When it comes to red wine for Turkey Day, make mine pinot. In fact, when it comes to most any red-wine meal, pinot noir, with its elegant fruit flavors, great structure and balanced acidity, is a great choice. Big, bold Cabernet works great with steak, yet it will overwhelm the typical Thanksgiving feast. A good pinot can be pricey but worth it for the holidays. The panel's top three picks provide worthy choices for most budgets.
2011 Brick House Pinot Noir Select, $33
Despite the price, this is the entry level pinot from Oregon's Brick House. This wine is very Burgundian in style, with earthy dark fruit on the nose. Light and lively on the palate, it's a beautiful mix of soft berry and tangy cherry with a touch of black pepper. Absolutely delicious, this wine begs to be paired with food.
2012 Butternut Pinot Noir, $14.99
As stated before, good pinot noir doesn't come cheap--there are only a few worthy examples for $15 or less. This California entry, with its bright cranberry and sweet cherry aromas, is one. The wine's juicy, ripe red fruit flavors are backed by racy acidity. It's an excellent value in a richer-styled pinot.
2012 Elk Cove Pinot Noir, $28
In the under $30 Oregon pinot category, Elk Cove is consistently a standout. The 2012 offers heady aromas of mocha-laced creamy cherry fruit with a touch of fresh-brewed coffee. This is a fruit-forward, crowd-pleasing wine, leading off with red berry fruit, colored by chocolate, anise and light oak.