Since the pandemic has really thrown a wrench into everyone’s Thanksgiving plans, I figure we better drink well if we can’t spend the holiday as we planned… don’t you agree? Pandemic or not, I’ll use ANY excuse to pop open something delicious!
If you live in Oregon, you know that our governor has put a freeze on restaurants, bars and wineries– allowing only takeout– until early December.
I’ve got some great wine suggestions that will pair beautifully with your Thanksgiving dinner. Order some today!
Oregon Pinot noir
Oregon Pinot noir truly is a perfect pairing with turkey and all the sides that make up Thanksgiving dinner. Here are a few wines we recommend:
2017 Brick House Vineyard Les Dijonnais Pinot noir
This wine is made from five different Dijon Pinot noir clones planted in an estate vineyard block situated on a south-facing ridge. After a month of skin contact– to extract color, flavor and tannins– the wine aged in 35% new French oak barrels over the next 16 months. The finished product is chock full of tart cranberries, sour cherries, raspberries and logan berries. Earthy notes of sandalwood and bayleaf combine with citrusy lemon peel, weighty cranberry syrup and generous tannins.
If you’re looking for an earthy, classic Willamette Valley, terroir-driven Pinot noir, this Parsons’ Ridge is it! You’ll find notes of freshly turned black soil and forest floor… this wine is tasting beautifully right now and I know it will cellar for another decade or so if you want to stash a few bottles away for later.
Cherries and berries, berries and cherries! I tasted black fruit flavors of black cherries and black raspberries, along with red strawberries and sour cherries. Layered with tart cranberries, prickly tannins, earthy notes, and spicy white pepper, this wine shares with the drinker so much of what makes Oregon special.
Old Eight Cut is an unusual name for a Pinot noir. The back label explains that it’s “a diamond cut dating back to the 1400s using simple tools and few cuts to enhance the natural brilliance of the stone without disguising its true nature.”
This Pinot has lots of black fruit flavors including plums, blackberries and cherries. Cat tongue-like tannins reveal notes of forest floor, cinnamon and gingerbread spices. Then, with a hint of cherry cola, the Old Eight Cut continues with a long finish.
Sometimes it’s fun to explore red wine varietals “outside the box!” Here are a couple I recommend for your holiday meal.
2018 Ridgecrest Gamay noir
Earth and fruit aromas all blend harmoniously in this Gamay! Wild mushrooms, game meats, and black soil combine with spring violets, ripe blueberries, and sour cherries. A second sniff reveals notes of cola, baking spices, and fresh mint. This wine might have one of the most unique aromatic profiles I’ve ever encountered! If you’ve got a bottle, do yourself a favor and enjoy it in an Oregon Pinot noir glass. If not, choose a wine glass with a large bowl that narrows at the top, so the aromas are funneled right into your nose as you drink.
True to the Ridgecrest style, expect a tart wine with nice acidity and a supple mouthfeel. Again, fruit and earth come together into integrated flavors of blueberries, raspberries, black plums, and berry medley tart. The fruity notes then shift gears into mushrooms, pencil lead, cola, and black pepper, all culminating in a long, food-friendly finish.
Red grape Tinta amarela, pronounced teen-TAH ah-MAH-reh-lah, is also known as Trincedeira (treen-cah-DAY-rah), and is a widely planted in the country of Portugal. Often used to make port wine, these grapes have thin skins, making them very susceptible to rot and disease. The vines grow best in warm, sunny locations, like Abacela’s Fault Line Vineyards, found in a hot spot of the Umpqua Valley.
Name a black fruit and it’s in this wine! Blackberries, black plums, black cherries, black raspberries, yup, they all showed up for this Tinta amarela party! I am amazed by the texture and heft in this wine. I also love the ripe blueberries, crushed mint and bourbon-soaked cherries. Do yourself a favor and order some from the Abacela website today.
Make your Thanksgiving holiday really special with some sparkling wine!
2013 Lytle-Barnett Blanc de noir sparkling wine
Abundant mineral notes of gravel dust, coupled with gentle bubbles that dance across the tongue. This wine is tart and filled with unripe peaches, key limes, Meyer lemons, Granny Smith apples and pineapples. The finish is long and leaves you wanting another sip!
Vine(archy) is riesling aged for two years, then carbonated with bubbles and bottled with a crown cap (like a beer bottle). I don’t know of anyone else in Oregon who is aging a wine for two years like this, then shooting it with carbonation. The result is a well-rounded sparkling wine with exuberant bubbles. It’s a fun wine at a crazy cheap price, at least by Oregon wine standards. Tart fruit notes of green apple and asian pears danced around distinctly riesling qualities of petrol and rubber (like a new pair of kicks).
Rosés made in Oregon have more acidity, making them very food-friendly! Here are a few unique ones:
2019 Troon Vineyard Kubli Bench rosé
Troon Vineyard treats this rosé in a manner similar to a blended red wine. Made using 60% Tinta roriz, 35% Primitivo and 5% Grenache, each varietal was lightly whole-cluster pressed immediately after being harvested and allowed to ferment and age in separate neutral French oak barrels with native yeast. Five months later, the separate wines are blended together to create this rosé.
Rosé wine is often made in a stainless steel tank, saving the oak barrels for wines that will garner more dollars. It’s surprising rare to find rosé made from several grape varietals, let alone barrel aged for months. This technique is more costly and time consuming, something most wineries just won’t bother doing for a $25 bottle of wine.
2016 Brandborg Vineyard Fleur de Lis White Pinot noir
Since Pinot noir is a red grape, making a white Pinot noir requires gentle pressing and minimal skin contact, so the color doesn’t saturate the finished wine (otherwise it would become a regular Pinot noir). With fruit notes of ripe strawberries, rainier cherries, peaches, and prominent lemon zest, a secondary layer of minerally gravel dust and earthy strawberry leaves emerge with a second, contemplative sip. Winemaker Terry Brandborg used neutral French oak barrels and one new French oak puncheon to improve this wine’s ageability. It is refreshingly tart with a long finish and is tasting lovely right now! I suggest stocking up to help get you through the rest of the coronavirus pandemic.
This rosé is an interesting dynamic between mouthwatering tartness and a soft creaminess. Tart notes of rhubarb, watermelon rind and ruby red grapefruit pair beautifully with sweeter, riper flavors of strawberries, bing cherries and tangerine zest. While there is bright acidity, the mouthfeel has a pleasant softness, likely from the time spent in neutral oak.