In a couple of weeks, many of us will drink pinot noir with Thanksgiving dinner, since pinot is traditionally the red wine recommended for Thanksgiving. The catch, of course, is that much of the pinot noir we’ll be drinking won’t be especially pinot-like, thanks to one of the biggest changes in the wine business over the past five years.
Those of us who do want to drink pinot that is varietally correct and want to spend a little extra would do well to look for the Patricia Green ($36, sample), long one of my favorite Oregon pinot noirs and not a bad value given pinot noir prices.
In the old days, when winemakers paid more attention to these things, there were three kinds of pinot – red Burgundy from France, which could be earthy and almost mushroomy; California pinot, which was focused on fruit but remained true to the Burgundian concept of elegance; and Oregon pinot, which fit somewhere between the two.
The Patricia Green has remained true to that ideal, and is made as it should be, without any foolishness like over extraction, extra oak, and 15 percent alcohol. There is berry fruit, but also herbs and earthiness; in this, it is what one critic has called a benchmark for Oregon pinot noir -- clean and well-crafted, where the grapes and not the winemaker determine what the wine tastes like. Highly recommended.