- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Benziger, Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, 2000, $18

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, the hunt is on for good, tasty American pinot noir — arguably the best red wine for this holiday feast. Pinot’s soft tannins and expressive fruit flavors will enable it to pair well with not only the turkey, but also the stuffing, sweet potatoes, string beans and even the cranberries.

Until fairly recently, good American pinot noir was something of an oxymoron. Most examples tasted either candied and sweet or dry and astringent. But over the past decade, a veritable revolution in the country’s vineyards and wineries has yielded more and more exciting, expressive wines. Whether coming from California or Oregon, today’s American pinots are clearly the finest to date.

Benziger’s 2000 pinot noir from Sonoma County, Calif., is a good example. Marked by dark cherry flavors and a firm but never intrusive structure, the wine tastes seductively smooth and supple. There’s no hint of Burgundian barnyard, just bright, bountiful fruit — an all-American profile for an all-American meal.

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