- 2018 Upper Eden Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, California ($12.99 @ Trader Joe’s, California)
Don’t look now but Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Over the past several weeks, we have been featuring wines that would be at home on your Thanksgiving table without breaking the bank. And as we close in on the day for celebrating abundance, I wanted to feature a Pinot Noir with a really high QPR (quality to price ratio).
Why Pinot Noir?
Pinot Noir is arguably THE traditional wine of choice for Thanksgiving dinner, and for good reason. Its comparatively light body and racy fruit flavors interact superbly with roast turkey. And if you’re holiday table will feature salmon, ham, duck or even non-meat entrees, this wine will do the trick.
Why this Pinot Noir?
When I saw this bottle at my local Trader Joe’s, I almost passed it over. That’s because I tried the 2017 and was unimpressed. But given its pedigree (the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA is arguably the most celebrated Pinot-growing area in the Monterey County AVA) and the fact that the winery had moved on to the 2018 vintage, I decided to give it a another try. I was very glad we did. This wine was delicious when first decanted, and it just got better as it opened up. It tastes like a much more expensive Pinot.
Part of the reason this wine pairs so well with turkey and fixings is that it is not a fleshy, floral, fruity Pinot (not that there is anything wrong with that style) but rather more of an Oregon-style Pinot. It’s tighter, and with just a tad more acidity to cut the fatiness of the customary Thanksgiving menu. It smells of raspberry and soil and tastes of strawberry, cherry, cocoa and hints of ground pepper.
The Thanksgiving Holiday is my favorite of the year. Perhaps not surprisingly for someone that has made a career of wine, I am in my element when the center of the holiday involves great food, and of course, fine wine. But I also like how it involves friends and family coming together to celebrate abundance and community. Which is why I included the decanter in this photo.
About that decanter:
My wife’s grandmother (who was known to her grandchildren as Narnie, rest in peace) was a gem of a woman. She loved family. She loved food. And she loved to travel. She brought this sturdy crystal decanter back from a trip to Sweden, and the Kosta Boda glass factory where it was made. We’ll say cheers to Narnie (and her husband “Bumpa”) when we decant our Thanksgiving wines in a few weeks.
Note that we will be publishing early again next week since “Thirsty Thursday” is the Thanksgiving Holiday.