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The Weekly Dozen - A Pinot Thanksgiving

Why Pinot Noir for Thanksgiving? Let me count the ways. The fragrant but not too assertive red will match your turkey dark meat perfectly and will not overpower the breast meat, if that is your preference. And it’s a good match for cranberry sauce and spicy stuffing.

If you’re serving ham, another perfect match. A fish person? What better wine with salmon? Buttermilk mashed potatoes, as well as funky sweet potatoes, also play well with Pinot.

And while we will gladly drink a Burgundy grand cru with our turkey, we’ve chosen instead to select home-grown Pinot Noirs from California’s North and Central Coasts – one from Clos Pegase, three from Hahn Family and 11 from Dutton-Goldfield. Yes, that’s 15 bottles instead of a dozenly 12, but we’re feeling generous.

Please enjoy your bonus wines responsibly.

2018 Clos Pegase Mitsuko’s Vineyard” Carneros Pinot Noir ($40).  Satisfying, but a bit odd for a Pinot – lots of savory notes and coffee aromas and flavors, the latter being a bit unusual for Pinot.

2017 Hahn Family “Lucienne” Doctor’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir ($41). I would love to see how this develops in the bottle, because now it’s tightly wound, with most of the tangy, spicy fruit showing up in the finish.

2017 Hahn Family “Lucienne” Lone Oak Vineyard Santa Lucia Highland Pinot Noir ($41). Leaner and more savory than Doctor’s, more tannic, more assertive in a pleasant way.

2017 Hahn Family “Lucienne” Smith Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir ($41). Very good, with penetrating cherry flavors riding on a well-structured, satiny texture with some dusty tannins in the finish.

2017 Dutton-Goldfield “Angel Camp” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($45). Perhaps the least-impressive of the DG 11 – more muddled than clearly defined fruit, with cherry and rhubarb flavors.

2017 Dutton-Goldfield “Azaya Ranch” Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir ($62). Warm and generous with plump cherries, dusty tannins and a lean finish.

2017 Dutton-Goldfield “Fox Camp” Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($62). Not as big as the others and a little short, but nevertheless quite enjoyable with a good balance of fruity and savory flavors.

2017 Dutton-Goldfield “Redwood Ridge” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($62). Creamy, though quite savory with a dollop of ripe cherries in the middle.

2017 Dutton-Goldfield “Docker Hill” Mendocino  County Pinot Noir ($68). Somewhat delicate and elegant in a classic Burgundian sense, yet wrapped in dusty tannins. This one could really come into its own in a few years.

2017 Dutton-Goldfield “Dutton/Emerald Ridge” Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($68). Nice concentrated cherry-cola flavors with a little tang at the finish and a long aftertaste.

2017 Dutton-Goldfield “Deviate” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($72). Fairly big wine, with noticeable tannins, medium-intensity cherry flavors and a good dry-stemmy savory underlay.

2017 Dutton-Goldfield “McDougall” Fort Ross-Seaview Pinot Noir ($72). Fairly aggressive for a Pinot, yet good mouth feel, fruity and savory, still very tight and linear.

2017 Dutton-Goldfield “Devil’s Gulch” Marin County Pinot Noir ($83). A wine for lovers – lovely, sweet cherries like the inside of a bonbon; a sipping wine or one to have while nibbling on chocolates.

2017 Dutton-Goldfield “Dutton/Freestone Hill” Russian River Pinot Noir ($93). When I taste several wines at one time, I usually drop off almost-filled bottles on my neighbors’ porches. But I set this one aside to enjoy myself even before looking at the price,. It has delicious, rounded fruit with classic cola/rooty flavors, is slightly aggressive and has a firm structure. This wine can stand up to meats bigger than turkey legs.

2017 Dutton-Goldfield “Van der Camp” Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir ($NA). This one is for DG’s wine club members only, but I’m including it because it’s so different from the other 10, with more piquant, almost balsamic, flavors and some notes of raspberries sneaking into the cherries. A work-in-progress, perhaps?

Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com.

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