- 2021 Upper Eden Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, California ($12.99 @ Trader Joe’s, California)
It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since we recommended the 2018 vintage of this wine for your Thanksgiving table. When we spied it again this year at Trader Joe’s in the run-up to Turkey Day, we were curious if it still warranted your wine dollars.
Don’t look now but Thanksgiving is just around the corner! And as we close in on the day for celebrating abundance, we wanted to feature a Pinot Noir with a really high QPR.
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 your holiday table will feature salmon, ham, duck or even non-meat entrees, this wine will still do the trick.
Why this Pinot Noir?
Given its pedigree (the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA is arguably the most celebrated Pinot-growing area in the Monterey County AVA) we figured there was a pretty good probability that this wine would impress. It did. It was delicious when first decanted (although the decanting is optional) and it just got better as it opened up. It tastes like a much more expensive Pinot. There are none of those flavors of fake additives that we despise.
Part of the reason this wine pairs so well with turkey and fixings is that it is not an overly fleshy, floral, fruity Pinot (not that there is anything wrong with those styles, per se) 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 the photo above. It was a gift from dear friends.
We will not be publishing on Thanksgiving, but we will be back the following Thirsty Thursday with a new wine of the week (WoW!) as we begin our countdown to the December holidays and – gasp! – 2024. Peace and love and abundance to you and yours.