Pinot Noirs for Thanksgiving

Sometime later this week, you will come to the realization that you are either travelling to or hosting a *Thanksgiving dinner. As these tend to be large family affairs, there may be some tensions, arguments and other social problems.

My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.

I suggest lubricating these affairs with copious quantities of alcohol, but in the guise of the various fine wines found on this page. Of course, drinking will not solve any of your problems, but they will make your fill-in-the-blank (Parents, Brother-in-Law, Cousin’s wife, step-sister, etc.) that much easier to tolerate.

Oh, and stick to sports and weather. Avoid politics, health care and Bush vs Obama discussions. And keep popping those bottles open.

Here’s the WSJ’s tasting column:

Au Bon Climat 2007
(Santa Barbara County).
Great minerals, some pepper and real stuffing, all with a kind of cranberry fruit that, obviously, is perfect for the meal. Complex and interesting. People will talk about this.

Domaine Serene ‘Evenstad Reserve’ 2006
(Willamette Valley).
Beautiful color, with a rich, sensuous nose. The taste is almost majestic, very serious, with minerals, earth and great Pinot fruit. The 2006 is the one you are more likely to see, but if you happen to run across the 2005, it’s even better—elegant, silky, confident and simply beautiful.

Robert Mondavi Winery 2007
Worth the price just for the color (vibrant and fiery) and the smell (rich and filled with berries). The taste is just as good: classy, well-balanced and not afraid of some varietal funk. Nicely intense. Interesting from start to finish.

Erath Winery 2007
Light, pleasant and earthy, with a bit of a bite at the end that’s interesting and fun. Happy, with a hint of strawberry fruit. Everyone would love this.

La Crema 2007
(Sonoma Coast).
Rich fruit with some pepper, what John called “ripe spiciness.” Nice velvety texture, with a pleasant earthiness on the finish. Round, comfortable and seamless. Nothing edgy, just pleasurable.

WillaKenzie Estate ‘Estate Cuvée’ 2007
(Willamette Valley).
Light but complete. Good Pinot flavors in a very drinkable package. Bright fruit and light enough to complement everything on the table without adding yet another big taste. This really tastes like the fruit of the harvest—something that grew in the earth, under the sun—and therefore is quite appropriate to a Thanksgiving meal.


A Wine for Giving Thanks
WSJ, NOVEMBER 14, 2009

* Those of you in the US, anyway.

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