Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Not-Really-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Wine Post

On the one hand, people have come to expect a list of wines dedicated to Thanksgiving. On the other hand, I think posts dedicated to Thanksgiving wine recommendations have been over-done. And there are problems with wine lists (e.g,. top 10 wines for X, etc.,): people's preferences vary and there's no single wine that goes with Thanksgiving, but rather a range of many wines that would be good fits with typical Thanksgiving fare, e.g., turkey, starchy goodness, etc.

As always I start with premise that wine can be a source of enjoyment and that some of that enjoyment can come from trying wines that they have never tried, e.g., wines made with grapes that they have never tried, produced by a country or region that they have never tried, etc.   Then apply this idea to wines that are available in Tallahassee at the moment that are either legit alternatives to the wines commonly associated with Thanksgiving or just darn good wines in their own right that are off the beaten path!  This is what I've always, the wines featured are all sub-$20.
- 2010 Casillero del Diablo Reserve Pinot Noir (Chile). Strawberries, bing cherries, light-bodied, balanced, simple Pinot Noir.  You'll be hard-pressed to find a Pinot Noir of equal quality for $10.  Pinot Noir is traditionally associated with Thanksgiving...I'm buying more of this stuff.  (Publix, Killearn)
- 2009 Annabella Pinot Noir (Carneros, CA). This is probably the best $15 Napa Pinot Noir in town (New Leaf Market)
- 2009 M. Chapoutier Bila-Haut (Languedoc Roussillon, France). This wine is well-known and much like the Borsao it's a wine that won't disappoint for the price. Medium-full bodied Grenache blend with good secondary elements of earth, leaves, etc. ($12 Wine Warehouse)
- 2009 Borsao Garnacha (Spain). This is a steal at $6.99 (I've seen it listed around $10) although it's a fairly big wine and will need some bold flavors to compliment it. This is a good wine Thanksgiving or no Thanksgiving. (World Market)
-2009 Villa Wolf Riesling (Pfalz, Germany).  Simple, clean, balanced Riesling from a reliable producer year to year.  This is an ideal first-Riesling... can't go wrong with this wine.  ($9 Earth Fare)
- 2010 Dr. Loosen Riesling (Mosel, Germany).  I tried this wine a few weeks ago and was most impressed by its balance, weight and mouth-feel.  Sour with some sweetness to it, so if you have an aversion to sweetness, then avoid... unless you have an open mind and are willing to try something new! ($14 Earth Fare)
- 2010 Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc (Stellenbosch, South Africa). Fantastic, different light white wine with fresh floral, chalk and citrus notes.  This is must-try if you're looking for a great non-traditional white.  ($14 Market Liquor, Lake Ella Plaza)
- 2009 Giachino Vin De Savoie (Jura, France) I already bragged a lot about this nice French white here. ($13 Wine Warehouse)
 - Riondo Prosecco (Italy). I tried this over the weekend at some friends' wedding and enjoyed it, as did the others at my table--so it's not just me! Note to reader: it had a little more sweetness that expected but not enough to diminish its quality. ($10 Costco, $11 Publix Killearn)
- N.V. Jaume Serra Cava Cristalino Brut (Spain).  Much like many of the wines featured here, this Cava is simple but well-made and won't disappoint for the price. ($8 World Market, $10 Publix)  

Dessert Wines & Aperitifs
- Moscato might be the most popular wine at the moment.  They're bubbly, sweet, relatively inexpensive (sub-$20) and fun.  Wine Warehouse carries this pink Moscato for under $10 that is simple and surprisingly good.
- Madeira or Sherries.  Here's a good post I came across recently on dry and cream sherries, their characteristics and foods you might want to try them with.  Sherries and Madeira are under-valued (read: relatively cheap) and so are worth exploring.

Last, it's impossible not to notice that some retail stores are also selling wine-based beverages like ChocoVine, Mulled Wine, wines made from fruits other than grapes--I discovered that Cranberry wine is being pushed this holiday.  These can be enjoyed after over-eating.

I hope one (or more) of these wines helps contribute to a happy Thanksgiving!

p.s. please contact me if you have any questions about any of these wines or any wines not included on this list that you'd like to find in town, e.g., Zinfandel, Cru Beaujolais, Rose, Syrah, etc.  Also if you're not afraid of dropping more than $20/bottle, there are some very good wines available in town--contact me and I'll try to point you in the right direction.


  1. thanks for the post TWG. which ones will we be drinking? ;)

  2. The Chilean PN, one of the Rieslings & probably the Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc.

  3. Thanks for the great post. I love always my bubbly,....