For Head and Heart

For those who fall in love primarily with their heads, Pinot Noir is adored as the universal food pairing because it has attributes of both a red and a white wine. How is that possible? Pinor Noir is thin-skinned, so there’s none of the thick, jammy chewiness you find in many red wines. For those who lead with their hearts, Pinot Noir is swooned over for its ethereal qualities: Its various guises some light, mineral, and musical; others thunderous and cherry deep. Whether you’re purely analytical or deeply romantic, it’s impossible not to recognize that this is the season for Pinot Noir, which goes with everything on the holiday table from turkey to salmon to crown roast of pork. Here are some of the best, in every guise and at every price point.
 

Cono Sur Pinot Noir, Chile, 2008 ($10)

Evenly fruity, frostily mineral, with nice crisp plum notes, this Chilean wine is a fantastic buy-by-the-case pick for parties, and is the rare wine that pleases wine snobs and wine novices alike. Available: Zipps Liquors, 2618 E. Franklin Ave., Mpls., 612-333-8686
 

Talbott Kali Hart Pinot Noir, 2007 ($23)

Monterey County’s Talbott Vineyards makes some very fine wines, but their least-expensive entry-level Pinot is quite good: Mocha and cherry, cola and smoke, it’s got nice fruit and a surprising amount of depth, too. Available: Surdyk’s, 303 E. Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-379-3232
 

Domaine Monthelie-Douhairet-Porcheret, Clos du Meix Garnier, Monthelie, 2003 ($35)

Real French Burgundy is among the world’s most expensive wines, but this is from a lesser known area of Burgundy called Monthelie, so a knowing wine drinker can catch a price break. There’s light raspberry, threaded through with spicy and brambly notes, as well as unexpected vanilla and a distinct Burgundian funkiness. Available: Solo Vino, 517 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-602-9515
 

Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Willamette Valley, 2006 ($64)

Domaine Serene, whose owners hail from Minnesota, aims to be one of the world’s best Pinot Noir producers. Wines like this one prove they’re well on their way. A well-knit braid of raspberry, cherry, cinnamon and spice, this is perfect for the table, enhancing everything from dried cranberries in stuffing to cedar-plank salmon. Available: Haskell’s, call for availability, 612-333-2434

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