What Red Wine to Drink With Your Thanksgiving Turkey.
Pinot Noir is my choice for the red wine to pour for my family and friends, but which one to choose? Over the
weekend I bought three California Pinots for under $20 and tasted them with some good friends so I could make my selection.
Fortunately my friends Bruce, Carole, Jeff and my wife love wine as much as I do, so they were willing participants in my little experiment. To make it scientific, I brought a smoked turkey breast to the tasting so we could evaluate the wines with what I will be serving on the big day.
The good news is that, as a group we were easily able to pick a clear winner. The better news is that we had a great time doing it.
I brought 3 California Pinot Noirs that cost under $20 dollars – 1 from Napa, 1 from Sonoma and 1 from Santa Lucia Highlands. Here’s my impressions:
2014 Ramsay North Coast Pinot Noir (Napa) – $11.99 to $13.99
Well, I’m sorry to say that I can’t recommend this wine. The Ramsay reminds me of why I have had a long standing aversion to some Napa wines. It was over ripe, too sweet and had a very obvious caramel oak nose and palate. I didn’t get a sense of balance, or focus. I’m not saying that people won’t like this wine as a simple sipper, but it did nothing for the turkey and it’s just not my style. The group agreed.
2014 Angeline Reserve Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) – $14.99
We are getting a little better with this selection. The Angeline is obviously manufactured as a “crowd pleaser”, but it does have a brightness to the fruit with red berries and cherry and some acid to balance the ripeness. This wine actually did enhance the flavor of the turkey so I would hesitantly recommend it for it’s mass appeal.
2014 Luli Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands) – $19.99
Now were talkin’. The Luli hit all the right notes for me and made my smoked turkey sing. The brightly focussed tart fruit and the spiciness along with good acid and structure not only makes me think this is a fairly serious, food friendly Pinot, but I think this could age a few years. Pretty good for a Pinot under $20. Check out the Luli website to learn more about them.
The Luli was a clear and unanimous winner and I’m so pleased to have one big decision out of the way. But wait…what about the white wine? Riesling, Rousson, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay. Well, I guess we need another tasting.