Two Thanksgiving Wines

Thanksgiving is next week! I can hardly believe it. Kevin and I celebrated early with his family and my parents since everyone will be all over the place this year. I always like setting a pretty table and using our wedding crystal! In case you missed it, last week I put out a little Thanksgiving Wine Guide to help with pairing options. This week, I actually have two specific recommendations (a white and a red) that I think would be great accompaniments to your Thanksgiving dinner, assuming it's a traditional one. Both are from the United States, too!

Acrobat Pinot Gris

In my guide, I stated that a Chardonnay was a classic pairing. However, when I was researching pairings, I saw several references to Pinot Gris as well. I'd never bought a Pinot Gris before, so I was excited to give it a whirl this year. First, you may be thinking, what is Pinot Gris? Pinot Gris is more commonly known as Pinot Grigio! Same grape, just different name and different styles. This article from Wine Spectator describes it very well, but the short hand is that Pinot Gris is usually richer and creamier while Pinot Grigio is crisp and clean. 

Acrobat Pinot Gris.jpg

The Facts

  • Producer: King Estate
  • Region: Oregon
  • Vintage: 2015
  • Variety: Pinot Gris
  • Where I purchased: Whole Foods
  • Price: $14.99 

The wine is a dusty, pale gold color. Even from the beginning, it looked slightly different from the Pinot Grigios I have had in the past! The wine smells of peach, lemon, and something tropical... pineapple, perhaps. It is very pleasant to drink! It's got a nice, balanced acidity. It cleans your palate without it being so mouth puckering (like a Sauvignon Blanc, for example). My mom, who has an aversion to a lot of acid, even liked this one! I got the taste of apple and pineapple, but there was also a creaminess of texture. No oak or vanilla, in my opinion, but the texture was definitely there. This would go so well with the all of the creaminess at Thanksgiving dinner (hello, gravy and mashed potatoes!). Finally, it should be noted that it was a Wine Enthusiast 2016 Best Buy pick, and received 91 points from them. I don't always live by point ratings, but I'd have to agree with their opinion on this one!

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Samuel Robert Winery Vintner's Reserve Pinot Noir

If you read my review of the Ropiteau Pinot Noir, you know I'm skeptical of inexpensive Pinots. That doesn't mean I'll stop trying because just like with Cabernet Sauvignons, I'm on the hunt for delicious and affordable options. I saw this Samuel Robert Pinot at Total Wine, it had a good rating from Wine Enthusaist, it was on sale, and it was a pick of one of the staff members. I was sold!

Samual Robert Pinot.jpg

The Facts

  • Producer: Samuel Robert Winery
  • Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • Vintage: 2015
  • Variety: Pinot Noir
  • Where I purchased: Total Wine
  • Price: $14.99 

I was extremely surprised by the nose. It smelled so complex for only $12.99 (I got it on sale, and I think it still is)! There was cherry, of course, but also some cinnamon and a hint of earthiness or decaying leaves. "Decaying leaves" doesn't sound good when reading it, but you know that smell of fall? I personally love it. When I tried the wine, it was less bold in flavor than I expected based on how the wine smelled. The spice was missing on the palate, but there was some good cherry and cranberry flavor. The fruit flavor and acid was well balanced, not being jammy or too thin. If you can catch this on sale at your local Total Wine with a coupon or in-store promotion, it is definitely a great bang for your buck! Even at its full price of $14.99, I think it's a great value. I really enjoyed my small tasting glass and am looking forward to opening the full bottle later! For now, this is the best Pinot Noir I've had recently for less than $20, so I'm giving it four bunches.

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Tasting Notes: Ecaana Pinot Grigio

With our trip to Italy happening later this year, I have been on an Italian wine kick. Tastings, research, looking at bottles... it was getting me very excited to travel there! The weather in Charlotte this past week or so was very warm, so I wanted to try a white. I thought this would be a good place to start since we'll be traveling there in the summer time, too. I was grocery shopping at Whole Foods, so I thought I'd just check out their Italy section to see what they offered!

The Facts

  • Producer: Ecaana
  • Region: delle Venezie IGT (Northern Italy)
  • Vintage: 2014
  • Variety: Pinot Grigio
  • Where I purchased: Whole Foods
  • Price: $10.99
  • Eyes: This wine was a very light, pale yellow color. I think I've seen this referred to as "pale platinum". The photo above almost makes it look more yellow, but next to the other white wines in the store, it was definitely very light. The color definitely gave me the impression that it would be a light bodied wine.
     
  • Nose: Apple. Just straight up apple. Then maybe some hint of pear, but I was overwhelmed by the scent of apple. It smelled good!
     
  • Mouth: As I would expect based on the nose, there was definitely some apple taste coming through. I think I told K that it tasted like apple juice, but significantly less sugary (as it should be). There was also some lemon or citrus notes that were very refreshing. 
     
  • Thoughts: First off, I want to be honest in that I chose this wine based on two things: (1) price point and (2) the label. It has such a cute label! I am a firm believer in that cute labels don't always result in the best wines, but I was limited on time, so it was a deciding factor for me. Ultimately, I thought this wine was very crisp and refreshing! I liked the apple flavors a lot and found it to have some good acid. This made it very easy to drink, in my opinion. I haven't had a lot of Pinot Grigio recently, but I think this is a great choice as the weather gets warmer, especially if you're looking for a less expensive choice. Plus, it's a screw top! Perfect for any picnic or outing you have where you don't want to carry a wine opener. 

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