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Pine Wine: Wines for Thanksgiving

Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Willamette Valley Vineyards 2020 Pinot Noir “Whole Cluster, Willamette Valley."

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday tied to our history and celebrated with a special meal. Today’s column recommends wines made from grapes that pair exceptionally well with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. 

The ideal red wine is Pinot Noir, and for whites it’s both Pinot Gris (aka Pinot Grigio) and my personal favorite, Gewurztraminer. Yes that’s a mouthful and in more ways than one, as it is pronounced “geh-VURZ-tra-mean-er” and, like its name, is engagingly textured and flavorful.

$20 and under

Prophecy 2020 Pinot Grigio “delle Venezie, Italy” ($14): This attractive buy pleases the palate with good strength, enjoyable fruit, fine balance and an impressively long finish.

Individual Wine Page - Bottle - PinotGrigio.png

Prophecy 2020 Pinot Grigio “delle Venezie, Italy.” 

Bread and Butter 2019 Pinot Noir “California” ($15): The best inexpensive Pinot Noir I’ve tasted in a while exhibits strength and complexity on nose and palate, paired with a lengthy finish.

Cantina di Caldaro 2020 Pinot Grigio “Alto Adige, Italy” ($15): My favorite in the teens has attractive color depth, as well as strength and complexity on both nose and palate.  Its pleasingly forward personality extends for lingering length.

Castelfeder 2019 Pinot Grigio “15, Sudtirol, Alto Adige, Italy” ($22): This nicely priced wine is appealing to the eye and nose and is exceptional on the palate with power, rounded body, fruit, refinement and length.

Sanford 2019 Rose of Pinot Noir “Sta. Rita Hills” ($23): Red with hints of yellow precedes a forward nose featuring appealing fruit. Plus there’s strength on the palate, accompanied by pleasing body, balance, integration, and length.

Elena Walch 2020 Pinot Grigio “Alto Adige, Italy” ($24): Tops among Pinot Grigios in the 20s, I loved its yellow-gold hue, forward nose, strength and texture on the palate, excellent complexity, fine integration and elongated length.

King Estate 2018 Pinot Noir “Willamette Valley” ($29): Attractive with its purple tone and strength, fruit, and dimensionality on nose and palate. Impressively crafted for its moderate price, I especially enjoyed its lingering finish.

Additional appealing values: Ecco Domani 2020 Pinot Grigio “delle Venezie, Italy” ($14), Willamette Valley Vineyards 2020 Pinot Gris “Willamette Valley” ($17), Willamette Valley Vineyards 2020 Pinot Noir “Whole Cluster, Willamette Valley” ($24) and Laetitia 2019 Pinot Noir “Arroyo Grande Valley” ($27).



Dobbes 2018 Pinot Noir “Grand Assemblage, Willamette Valley."

Dobbes 2018 Pinot Noir “Grand Assemblage, Willamette Valley” ($30): Very pleasing, especially given its moderate price. Features a strong, complex nose preceding thick texture, excellently balanced fruit, impressive refinement, appealing personality and lingering length.

Fulcrum 2019 Gewurztraminer “Dry, Anderson Valley” ($34): Among the best California Gewurztraminers I’ve tasted…ever. A bit light in color, but strong and multifaceted on the nose and impressively polished on the palate with expressive fruit, pleasing integration and an extended finish.


Fulcrum 2019 Gewurztraminer “Dry, Anderson Valley." 

Trimbach 2017 Gewurztraminer “Alsace, France” ($34): Alsace is at the apex for Gewurz, as this superb wine shows! Delight in its deep yellow color, strong nose with powerful dimensionality and excellence on the palate with fruit, complexity, integration, refinement, personality and length.

Roserock (by Drouhin Oregon) 2018 Pinot Noir “Eola-Amity Hills” ($35): Very appealing to the eye and nose and outstanding on the palate. I especially enjoyed its strength, full body, attractive fruit, fine balance and extended finish.

Migration 2018 Pinot Noir “Sonoma Coast” ($42): Impressive all-around, especially on nose and palate. Its strength and complexity set the stage and then carry throughout an elongated, pleasing finish. 

Lucia 2019 Pinot Noir “Santa Lucia Highlands” ($48): This highly attractive Pinot Noir is tops in its price range. It features purple-tinged color paired with powerful fruit and complexity on the nose, as well as beautiful integration and great length on the palate.

Others of high quality: MacRostie 2019 Pinot Noir “Sonoma Coast” ($34), Wrath 2018 Pinot Noir “Swan/828, Monterey” ($35), Crossbarn 2018 Pinot Noir “Sonoma Coast” ($37), Cakebread 2018 Pinot Noir “Two Creeks Vineyard, Anderson Valley” ($45; online), Domaine Anderson 2018 Pinot Noir “Anderson Valley” ($45) and Domaine Drouhin 2018 Pinot Noir “Dundee Hills” ($45; online).


Archery Summit 2019 Pinot Noir “Dundee Hills” ($60; online): Oregon is renowned for its Pinot Noirs, and this one deserves special acclaim for its impressive strength and beautiful fruit, as well as its fine balance, integration, refinement, personality and sustained length.

Cuvaison 2018 Pinot Noir “Spire, Small Lot, Napa Valley, Los Carneros” ($65; online):  Superb! Enjoy deep purple hue in the glass, strength and complexity on the nose and excellence on the palate with attractive fruit, well-honed balance, engaging dimensionality and great length.

Three Sticks 2019 Pinot Noir “William James Vineyard, Russian River Valley” ($75; online): My favorite Pinot Noir in tastings for this column features eye-catching color depth and memorable strength and dimensionality on nose and palate. It also impressed with exceptional balance, integration and finish.

Papapietro Perry 2018 Pinot Noir “777 Clones, Russian River Valley” ($80; online): Powerful Pinot with strength, textured body and superb fruit. Plus there’s excellent complexity, integration and refinement, as well as a forward personality and long-lingering finish.

More fine wines: Bread & Butter 2019 Pinot Noir “Los Carneros, Napa Valley”($50; online),

Goldeneye 2018 Pinot Noir “Anderson Valley” ($58), Papapietro Perry 2018 Pinot Noir “Russian River Valley” ($59; online), Merry Edwards 2018 Pinot Noir “Russian River Valley” ($60), King Estate 2017 Pinot Noir “Domaine, Willamette Valley” ($70; online), Lucia 2019 Pinot Noir “Soberanes Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands” ($70), and Sanford 2016 Pinot Noir “Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills” ($75) and Merry Edwards 2018 Pinot Noir “Meredith Estate, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County” ($80).



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