Pinot Noir Considerations For Thanksgiving

I have covered a lot of great Pinot Noirs this year! To me, it is one of the best red wines to consider for Thanksgiving dinner. Check out this post to see what we recommend.

I have covered a lot of great Pinots this year!

To me, it is one of the best red wines to consider for Thanksgiving dinner. It is very food friendly and versatile and has less punch than Zinfandel. I prefer Zinfandel at the end of the evening when gathering around the fireplace and catching up with relatives. Listed below are a few great Pinot choices to consider for your Thanksgiving dinner.

We will start with Merry Edwards. Her 2009 offerings were all at the top of their game. If you can find one of her top rated Pinots, you will have one of the best dinners you can remember and your relatives will still be talking about the wine on Monday morning. We will start with the 2009 Merry Edwards "Meredith Estate" Pinot Noir for $57. I awarded this wine 97 points. According to Merry’s website, the winery still has a limited amount of this wine left. You should call them right now. It displays an absolutely delicious blackberry and mild black raspberry flavor profile with some nicely integrated oak and hints of black plum. It finishes with elegant fine tannins that drift away nicely. It would be perfect with turkey, cranberry and all the fixings. If you can’t get or find the Meredith, then look for the 2009 Merry Edwards "Russian River Valley" Pinot Noir for $42. She makes more of this wine and it is still available locally. This offering is full-bodied, balanced and juicy. The flavor profile is a rich black raspberry jam with notes of red beet and old oak. I also detected a hint red cherry. I scored this wine 90 points.

Here are a few other Pinots to consider. The 2009 Evening Land "Seven Spring Vineyard" Pinot Noir for $45 is a real gem. If you can find a bottle or two of this one, grab them! I think Colonial Spirits may be able to get some. This wine was my favorite at a mini-tasting of Oregon Pinots at this year’s bloggers conference in Portland. It is medium-bodied and smooth as silk, making it perfect for Thanksgiving dinner. I loved its very tasty mild red currant flavors with hints of pomegranate and gently infused old oak. This is truly a yummy Pinot that will really impress your family and friends.

Another very impressive Pinot is the 2010 Breggo from the "Anderson Valley." At 92 points and $38, it is an absolute steal. Like the Evening Land, this offering is very smooth and silky. I loved its yummy black cherry flavors with notes of cola and strawberry. It finishes dry and its fine tannins drift away nicely. If your dinner includes some smoked salmon as an appetizer, this Pinot would be perfect. It would also serve you well with the turkey and stuffing. Another 92 pointer that you can get via Colonial Spirits is the 2008 Domaine Serene "Evenstad Reserve" Pinot for $65. This Oregon Pinot is very impressive. It delivers a fragrant and inviting black cherry and cola bouquet. On the palate, it is very well balanced and smooth. I really like its tasty mild black currant flavors with hints of old oak and black plum.

My favorite 91 pointer that I know Colonial has in stock is the 2010 Hamilton Russell "Hemel en Aarde" Pinot Noir. This wine is from South Africa and is consistently the leading Pinot from that country. The 2010 displays very tasty smoky oak infused plum flavors with a hint of mild anise. It is for a reader who likes an Old-World styled Pinot. It will go well with the turkey and stuffing or a sage and thyme seasoned pork tenderloin.

My next two offerings are 90 pointers. The 2009 Siduri "Sta Rita Hills" Pinot for $29 is consistently very good. It also turned out to be one of the best deals in our first big blind tasting. It opens with a fragrant strawberry bouquet with a hint of cherry, cigar box and earth. It is medium-bodied and juicy with tasty plum flavors with notes of red currant with a hint of old oak and cherry cola. It finishes with dusty moderate tannins that are nicely prolonged. Colonial Spirits has this wine in stock. The 2010 Van Duzer "Estate" Pinot from Oregon is approachable and another very easy to drink Pinot. I enjoyed this wine at the bloggers conference in Portland this summer. It has tasty mild plum flavors with hints of mild minerality and light oak. It finishes dry and its fine tannins drift away nicely over a long period of time. It runs for about $30 a bottle.

