Mom has agreed to host Thanksgiving, Dad is thrilled to showcase his killer carving skills, Grandmom is bringing her award-winning sweet potato souffle and your cousin is baking three pies — from scratch.
You can still be the hero this Turkey Day by including your contribution, and it doesn’t require speed-reading the Joy of Cooking, either. I have four little words for you: Williamette Valley Pinot Noir.
Pinot noir is light as reds go, so you don’t have to worry about it overwhelming the holiday’s classic flavors. The wine can actually bring some of those tastes to the next level. Roses, raspberry, truffle and smoke are all flavors associated with pinot noir, most of which could be ingredients in a turkey recipe, anyway.
While pinot noir’s true home is the Burgandy area of France, the vineyards in Oregon’s Williamette Valley have done some amazing things with this grape -- and it’s one of the hardest varieties to tame. Their versions are a little rounder, a little jammier. They are easy to drink and approachable enough for even the most wine-weary in your family to enjoy.
Anything with “Williamette Valley” on the bottle is a decent bet, but stay away from notorious warm areas like southern California, where the pinot grapes melt in the heat and only produce flat wines. For a personal rec, go with Williamette Valley Vineyards (that should be pretty easy to remember). This is my go-to bottle for domestic pinot, and what I will be serving at my Thanksgiving table.
So purchase a bottle or two (or three, depending on the stress level at your annual family gatherings). Uncork, pour and show off your knew-found knowledge. And watch as your family ohhs and ahhs. Just make sure Dad has his glass after he puts down the electric knife.
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