Holiday season has arrived, and for many it’s time to think about what wine to serve with Thanksgiving dinner. Here’s some suggestions that could be big hits with your holiday guests.
2009 and 2010 are very good years for Bordeaux. Any of the 2009 petit chateaux wines I reviewed last year would be an economical and popular choice in either vintage. I also recently enjoyed a Chateau de Pitray 2009 Bordeaux from the Cotes de Castillon region. This wine has a big, delicious nose and lush, red fruit. The tannins are easy, with hints of earth, black licorice and some oak on the finish. This is a great bargain for $14 at Calvert-Woodley in Washington.
Nick Stephens, author of the UK blog Bordeaux Undiscovered dropped me a comment to say he’s very big on the Cotes de Castillon appelation. Based on the Castillon wines I’ve had, I think he’s right. This appellation is right next to the much better known St. Emilion and Pomerol, with similar soil and Merlot led blends.
Maybe you’re looking for an Italian wine theme for Thanksgiving. If so a Ripasso that could be nice change and a crowd pleaser. The 2009 La Giaretta Ripasso is light bodied, with nice cherry fruit and a bit of a raisin twinge. There is a bit of ash on the smooth finish. The Degani Cicilio Valpolicella Ripasso is similar in style and also very enjoyable. These wines should retail for $20 or less.
For some only American wines will do for such an American holiday. Pinot Noir could be a great call. A top flight Pinot Noir for your table would be the 2008 VML Pinot Noir, Boudreaux Vineyards. VML was one of the favorite discoveries my wife and I made last year during our trip to Sonoma.
The Boudreaux is a big Pinot Noir in the newer California style that can stand up to any gravy. It has strong raspberry/blueberry fruit and a very nice feel on the palate. The wine retails for around $45 but will be a big hit with guests.
A consistent crowd pleaser at a lower price point would be the 2012 Meiomi Pinot Noir from Belle Glos. This is a delicious, fruit forward Pinot sure to please and is incredibly consistent year to year. It is broadly distributed and can be found for less than $20. The 2010 Gundlach Bundschu Pinot Noir is also an excellent candidate for a few dollars more.
A final suggestion is Zinfandel, which is a quintessentially American grape. Ravenswood makes some really nice single vineyard Zinfandels which can be hard to find out east. If you can find it, one of our favorites is the 2010 Old Hill Zinfandel. This wine is big but smooth, fruit forward but not over the top, more red fruit than black with a nice lingering finish. It’s worth a splurge at $60.
A more economical option would be the 2011 Armida Poizon Zinfandel. From the Dry Creek region of California, this is a delicious wine with a smooth, almost creamy texture on the palate. It can be found in many local stores for around $25.
Any of these wines could have your guests doing a double take at the label this Thanksgiving. Enjoy your holiday!
Read Parente’s previous Wine & Dine Column: Hits and Misses of a Wine Manifesto on WashingtonExec.
Christopher Parente is managing director and partner of Strategic Communications Group, a social media and public relations consultancy based in Silver Spring, Md. and Tysons Corner, Va. He also publishes Work, Wine and Wheels, a top 100K web site in the United States as measured by Alexa, an online measurement company. You can follow Chris on LinkedIn or Twitter.