14 Oregon wines that pair well with Thanksgiving dinner

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.

This is really difficult on all the small businesses so please place your orders for pick up, local delivery or shipped to arrive just in time for your holiday meal.

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

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.

SRP $54

Click here to read more about it.

2016 Montinore Estate Parsons' Ridge Pinot noir

2016 Montinore Estate Parsons’ Ridge Pinot noir

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. 

SRP $55

Follow this link to read more.

2018 Hundred Suns Old Eight Cut Pinot noir

2018 Hundred Suns Old Eight Cut Pinot noir

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.

SRP $30

Click here to read more.

Oregon red wine

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

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.

SRP $30

Read more about this Gamay here.

2016 Abacela Tinta amarela

2016 Abacela Tinta amarela

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.

SRP $32

Follow this link to read more.

Oregon bubbles

Make your Thanksgiving holiday really special with some sparkling wine!

2013 Lytle-Barnett Blanc de noir 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!

SRP $75

Click here to read more.

2016 Mellen Meyer Vine(archy)

2016 Mellen Meyer Vine(archy)

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).

SRP $15

Follow this link to learn more.

Oregon rosé

Rosés made in Oregon have more acidity, making them very food-friendly! Here are a few unique ones:

2019 Troon Vineyard Kubli Bench rosé

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.

SRP $25

Read more about it here.

2016 Brandborg Vineyard Fleur de Lis White Pinot noir

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.

SRP $27

Follow this link to read more.

2019 Furioso Vineyards rosé of Pinot noir

2019 Furioso Vineyards rosé of Pinot noir

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.

SRP $32

Click here to read more about this rosé.

Oregon white wines

These white wines have enough body and acidity to match all the fixings on your Thanksgiving table.

2019 Red Lily Vineyards Stargazer Lily Verdejo

2019 Red Lily Vineyards Stargazer Lily Verdejo

It’s quite unusual to find Verdejo, a medium-weight, mineral-driven white wine, outside the Rueda region of Spain. There it is the area’s most widely planted grape and where Red Lily owners fell in love with it. Eventually, they realized Verdejo could thrive in Oregon’s Applegate Valley and decided to plant some. I, for one, am happy they made the choice to grow it!

Tart, crisp and fruity, the Stargazer Lily Verdejo has notes of pineapples, ripe apricots, white peaches, and tropical starfruit. The lemon curd-like mouthfeel is enveloping and the acidity adds a pleasant zing to the chorus of flavors on my mouth. Hints of salinity lend even more nuance to the wine, ending in a long, spicy white ginger and zippy lemon zest finish.

SRP $24

Read more about it here.

2017 RR Riesling

2017 RR Riesling

At first whiff, mineral notes of wet stone, flint and gravel dust filled my nose. Tart citrus flavors of lemon and lime zest made my mouth water after my first sip. Starfruit, honeysuckle, Bartlett pears and a hint of rubber followed closely behind that initial mouth-puckering acidity. With more time out of the chiller, this wine developed a softer mouthfeel and flavors of honey drizzled pears, ending in a long, long finish.

SRP $35

Follow this link to read more.

2019 Plaisance Ranch Viognier

2019 Plaisance Ranch Viognier

I LOVED the aromas and flavors in this Viognier made by Plaisance Ranch. Sometimes, this varietal can leave an oily coating in your mouth. But this Viognier, along with others I tried in Southern Oregon, retained enough acidity to instead offer a nice, full mouthfeel without the oil! Stone fruits notes of peaches and white apricots co-mingled with tart, citrusy marmalade jam and gardenias. The finish was long and satisfying too! If you’re more of a red wine drinker, I think you’ll love this wine since it offers a heavier weight than most white wines. It feels more like a red wine while in your mouth.

SRP $20

Click here to learn more about this Viognier.

2019 Kriselle Cellars Albariño

2019 Kriselle Cellars Albariño

This Albariño had notes of sweet-tart kumquats, white peaches, and underripe apricots with a full mouthfeel. The acidity was nicely balanced with a minerality that left me longing for my next sip.

SRP $28

Follow this link to read more.

If you enjoy any of these wines with your Thanksgiving meal, let us know in the comments. Cheers to small gatherings, zoom and FaceTime calls, and cherishing those we love from afar to keep them safe and healthy during the pandemic. We hope you find gratitude this holiday season.

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About the Author: Michele Francisco

Michele Francisco, a founder and regular contributor to Winerabble, a blog primarily about Pacific Northwest wines, is living the dream in Portland, Oregon. Her passion leads some to believe she's got wine running through her veins. Contact Michele at michele@winerabble.com & be sure to visit her online portfolio at www.michelefrancisco.com.

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