If you’re not the Thanksgiving cook this year, if you get to sleep in and lollygag all morning while your host gets up at dawn to wrestle the bird into the oven, you will no doubt wake up feeling grateful.
In Wine Country, the best way to express that gratitude is to give your host a Thanksgiving pinot.
Here are a few choice pinots from our line-up, with our first a budget-savvy pick. Who says you can’t be generous even in an economic downturn?
Castle Rock, 2009 Mendocino County Pinot Noir, 13.5 percent, $13. A tangy pinot noir with crisp acidity. Aromas and flavors of cherry, cranberry, mineral and spice. Balanced.
Thomas George Estates, 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 14.7 percent, $38. This fleshy pinot has depth, with aromas and flavors of ripe cherry, herbs, spice and a hint of caramel. Supple.
Taft Street, 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 14.1 percent, $24. This bright pinot has notes of tart cherry, cranberry, smoke and spice. Good length.
A gift of pinot noir is a safe bet because it’s a familiar varietal, and it pairs well with turkey and most of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes. And although it’s appropriately coined “the finicky grape,” pinot is striking in these parts, particularly when it hails from the Russian River Valley and the Carneros, two world-class wine regions.
What’s exciting about pinot is it has quite a range, from crisp and tangy to ripe and full-bodied. It runs the gamut when it comes to fruit, from cranberry and rhubarb to blackberry and black plum. Of course, pinot, in all its incarnations, is at its best when its texture is lush.