- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Saintsbury, Pinot Noir “Garnet,” Carneros, California, 2008, $21

When made in a silky, smooth style, pinot noir is an ideal red wine to serve at Thanksgiving. Its gentle tannins enable it to pair successfully with the different dishes that make up a traditional holiday meal. Moreover, its slightly tart red fruit flavors complement roast turkey as well as if not better than the cranberry sauce.

Unfortunately, a great many contemporary pinot noirs don’t come in this style. Instead, they taste quite sweet, the grapes having been left long on the vine, and so also are quite alcoholic. As a result, they seem fairly full-fleshed but also hot and heavy. OK at a bar or as an aperitif, they are not very food-friendly and are not the best choice for serving at a meal that includes such a wide array of flavors.

Saintsbury, a winery that has been producing fine pinots for about as long as anyone in California, makes some single-vineyard wines in a heavier style, but this fresh, youthful “Garnet” is appropriately light-bodied. Though a tad sweeter than might be optimal, it nonetheless displays the red fruit and supple texture that a good Thanksgiving red needs.

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