There's a sweet tone here and it's evident all throughout the tasting.  Very fine.
2005 "Abetina" A small vineyard site that is now sometimes bottled on its own when warranted.  Medium garnet in color, this shows brown spice fragrances with a cherry-like fruit character.  Nicely woodsy, too.  Medium-bodied.  Elegant and fresh and zesty in the mouth.  Light tannins...fine...really complex.  
2008 Reserve Bright garnet color, with floral notes hinting at rose petals.  Lush texture on the palate with wonderfully fruity notes.  Young and yet it's so beautifully balanced....

A rare opportunity to taste Ponzi Pinots...one can easily see the refinements in winemaking as you taste from the slightly rustic, old bottles to the modern, sleek, elegant wines of today.
Kudos to Dick and Luisa and the Ponzi crew for their work in the vineyards and cellar.


Old to Young.


Nancy Ponzi:  Still young and young at heart!
Nancy, by the way, authored a fabulous cookbook...

I bought a copy and the recipes are terrific and the culinary advice is spot on!


 

 


Dick explained a bit about the design and construction of the winery before we headed out for a first-hand tour.

I presented the Ponzi family with a little of my handiwork...

 


Maria and Mom.



And so we strolled out to the cellar and found the winery had been transformed into a giant party hall.

 

Uh oh...more nicely aged bottles of Pinot Noir!

Dick then showed a few of us around, explaining the various features of his winery design.

 

 

Back upstairs, I found place cards for numerous illustrious revelers...

 

As the guests began to arrive for the Gala, copious quantities of Ponzi's Rosato were consumed...

As we sipped Ponzi Rosato, little appetizers were also being offered and we heard some soulful jazz upstairs.

 


Eugenia Keegan and Dave Adelsheim.

Outside, the Kitchen Crew was extremely busy...

 

The Grill Master

Something we've long known was confirmed this evening.
"Dick Ponzi is a 'ham'."

The little starter of Prosciutto & Melon...Dick Ponzi 'cured' the Prosciutto.


Mister Luisa Ponzi.


Adam Campbell on the right...

How about some Ponzi wine????
A beauty in every sense of the word.


 

Ponzi's Arneis was lovely...dry and crisp.


Prosciutto di Ponzi


That's Dick Erath on the right...


Michel Ponzi sang some tunes which were on the Top 40 chart in 1970, 
including 
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough...for Pinot Gris,"
"Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head...during Harvest,"
the Jackson Five's "A B C" (Anything But Cabernet),
Edison Lighthouse' "Love Grows In My Pinot Noir Rows,"
and Rare Earth's "Get Ready."

People tossed dollar bills at Michel and the crowd cheered.




One of the leading lights in Oregon's wine history....Dave Adelsheim (center).


Dinner was served and along the way, there was plenty of singing and plenty of dancing.

Also, some of the real "pioneers" of Oregon wine got up and spoke about the early days.

One of those was Myron Redford, a distant relative, some say, to actor Robert Redford.

Myron reminisced about the wine business in Oregon back in the 1970s...


And then the band started playing and folks danced...


DAVID COOLEY BAND




According to Mia, her hobby is training monkeys to hula dance!
She's also training her Grandpa.


 

Meanwhile, back at the table...


Robert Redford's twin brother, Myron and Dick Ponzi.


Some bubbly was then being offered so we could hoist a glass to toast Nancy and Dick.

Dave Adelsheim led the assembled multitude in a chorus of
"Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and then we cheered the Ponzi family.


Maria Ponzi also sang a few tunes and then gave a wonderful speech.

The Chef de Cuisine and his Right Hand Man came out and took a bow at Maria's request.

David Cooley and the band continued to play....

 

 

 

And it went on into the night!

Many thanks to the Ponzi Family for including me in such an amazing celebration.  It was really great to be in the company of so many of those who blazed, and continue to blaze, the Oregon Wine Trail.

 

BACK TO OUR PAGE OF OREGON WINES,
STARTING WITH PONZI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                              

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