Thanksgiving Wine Showdown: Cali Pinot Blanc vs. Oregon Pinot Noir

As we do almost every year, Hubby and I headed to his parents house for Thanksgiving, which meant I didn’t have to pick wine for a big group’s holiday feast.  However, Hubby and I started a new tradition a couple of year’s ago where we make our own Thanksgiving dinner for the two of us on the weekend after the holiday.  We justify it by saying it gives us a chance to celebrate just the two of us, but, between you and me, I think we do it because we don’t end up with many leftovers.  That is the downside of not hosting.

2010 Michel-Schlumberger La Bise Pinot Blanc

2010 Michel-Schlumberger La Bise Pinot Blanc

Hubby prepared our mini-feast for late Saturday afternoon, which included turkey seasoned with white truffle oil and garlic, pesto mashed potatoes, streamed green beans, and stuffing. I decided that a meal like that required two bottles of wine—a white and a red.  The white was the 2010 Michel-Schlumberger La Bise Pinot Blanc and the red was the Pali Wine Co.’s 2011 Alphabets Pinot Noir.

The 2010 Michel-Schlumberger La Bise Pinot Blanc (winery) is from the Dry Creek Valley area of California.  The wine had a pale, lemon-yellow color.  On the nose, there were grapefruits, limes, and hint of pears, jasmine, and white flowers.  In the mouth, there were grapefruits, limes, and hints of white flowers, grass, honey, and jasmine.  The wine was beautiful, light, and crisp with a bright acidity and light body.

Price: $24
Purchased at: Michel-Schlumberger’s Website
Overall: 4.5 Corks

2011 Alphabets Pinot Noir

2011 Alphabets Pinot Noir

The 2011 Alphabets Pinot Noir (winery) is from the Willamette Valley in Oregon and is made with 100% Pinot Noir grapes.  The wine had a medium-to-dark ruby with a pinkish, watery rim.  On the nose, there were Bing cherries, cranberries, and a touch of fireplace and sweet baking spices.  In the mouth, there were cherries, cranberries, and red currants with hints of white pepper, smoke, and cinnamon.  The wine had a surprisingly pleasant structure and beautiful balance, with medium-to-strong tannins, medium acidity, and medium body.

Suggested Retail Price: $21
Purchased at: Received as sample
Overall: 4.5 Corks

Final Thoughts: Out of curiosity, while writing this blog post, I went back to look at my selection of wine for last year’s Thanksgiving leftovers, and it turns out I opened a different Michel-Schlumberger–the 2008 Maison Rouge.  Clearly, I think of their wines for special occasions, and that’s probably because they are reliably delicious.  In this case, the Pali Wine Co.’s Pinot Noir had a tough competition, but it stood on its own and left me excited to try the bottle of white that is in my wine fridge.

Once I went through my “tasting” of each wine, I had a glass of each poured and took both with me to the dinner table, then with me to the couch where we spent the afternoon talking and working on our holiday photo card.  Hubby kept laughing at me because kept alternating which wine I was drinking, and after a few minutes of enjoying one, I would say something like “man, I picked a kick-ass wine” before moving back to the other one and saying something similar.

The Alphabets Pinot Noir was a slightly better all-around pairing with the meal, while the Michel-Schlumberger matched with the pesto mashed potatoes was pure heaven, but that’s really just being very picky. Overall, there was no favorite between the two, and that’s because they were both beautifully balanced and delicious wines.

Question of the Day:  What did you open for Thanksgiving?

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