Chuck Hill on Wines and Wine Country with links
  Main menu bar for Wines Northwest


By Chuck Hill

Chuck Hill, wine reviewer and columnist

About Chuck



Follow Chuck on Twitter


(In the order of their
publication dates)

Bordeaux Buddies
A 3-Part Series
Published Sep & Oct 2017

White Wines for Seafoods
A 4-Part Series
Published Aug & Sep 2017

Pinot Noir and
Copper River Salmon

A 4-Part Series
Published Jun & Jul 2017

Red Rhone Varietals
and Blends

A 3-Part Series
Published May & Jun, 2017

Versatile Chardonnay
A 4-Part Series
Published Mar & Apr, 2017

Italy Comes to America
A 4-Part Series
Jan 23 - Mar 4, 2017

Cabernet Sauvignon
& Blends

A 4-Part Series
Published Dec 2016


Wines of the Week
...Index to Archive


Archived Selection
of Wine Reviews

Organized by varietal





Wines for Thanksgiving
By Chuck Hill 

Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to try wine pairings with a wide variety of foods. I try to include an off dry Germanic white like Gewürztraminer or Riesling, a dry white like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris, and a choice of a red – either Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon. A sparkling wine is always festive as an aperitif. 

All of the wines I am suggesting are currently available. The more expensive selections might need a little looking – online or in person – and the artsy gift box from Argyle comes from the winery itself.   

If you are out on the Thanksgiving wine-touring trail (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), enjoy the festivities and bring along a designated driver! These celebrations are a wine country tradition in both Washington and Oregon. Cheers! 

Domaine Ste. Michelle

This Chardonnay-based cuvee is produced by the methode champenoise at the winery in Eastern Washington. My household often enjoys bubbles with meals and celebrations, and this is a super value to fit that frequent need. Also available at the same price point are a Brut Rosé and an Extra Dry cuvee. 

Argyle Winery
2014 Art of Sparkling Brut

If you’re visiting the Willamette Valley wine country over the Thanksgiving weekend, you can pick up this three-bottle gift set of Argyle 2014 vintage brut featuring art labels by students from Pacific Northwest College of Art. (Benefits the Argyle scholarship program.) Argyle sparkling wines by the bottle are widely available in wine retail locations starting at about $30.

Elk Cove Vineyards
2016 Pinot Gris
Willamette Valley AVA

This historic winery near the foothills of Oregon’s Coast Range is a great spot to visit on your Thanksgiving weekend wine tour. Elk Cove winemaker Adam Campbell has always had a deft touch with Pinot Gris, and this highly rated vintage offers Asian pear, honeydew melon, lemon thyme, ginger and tangy apple.


Ponzi Vineyards
2016 Pinot Blanc
Willamette Valley AVA


This oft-overlooked variety is a perfect wine for the Thanksgiving table. It has some of the bracing qualities of Sauvignon Blanc with the corners rounded off like a Pinot Gris. Floral aromas of honeysuckle and gardenia mingle with peach and vanilla, leading to rich flavors of melon, tropical fruits and citrus on the palate. 

Chateau Ste. Michelle
2016 Sauvignon Blanc
Horse Heaven Vineyard AVA

When winemaker Bob Berthau described this wine as having a crisp, racy style, he had me ready to buy! Very dry and featuring citrus, cut grass and white peach, it is a superb Thanksgiving wine and is a bright and tasty palate cleanser between bites! 


A to Z Wineworks
2016 Riesling

This ever-popular Riesling is made from grapes grown in the Rogue and Applegate Valley sub AVAs of Southern Oregon. The package is an enchanting image of apple blossoms, simulating hand painting with a friendly bee at work pollinating. A portion of each sale goes to supporting bee-health research. Honeysuckle, citrus zest and orchard blossom intrigue the nose and invite a taste of apricot, apple and mineral with a hint of sweetness.  



2015 INOX Chardonnay
Willamette Valley AVA

Chehalem Winery produced its first INOX (stainless steel in French wine parlance) Chardonnay in 2002 and found an eager and appreciative audience. Today, the wine is made entirely from estate-grown fruit and cool fermented in stainless steel to produce a crisp wine offering green apple, citrus zest, ginger and mineral – vanilla and caramel can’t be there, can they? – but they appear in one’s mind. Incroyable! 

Cakebread Cellars
2014 Chardonnay Reserve
Carneros, Napa Valley

Chardonnay lovers will enjoy this edition of Cakebread’s wildly popular Reserve Chardonnay. Moving away from the over-the-top oak and butter behemoths that made the style famous, this wine is now understated, elegant and – most of all – well balanced. A fine wine for pairing with Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll enjoy apple, citrus and melon with accents of crème Brule and flinty mineral. 

2016 Sangiovese Rosé
Columbia Valley AVA

Sangiovese Rosé has become a hugely popular wine in the Northwest. It’s a great pairing with turkey and all the fixins! Waterbrook’s bright version from 2016 offers aromas and flavors of strawberry, cranberry and a hint of honeydew melon. The finish adds crisp acidity and a soft, velvety kiss of tannin. 

2015 Pinot Noir

Acrobat wines from King Estate were created to offer “an honest wine (to have) with our casual meals and gatherings.” The wines have the sensible and convenient screw cap closure and truly offer a premium wine experience without further aging. This Pinot Noir shows ripe cherry and strawberry with notes of baking spices, vanilla and cocoa. 

Panther Creek
2014 Pinot Noir, Lazy River Vineyard

This wine placed first in a flight of premium Pinot Noirs during my springtime Pinot and Salmon tastings. I heartily recommend it for the red wine lovers at your Thanksgiving table for its rich and complex flavor and character. One caveat: aerate the wine by pouring into a decanter for service, it will open up and give you the full measure of its very high quality. 


Pepper Bridge
2014 Merlot, Estate
Walla Walla Valley AVA


Sourced from three of Walla Walla’s most famous vineyards - Seven Hills, Pepper Bridge and Octave, this Merlot delivers great fruit and great character to enjoy with your finest meals. The region’s trademark plum and blueberry are on show with a supporting cast of barrel spice, dusty sage, dark chocolate and velvety tannins on the finish. 

DeLille Cellars
2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Four Flags
Red Mountain AVA

Grapes for this wine came from four different vineyards on Red Mountain: Grand Ciel, Upchurch, Ciel du Cheval and Klipsun. Aromas and flavors of currant, black raspberry and black cherry mingle with toasted spice, dried herbs and graphite – pure and succulent. Decant with aeration the morning of Thanksgiving dinner to help the wine open up and really show its stuff.


#        #        #

To find contact information for most of the wineries in the above text,
visit our alphabetical lists for Northwest States.

Last Week's Reviews

One-year Archive of previous Wines of the Week reviews

Contact Chuck

Back to Chuck's Main Page

©  November, 2017  Chuck Hill
All rights reserved.  Last revised: 11/07/2017