Alloy Wine Works Central Coast Pinot Noir ($6.99): Meeting up with six-pack drinking kin? Toss them a 12-ounce aluminum can of, surprise, Pinot Noir. This gets cheap Pinot in just the right way for the Thanksgiving meal: bright strawberry fruit and a festive—but very slight—spritz (I’m told that canned wine benefits from a tiny addition of CO2—uh oh, did someone mention greenhouse gas?).
Gary Farrell 2016 Hallberg Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($55): This wine passes the cranberries right to your palate. The spice aromas are on the woody side of cinnamon, and the sweet cranberry preserve flavor is balanced with a puckery, cranberry crunch on the finish. Holiday-ready.
Dutcher Crossing 2017 Terra de Promissio Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($52): This should manifest a good Merlot-drinker conversion rate. Leaning on toasty wood and chocolate notes, it’s nuanced with clove oil spice and graham cracker, but delivers crowd-pleasing, raspberry-shake flavor.
LaRue 2017 Thorn Ridge Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($70): This real nice turkey wine still goes strong a few days after opening, for that turkey sandwich snack. Sandalwood incense, raspberry candy, chocolate liqueur and cranberry liqueur tease the nose, and a tangy smack of acidity brightens a silky palate.
Masut 2016 Mendocino Pinot Noir ($40): From the brothers Fetzer, this savory, meaty Mendo Pinot, with smoky, Syrah-like qualities, is one for the barbecued-turkey club. How do wine writers find these notes of mixed berry jam, secchi salami, green peppercorn and garam masala in plain old wine? Discuss.
Clos Pegase 2018 Mitsuko’s Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir ($40): Here’s a wine to please flying horse fans, architecture buffs and wine drinkers, alike. An alternative to some of the ponderous Pinots out there, this lighter-bodied wine is likely to match the holiday menu with wood-spice, coriander and dried-fennel aromas; and red-cherry flavor. The front label features Pegasus from winery-founder Jan Shrem’s art collection, while the back label reminds us that the facility was designed by postmodernist architect Michael Graves. Is it just me, or is anyone else fed up with the long date-expired, watered-down postmodernism that adorns every new strip mall with a useless, symbolic portico that doesn’t shelter from the rain? A topic of discussion for the highbrow end of the table. But also: If horses had wings, would we roast them for our holiday meal? Discuss.