Selecting wines for Thanksgiving is challenging. The wines have to pair with many different dishes and please many different people. I suggest keeping things simple by serving Pinots, both Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris/Grigio. They are food- and people-friendly, and fine selections are available across a wide range of prices.

Here are my recommendations:


Line 39 2016 Pinot Noir “California” ($11): This impressive bargain has broad appeal far exceeding its modest cost. Attractive fruit, complexity and integration are expressed with personality over ample length.

Ferrari-Carano 2017 Pinot Grigio “Russian River Valley, Sonoma County” ($14): Notable strength on nose and palate featuring lean-ish, well-balanced fruit. Complexity and character carry through a lingering finish.

Primarius 2017 Pinot Gris “Oregon” ($15): This personal favorite from Oregon has strength on the palate, finely balanced fruit, impressive refinement, attractive integration and a long, beautiful finish.

Marco Felluga 2017 Pinot Grigio “Montgris, Collio, Italy” ($18): Collio is Italy’s top region for Pinot Grigio with character, and the Montgris is forward with well-balanced fruit and appealing complexity extending through a lengthy finish.

Acrobat 2016 Pinot Noir “Oregon” ($19): Strong on the attack with fruit quickly joined by enjoyable tannins and good complexity, all expressed with robustly attractive personality over ample length.

Primarius 2016 Pinot Noir “Oregon” ($19): Another impressive Primarius is very pleasing all-around but especially on the palate with long-lingering fruit melded with smooth tannins, good complexity and fine balance.


Anne Amie 2017 Pinot Gris “Willamette Valley” ($20): Features fruit and complexity on the nose, but shines even more on the palate with beautiful, excellently balanced fruit and a refined, extended finish.

District 7 2016 Pinot Noir “Monterey County” ($20): Attractive in the glass and on nose and palate, I especially enjoyed its fruit on the attack, joined in mid-palate by pleasing, medium-soft tannins and complexity.

Sokol Blosser 2017 Pinot Gris “Dundee Hills” ($22): Another Oregon Pinot Gris makes the list, thanks to strong fruit kept lean by focused acidity, as well as its full-bodied personality with expressive, well-balanced fruit and an impressively long finish.

A to Z 2016 Pinot Noir “Essence, Oregon” ($25): Loved the color depth and hue. More forward fruit than usual for an Oregon Pinot Noir, and pleasing acidity yields balance while core tannins provide complexity. Very well made, especially for the price.

Chalk Hill 2016 Pinot Noir “Sonoma Coast” ($25): Appealing across the board with forward fruit on the attack quickly paired with fine balance and attractive complexity. Its strong personality is expressed over extended length.

La Crema 2017 Pinot Noir Rosé “Monterey County” ($25): Highly food friendly, this fine Pinot Noir Rosé has strength on the palate featuring excellent fruit and balance. Complexity builds to yield a wonderful wine with a great finish.

King 2017 Pinot Gris “Domaine, Willamette Valley” ($29): My favorite Pinot Gris tasted for this column excels with its strength, forward fruit, beautifully integrated acidity and strong, long-lingering length. An excellent, quite flexible food wine. Very impressive!


Böen 2016 Pinot Noir “Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County” ($31): A highly attractive nose sets the stage for robust fruit coupled with fine balance, superb richness, thick texture and engaging complexity.

Metz Road 2015 Pinot Noir “Riverview Vineyard, Monterey County” ($35): Attractive on the nose, but is even better on the palate with strong, fruit-forward flavors coupled with enjoyable balance, complexity and personality.

Benovia 2016 Pinot Noir “Russian River Valley” ($42): Tops in my tasting of over a half dozen similarly priced Pinots. Knockout gorgeous color and strength on the nose set the stage for rich fruit, pleasing depth, beautiful texture and great complexity.


Fort Ross 2013 Pinot Noir “FRV, Fort Ross Vineyard, Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma Coast” ($52): Outstanding across the board. I loved its purple hue, strength and complexity on the nose and excellence on the palate with fruit, balance, medium-soft tannins and lingering length.

Belle Glos 2016 Pinot Noir “Dairyman, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County” ($55): Not a wine to sip and swallow, but a wine to sip, hold and savor through wonderful development of textured complexity and its extended length. Be certain to uncork 60 minutes before serving.

$60 plus

Fire + Flood 2014 Pinot Noir “The Fire, Willamette Valley” ($61): This great Pinot Noir from a superb vintage is powerfully complex on nose and palate, as well as full-to-heavy bodied, exceptionally well-balanced and much more. Order from

Guarachi 2015 Pinot Noir “Sonoma Coast” ($65): Superlative, well-made Pinot! Gorgeous color depth and hue. Strong with forward fruit, notable complexity, wonderful balance and a beautiful finish. Order from

Zena Crown 2014 Pinot Noir “Conifer, Eola-Amity Hills” ($75): Rich fruit and full body are expressed on the attack, followed by softly rounded tannins, fine balance and excellent complexity that lead to a lengthy, full-flavored finish.

Roco 2015 Pinot Noir “Private Stash No. 13, Wits’ End Vineyard, Chehalem Mountains” ($95): Topping my tastings is this wonderful Pinot Noir featuring luminescent purple in the glass, strength and complexity on the nose and the exceptional balance of a great food wine on the palate. Order from

John Vankat’s Pine Wine appears every month and his Wine Pick of the Week is published every Wednesday. Wines can be ordered from local wine stores, unless indicated otherwise. Prices may vary. John can be reached at



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