Sunday, October 07, 2007

A Canadian Thanksgiving - Turkey and Pinot

Canadian Thanksgiving is held a few weeks before the American holiday. While there may be various historical reasons for two countries' choice of day to celebrate thanks, I for one blame the weather - late November weather can be dicey in many parts of this country - no need to flood the highways with turkey stuffed drivers if the snow is blowing.

For the main meal, our northern holiday also featured a fine turkey (blogger is rejecting my turkey shot). I was pitched the Zin idea for turkey, but I really like the pinot pairing (last year was a turkey/pinot t-giving).

For the main meal, we started off Burgundy vs. California, but not in a competitive way - calibration, as Edward would say.

The 2005 Nicolas Potel Santenay was even slightly more impressive than the last time. Cherry red, the nose was quite similar to my last experience, with earthy, mushroomy and berry aromas, I could picture myself standing in the winery at harvest time. On the palate it was crisp, focused, elegant and balanced with nice raspberry fruit. Last time I commented that this should spend some time in the cellar, but it is drinking very well now. An exceptional pairing.
cork. 13% alcohol
Score: 17.5/20
Price: C$31 (SAQ)

A previous vintage of The Famous Gate was a winner at one of our Pinot Noir tastings, prompting me to visit the winery last year. The 2004 Domaine Carneros "The Famous Gate" was an attractive ruby red in the glass, with a complex nose dominated by cocoa and cloves, also showing raspberry jam, vanilla, nutmeg, and smokey/flinty notes. On the palate this medium- to full-bodied pinot was silky, smoother and softer than the Potel, also very elegant, but seemed less acidic and overpowered the meal. Could use a few more years in the cellar.
cork. 13.7% alcohol
Score: 17.5/20
Price: US$50 (winery)

So, the crowd favourite was the Potel, and it came down to pairing - the Potel seemed to match and accentuate the meal just slightly better. It was the first bottle finished.

With a large crowd, it was not long before we moved to the third bottle, a 2006 Cono Sur Vision Pinot Noir that I hinted to in my previous Potel post. Bright cherry red, with ripe raspberry, iodine, canned fruit and smokey notes on the nose. On the palate it was "edgier" than the other two Pinots, but crisp and flavourful with nice acidity and mild tannins. An amazing balance between old and new world styles, and a tremendous value for the money.
screw top. 14.1% alcohol
Score: 16.5/20
Price: C$16 (LCBO)

In Sonoma, off to the wineries today - Cheers!


Marcus said...

Assignment for you Joe, man in the field:

Meridian Vineyards Pinot Noir ($20) from Paso Robles is getting played up in the latest SAQ promotion. Scoop?

Edward said...


I look forward to seeing lots of photos and reading about your trip.


Joe said...

Hi Marcus. Paso Robles is far away, so I won't get any local scoop. I will look into that wine and see if I can get anything else for you!
Hi Edward. I have so much material that I am going rather slow! I should get a post up today. The photos will have to wait for my return to Montreal...

Edward said...


Just read your day 1 report. Sounds like a lot of fun. Presumably your children are at home!

As a gesture of blogger solidarity will try to drink something from Sonoma in the next few days or so :)

Joe said...

Hi Edward - yes, I left the wife and kids at home. Maybe I bring the wife next year. Thanks for the show of solidarity!

Anonymous said...

Hi Joe,
I tasted today the Santenay Nicolas Potel 2005 and really enjoyed its freshness and cherry flavors as well as the typical earthy aromas. Accorded well smoked salmon appetizer. A good pic (90 points in my book).
Speaking about Pinot Noir, during my recent trip to the San Diego, I tasted a New Zealand Pinot Noir from Central Otago called Amisfield (32$; WS 93 pts)..It was impressive! I brought with me the last bottle at the store. If you go to the US look up Amisfield, it's worth it...Cheers,

Joe said...

Hi Fadi - sounds about right - I don't use the 100pt system but I think of 17.5 as being approx. 90. Probably a good rule of thumb. Thanks for the tip on the Amisfield - I will look it up. In a similar vein, I recommend the Pinot noir Margrain Martinborough 2005, 10383261, $33. I reviewed it earlier this year, and it is still available at the SAQ. Cheers!

David said...

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving...must have been pretty good with the pinot choices! I had pinot from Oregon last year, this year I've got a burgundy queud up. My roundup of Thanksgiving wine musings is here:

David said...

Just saw Marcus' comment on Paso Robles, an area I've been focusing on of late. Especially like Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel, and several zins from Four Vines.

Joe said...

Hi David - good piece on gather - I'm a big fan of the Schug, but that Moillard Burgundy sounds very interesting...