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Hot Tickets: PDX's Pre-I'ntl Pinot Noir Celebration Dinners

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Image of IPNC 2009 courtesy HighlandsRanchFoodie

Next weekend marks the 24th launch of McMinnville's annual International Pinot Noir Celebration, a hardcore, high-end food and wine fest that lures in the best of the Northwest's chefs (including all-too-familiar names like Whims, Rucker, Barwikowski, and Gorham) as well as all kinds of national attention (Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Wine Enthusiast are all sending media to cover this year's event). But for those who can't quite cough up the $975 (daaaaamn) for the weekend's ticket, local restos and wineries are pairing for a slew of pre-IPNC dinners next Thursday night, both here in town and in wine country. Dinners in the valley byKenny Giambalvo (of the Pearl's Bluehour) and Vitaly Paley (Paley's Place) are sold-out, but you can still get your taste of Pinot-and-food pairings at the following hot tickets:

ANNE AMIE VINEYARDS presents Counter Culture: Carlton's Anne Amie Vineyards imports some of Portland's best street/street-style food and pairs it with wine from around the world during Counter Culture. This year's line-up features a gaggle of PDX restaurant heavyweights, including Biwa, Laurelhurst Market, Lovely's 50-50, Olympic Provisions, Por Qué No, and Ping — with a surprise "special collaboration" by Brian Spangler (of Apizza Scholls) and Rodney Muirhead (of Podnah's Pit) to further sweeten the deal. Tickets start at $50 and are still available at the Anne Amie site.

THIRST WINE BAR feat. Johan Vineyards: Downtown's Thirst Wine Bar lives up to its name with a four-course meal and Pinot pairings from Johan Vineyards. $80 per person; tickets here.

SOTER VINEYARDS feat. Park Kitchen: James Beard-recognized chef Scott Dolich, of downtown's Park Kitchen, presents a four-course meal (with passed appetizers) at Carlton's Soter Vineyards. $85; tickets still available.

WILDWOOD feat. Crowley Domaine de l'Arlot: Wildwood's Dustin Clark presents a five-course menu to pair with with selections from Oregon's Tyson Crowley (of Crowley Wines) and French winemaker Olivier Leriche (of Domaine de l'Arlot). Reservations required for the $95 meal; reserve your spot here.

LUCE feat. Johannes of Reinisch and Antica Terra: Navarre's John Toboada shiny new event venue, Luce, plays host to Austrian and Oregonian winemakers during a six-course meal with pairings. $120; spots still available here.