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It's Willamette, Dammit!

This week, Oregon's Willamette Valley is the star, and we have chosen four wines that we think will shine with the imminent Thanksgiving feast. 

Day Wines 'Vin de Days' 2017 From organic and biodynamic vineyards, a blend of 38% Pinot Blanc, 20% Muller Thurgau, 19% Riesling, 18% Pinot Gris and 5% Muscat, one might compare this wine to the Edelzwicker style of Alsace but you wouldn't find Muller Thurgau in Alsace and this fresh darling really speaks of its own origins, the Willamette Valley. Fruity and spicy on the nose, with hints of fresh flowers, citrus and stone fruits are prominent on the palate but there is a beautiful savory side reminiscent of crusty bread and mushrooms, as well as surprising texture for a wine that is so refreshing. This is the kind of wine you bring to Thanksgiving because it'll go with everything on the table. Belle Pente Pinot Gris 2014 A lot of Pinot Gris is fairly neutral, but not Belle Pente's. Inspired by the rich and spicy styles of Alsace, Belle Pente takes Pinot Gris quite seriously and releases theirs later than most (maybe the latest, hard to confirm this). The 2014 vintage is the first that their Pinot Gris is 100% estate grown fruit, specifically from their Belle Pente and Rivenwood vineyards, both located in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, both . Half of the wine was aged in wood (foudre and old neutral barrels) and half in stainless steel. The result is superb. Notes of apples, pears, stone fruits, smoke and spice combine for a classic profile that could easily be mistaken for a top cru in Alsace. This is for the turkey, especially dark meat, but it will go well with a wide variety of savory dishes.  Evesham Wood Pinot Noir 2017 Really showing off why Oregon is different from California, Evesham Wood's style emphasizes the effects of Willamette Valley's cooler climate. Juicy and earthy at once, this wine has complexity beyond what one might expect from a winery's entry-level bottling. Aged exclusively in old neutral barrels, one does not get any of the glossy vanilla and spice flavors of new oak, and this bodes well for its versatility at the table. Lots of berry flavors and subtle herbs and woodsy spice combine beautifully on the nose, while the palate grips gently with fine tannins and lively acids. Finishing with a focus on fruit, there is a delightful interplay of tart and sweet flavors. This would be a classic choice for Thanksgiving.

St. Innocent Pinot Noir 'Momtazi Vineyard' 2014 Biodynamic farming is becoming more and more popular in vineyards all over the world, but it was far from a major trend when the Momtazi family began to plant their vines in 1997. From the very beginning they employed biodynamic practices and by 2007 they became certified biodynamic. St. Innocent's Pinot Noir from the Momtazi vineyard is regularly one of the most interesting and distinctive wines in their range, typically exhibiting a wild character, quite reminiscent of the aromas stirred up by a walk in the woods off the beaten path: dried leaves, pine needles, damp earth, mushrooms... As one should expect from a young Pinot Noir, this wine is has a pure fruit character at its core, the perfect juxtaposition to its prominent earthy side. It is aged entirely in French oak (18% new) and the subtle sweet spice of barrels adds a delectable nuance, appearing here and there as fruit and earth take center stage. It's hard to ask for more from a wine, this stuff is simply fabulous! More for meat and mushrooms than veggies or anything with sweetness, it will be a wine to linger with between seconds (or thirds... fourths?) and dessert.

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