Add some sunny California tradition to your Thanksgiving repast this month — it doesn’t get any more traditional than offerings from the oldest winemaking family in the Golden State.
Mirassou Chardonnay and Pinot Noir bring versatility to your wine choices for holiday meals, no matter which entrées grace your table. Fruitful and food-friendly, these wines celebrate the harvest season with a cornucopia of aroma, taste and texture.
Chardonnay is a traditional choice for pairing with poultry. The flavor foundation of apple and oak spice notes complements the harvest bounty we celebrate this season. But don’t overlook the possibilities for red wine in your holiday menu. Pinot Noir, with delicate fruit flavors and medium body, pairs surprisingly well with turkey — especially smoked or grilled bird — as well as hearty vegetables and casseroles. Both varietals complement appetizers and cheese plates when keeping the hungry hordes at bay on Turkey Day. They do a pretty good job of dressing up leftovers, too. Cover all the bases and serve both at your feast.
Mirassou Chardonnay smells delightful from the moment it’s uncorked. The intense fruity aroma leads to layers of apple, peach and pineapple flavor with a creamy undertone. Vanilla and toasted oak spice wrap up the flavorful bounty on the satisfying finish.
Mirassou Pinot Noir opens with jammy aromas of cherries and strawberries. The delicate flavor carries a taste of ripe cherries and plums for a smooth sip and long finish. Upon tasting it, a friend declared it “a jolly wine.”
What a great way to usher in the holiday season.
The family that founded Mirassou Winery has been making wine longer than any other family in California. For six generations, the descendants of Pierre and Henrietta Pellier have tended to their craft in the sun-splashed hills of northern and central California.
The Pelliers sailed from France to California in 1854, Pierre carefully carrying prized grape cuttings. When water ran short on the ship, Pellier purchased potatoes onboard and inserted his cuttings into the spuds to keep the vines alive. The couple settled in Santa Clara County, an area better known in this century as Silicon Valley. Daughter Henrietta married the boy next-door, French vintner Pierre Mirassou, and a dynasty was born.
Mirassou innovations in the wine industry include introducing Pinot Noir grapes to California and the technique of field-crushing grapes to prevent spoilage. As urbanization encroached upon Santa Clara agriculture, fourth-generation vintner Edmund Mirassou moved the operation to Monterey County in the first wave of Central Coast winemakers. Today, sixth-generation member David Mirassou continues the family tradition, working with new owners EJ Gallo in marketing Mirassou wines.
The winery, he notes, currently produces wines that are less oaky while still reflecting his family’s original wine philosophy. All eight varietals and a red blend are available in Columbia, easily recognized by their iconic sun label.
“The Mirassou name can be hard to remember,” he says, “but our label is easy on the eyes — just look for the sun!”