A Pinot Perfect Thanksgiving

In their annual pre-Thanksgiving Wall Street Journal column, John and Dottie proclaim, “There is no perfect wine for Thanksgiving dinner,” which really takes the pressure off of those guys looking to impress their fiancée’s Screaming Eagle-guzzling dad.  On the other hand, our most beloved WSJ wine columnists strongly endorse savoring an American pinot noir with the cranberries and bird this year.  And you know what?  It’s the best time ever to be a pinotphile.  After years of playing the shrinking violet behind the shameless, self-promoting shadow of big brother cabernet sauvignon, American pinot noir is poised to explode.  Be thankful this year that we’ll celebrate restraint, elegance and balance instead of brazenly overoaked, astringent fruit bombs (not that I’m biased or anything!).  Never mind that John and Dottie themselves are planning to drink an aged California cab on Thanksgiving Day; if we’d attentively cellared a 30 year old Mondavi Reserve, we’d devour that too.  But for those of us lacking a deep, thoughtful cellar brimming with spectacular old reds, indulge instead in a sexy, berry, floral-spiked or earthy funk-flecked American pinot noir.  John and Dottie cajole and implore us to “go with an American pinot noir” for good reason.  Pinot’s cranberry and red berry mirror the tastes in our favorite Thanksgiving foods and are soft and wonderful to drink.  In fact they confess to being “somewhat obsessed with Pinot from Hirsch vineyards.”  Their words must thrill the whole Hirsch pinot noir operation because only weeks before, Matt Kramer from Wine Spectator cited Hirsch among the finest examples of Sonoma Coast pinots.  He went so far as challenging us readers to relish an “extreme Sonoma Coast” pinot noir before dying.  Is that ever a divine endorsement of wine or what?    Oh transcendent incantation, Kramer extols “America’s pinot noir treasures” like the holy sacrament.  (By the way, as a Jew I can say that).  So go with pinot, dear Brigade, and support our brethren.  Last year, I was so undone by schlepping our children from San Diego to Los Angeles in our infernal family adventure of misery and pain that I never though to ask our hostess what we drank.  Whatever it was, it was absolutely perfect.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, and friends eclipse any wine label I can fathom.  In this year’s episode of wretched perdition and suffering part deux, we intend (stupidly) to extend that 2 hour drive to LA all the way north into Sonoma County.  No wine in the world, not even the most fortified ports of old, can soothe the excruciating, endless torment of 10 long hours in the car with 3 kids aged 6 and under.  I am hoping that by Thanksgiving Day, my heartburn will have abated and my bald patch will have resprouted (no such luck for Brian, unfortunately), after having pulled out handfuls of hair just past the Long Beach freeway exit (3 hours and 20 minutes down, only 6 hours and 40 minutes to go!!). 

But beyond the travails of toddler travel, this Thanksgiving Brian and I are incredibly thankful for the opportunity to oblige our passion for winemaking and finally release our inaugural offering to you.  So this Thanksgiving, we will pop open a bottle from our personal stash of Bruliam wine and toast you, our loving cheerleaders and ardent supporters.  We thank you, Brigade, and cheers!  May you enjoy a peaceful and fulfilling Thanksgiving holiday.