Our last three offerings all scored in the high eighties. The key here is they are all priced right around $20 or less which is rare for a Very Good Pinot. The 2010 "Decoy" Pinot Noir from Duckhorn is very good and reasonably priced at $22. It is medium-bodied, juicy and easy going. I enjoyed its ripe strawberry and old oak flavors that blended nicely with notes of black cherry, black raspberry, and some black pepper. It is elegant and friendly and would make a nice Thanksgiving wine. I scored this wine 89 points.

The best deal by far is the 2010 Saint Clair "Vicar's Choice" Pinot Noir for $16. This 88 pointer hails from Marlborough, New Zealand. It is a terrific wine for the money. I found it to be medium-bodied, balanced, and pretty easy going. Its flavor profile was black cherry with hints of red currant and a touch of old oak and minerality. This Pinot is versatile, food friendly, and will pair well with many foods at your Thanksgiving day meal.

We wrap up with the 2010 Kendall Jackson "Vintner's Reserve" Pinot Noir. This offering is easy to find and reasonably priced at $20. This Pinot is very interesting and unique. It is medium-bodied and savory with smoky oak infused strawberry flavors. I also detected a hint of mild black cherry. The finish is dry and its mild old oak tannins linger for a little bit. This Pinot is a little more rustic and pairs well with comfort foods if you went that route for Thanksgiving or the day after.

All in all, I think you will find the above collection of Pinots will make your Thanksgiving Day dinner a delight. Many of the above wines are either available at Colonial Spirits or can be ordered by them this week in time for next week’s feast. For the complete list of all the Pinots I have recommended this year, please Check out our Pinot Noir blog post. Happy Thanksgiving and cheers! - Ken

