For Thanksgiving dinner we had the requisite turkey, and I chose to accent this lovely bird with some Californian Pinot Noir. While it was disappointing to clear out the last two decent pinots out of my cellar, they were very nice and a perfect compliment to the bird. The wines were:
2001 Morgan Rosella's Vineyard (Santa Lucia Highlands) Pinot Noir
2002 Sea Smoke Botella (Santa Rita Hills) Pinot Noir
I have had the Morgan before, in Dec. of 2004, and I made notes to set this wine aside until 2006. Two years later, it was one of my choices this evening. Nice, subtle earthy, woody and leathery aromas, with scents of strawberries, pepper, tea, coffee and almonds. On the palate it was very strawberry, somewhat tart and a little unbalanced, but very rich. Ready now, it would pair well with food. Not as nice as the next wine, and very expensive (it cost me US$42).
Score: 16.5/20 (RP-88, WS-86)
The Sea Smoke Botella was a gorgeous wine. A lovely desert-like smell, with dark cherry, oaky-undergrowth, earthy, leathery, pepper, smoke, cocoa, pencil shavings - there was a lot going on here! Well balanced and very soft on the palate, easy to drink with cherry fruit and a firm acidic structure. Splitting hairs, but the heavy alcohol was somewhat apparent in the background. A very long finish, this was a spectacular, fruit forward, well-made wine, and may improve. Over the evening (4 hours) the nose continued to evolve and show off its fabulous aromas. At US$28, this was a stunning value.
Score: 18/20 (RP-91, WS-91)
Overall, I really like the pairing of Turkey dinner with Pinot. Cheers!