Saturday, November 17, 2012

Three American Pinots for Thanksgiving

Missing from photo: the Willakenzie Pinot!
I'd be hard pressed to think of a wine I haven't heard suggested as a good pairing for Thanksgiving. Red, white, rose. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon (yes, I really have seen Cab suggested!).And I've tried many of them (including a a Cab...Cab Franc that is). Though it's fun to read and sample these different suggestions, the last couple of years I've landed on Pinot Noir as my favorite option for Thanksgiving. It's such a food friendly wine, typically with some good earthy flavors and some acidity.

Though I don't hew to the concept rigorously, I do like the idea of serving American wines on this national celebration. That led me down the path of zinfandel some years ago, but now I'm more likely to save that for steak or perhaps pork. This year, I've sample three American pinots recently that I think would go nicely with the Thanksgiving meal, and will likely bring some combination of them with me on Thursday! They provide a range of price options depending on your budget, too.

2011 Hahn Winery California Pinot Noir ($14): The Monterey County based winery produces some great values, and their pinot is no exception. Nice, well-balanced fruit, without being the "fruit bomb" that many California pinots can be. Hahn Winery is SIP certified (Sustainable in Practice) for all its Central Coast Vineyards.

2009 Wente Vineyards Reliz Creek Pinot Noir ($22): Reliz Creek is in the Arroyo Seco region of Monterrey  If I were blind tasting this I might have guessed it hailed from Burgundy. Good structure, subtle fruit. I haven't had this with food yet but anticipate it is going to go nicely Thursday.  Sustainably farmed-- details on the Wente sustainable practices can be found here (and you can easily jump to other parts of their site from there!).

2009 Willakenzie Pierre Leon Pinot Noir ($42): There aren't too many Pinots from Oregon's Willamette Valley that I haven't like, but I'm especially fond of the Pinots (and other varietals, too) from Willakenzie. If you want to spend a bit more than my other recommendations  this would be a nice treat. This is a sophisticated wine, cherry fruit and earthy undertones that can pick up the rich foods on your table. The wine is made from estate grown grapes from the Yamhill-Carlton appellation. More on the wine here.


Wente Vineyards said...

Hi David,

Thank you so much for including us in your post!

Wente Vineyards is a CCSW-Certified winery and more information on the program can be found at and more information on our sustainable practices can be found at

Let us know if you have any additional questions. Thanks so much and Happy Thanksgiving!

David said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I apologize, I meant to look back and look for more info on the sustainability piece but left it in incomplete fashion. I've updated with a link to your page on sustainability. Happy Thanksgiving! I look forward to enjoying your pinot with our turkey.

Mark Buckley said...

Appreciate your Thanksgiving recommendations. We are very proud of the Hahn Winery Pinot Noir.
Hahn Estate in Soledad, CA is SIP certified (Sustainable in Practice) in all it's vineyards in the Central Coast.


Mark - Hahn Family Wines

David said...

Thanks for stopping by Mark, I've enjoyed all the Hahn wines I've tried. Updated post with links per your comments.