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mark Ouellette (Editor) November 15, 2012 at 05:10 PM
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Nikki November 15, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Very informative article, thanks! I'm going to try the "Russian RIver Valley". Would love to see a similar article on Chardonnays and Rieslings.
Ron Goodenow November 15, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Wow, I will be spending next week in a rented house on the Russian River between Gurneville and the ocean and will certainly have this with me as a print out, particularly given I have been given the task of picking out a Pinot or two for our big family Thanksgiving. Will be driving through the Alexander Valley and stopping at our favorite, the Hanna Winery, which has a wonderful tasting room and view. Fieldstone has been recommended by a friend. Thanks!
Ken Hoggins November 15, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Hi Nikki I will have A Riesling article out soon. But you can check out the latest recs on my website. Riesling http://www.kenswineguide.com/wine.php?category=21 Chards under $50 http://www.kenswineguide.com/wine.php?category=10
Robert Fucci (Editor) November 15, 2012 at 07:44 PM
My wife loves wine blogs ... thanks for the post!
Nikki November 15, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Thank you for the links...these are great!
Joseph November 15, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Pinot Noir is a great Thanksgiving wine. Thanks for bringing attention to your blog. I look forward to learning more.
Janet Sroczynski November 15, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Toad Hollow at: http://www.toadhollow.com
David Arsenault November 16, 2012 at 02:38 AM
The oldest wine producing region in the world is Georgia. If you haven't tried them, http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&sqi=2&ved=0CD8QFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fstart.cortera.com%2Fcompany%2Fresearch%2Fk3o6qqm4s%2Fnew-foods-of-europe%2F&ei=yKSlUPHGKauO0QHH6YFI&usg=AFQjCNF276dcmezM-sJ2f7mHct9esC1lSA Sells both Red/White and has a large selection of them. For 17.00 a bottle you can have a wine that is better tasting than many French/Italian for almost half the price..
Daniel F. Devine November 16, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Earnest & Julio Gallo produced a wine in the 1970's called "RIPPLE" a favorite of Fred Sanford at Thanksgiving if "SLY FOX" or "THUNDERBIRD" wasn't available.
Bob Havey November 16, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Mark West Pinot Noir is inexpensive and very good. I don't know much about 'ratings' - I just know what I like. Daniel - Fred Sanford also used to mix Ripple and grape juice. He called it Gripple!
Candace891 November 19, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Ken: Do you like any of the heavier reds for Thanksgiving---Any cabs? We really like Stags Leap and Franciscan---but would love a recommendation on a more modestly priced cab or syrah?
Ken Hoggins November 19, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Hi Candice, Some folks like Zinfandel as the heavier wine of choice with Thanksgiving. So here are the recommended pages for Zin and Cabs. Shiraz/Syrah is a bit too heavy for this meal. The Zins: http://www.kenswineguide.com/wine.php?category=0 The Cabs under $50: http://www.kenswineguide.com/wine.php?category=2
Steve Pisuk November 20, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Interesting that in an entire article about Pinot, there was not a single mention of a Burgundy... The subdued tones, less fruit forward, and far lower alcohol Burg's go with Thanksgiving as well as anything from Washington or Oregon. And certainly, there are plenty available the price ranges listed in this article.
saul glick November 20, 2012 at 07:47 PM
This is very enlightening. I really appreciate the input and effort by everyone.. I think i know now, what to look for when I go looking for wines. Thanks again Saul
Ken Hoggins November 20, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Hi Steve, A keen observation. None of the importers that send me samples, provided me with any Pinots from Burgundy this year. Perhaps next year. There are several Very Good one's out there. But I can only recommend the wines that I have tried and reviewed. Cheers - Ken
Lauren November 20, 2012 at 10:15 PM
I agree, what a great page, and a new favorite website for me! Thanks for the posting!
Mark Ouellette (Editor) November 21, 2012 at 11:53 AM
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Matt T November 22, 2012 at 08:24 AM
A very informative blog post, Ken. Thank you!
Mark Ouellette (Editor) November 24, 2012 at 07:00 PM
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Matt T December 12, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Any chance of a Christmas or New Years wine blog? :)
Mark Ouellette (Editor) December 12, 2012 at 07:57 PM
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Bloodyrue Andrue December 12, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Red with poultry? Hmmm. No.
David Arsenault December 12, 2012 at 09:14 PM
My wife&her freinds are winerds, With that said, anyone interested in wine should try what the country of Goergia produces. I hated wine, never enjoyed it untill she brought this home one day. Still a beer person. you'll never see me swirling&sniffing a glass but put a bottle of that good ol Goergian wine on the table I'll pull the cork out with my teeth and suck it down like a bottle of Belgium!!!!!!!
John Merrett December 13, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Certain wines are more compatible with certain foods, but wine is meant to be enjoyed and if you enjoy red with fowl, or white with red meat, the only true rule of wine is this,- Enjoy!
Mark Ouellette (Editor) December 14, 2012 at 05:44 AM
Thanks for this informative blog, Ken. It came in handy on Gobble Day. :)
RKM December 14, 2012 at 02:38 PM
I'm a big fan of Lange. They are a Willamette Valley producer - the PN is around $20 a bottle. Great balance. As for Christmas, I'm scoping out a couple of Zinfandels I've been wanting to try. Any Zins on your list these days?
Ken Hoggins December 14, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Hi RKM, I cover Zin's in February - but you can find last years offerings here. I am sure many of these are still around. I hope to do a Sparkling and Champagne post before New Years. http://www.kenswineguide.com/wine.php?category=0
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) December 14, 2012 at 03:42 PM
I recently sampled the 2009 and 2010 pinots from the teaching winery at Napa Valley College and they are delish! About $30 a bottle, though, so even though I live in Napa I source my everyday pinots at Trader Joe's. They have a house reserve that's very drinkable at $9.99 and a bargain burgundy, Blason, that's nice and light and less than $7.
Bob Bursey December 14, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Here at Westford Package Store, we have 90+ Russian River Valley Pinot Noir for only $16.99 and it's out of this world. Other great Pinot Noirs in stock are Sharecropper, Sean Minor, Angeline, Estancia, Mark West and our best seller Leese Fitch.


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