Wines for Thanksgiving

It's almost Thanksgiving eve, and you're probably putting together your menu.  And if you're not...get on it!  And no matter what you're having, you'll need some wines to go with the big meal. Vouvray/Chenin Blanc:  This is among the best wines in the world for Turkey.  Vouvrays are Chenin Blanc-based wines from France, and come in a variety of styles, from dry to off-dry, semi-sweet and sweet.  South Africa makes great Chenin Blancs, too: try Raats Family, Indaba or Cederberg.  And Napa's Pine Ridge makes a wonderful mixture of Chenin Blanc and Viognier that I recommend highly.Rose:  If you're having ham by any chance, try pairing it with Mulderbosch Rose, from South Africa, made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. And if…

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Wine of the Week: Banfi Chianti Superiore DOCG 2012

This Chianti, mostly from the Sangiovese grape, is a classified wine, and the DOCG means Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita.  That ought to mean something but it doesn't mean all that much. Still, this is a very nice bottle of wine, especially for 11 bucks, which is about what you'll pay of for it in most wine stores, though you can find it in places for as little as $9.  A great value either way. A nice ruby red color, this is a medium-bodied, easy-drinking wine that won't bowl you over.  But it's got some tannin for structure, a little leathery, and fresh black cherry and plum flavors. What I noticed above everything else is that it's nicely acidic…

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Wine of the Week: Avante Mencia 2009

Spain grows great wines—Grenache and Carignane from Priorat, Tempranillo from Rioja and Ribero del Duero, and Albarino from Rias Biaxas to name a few. But Mencia is a grape you've probably never tasted and maybe never even heard of.  This 100% Mencia is from the large Castilla y Leon region, but you can find other excellent ones from the Bierzo, Ribeira Sacra and Valdeorras Denominación de Origen appellations. Aroma of violets and flavors of black cherry and black raspberry; a little smoky and peppery, fresh, bright and crisp, with a long finish.  There's tannin there, but this is a fruit wine with just enough oak influence. Although the Mencia grape is native to Spain, and Mencia wines have been around a…

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Wine of the Week: Covey Run Gewürztraminer 2010

This off-dry, which naturally means slightly sweet, white wine is the perfect pairing for spicy food and Asian food. And of course spicy Asian food (not all of it is).  It goes great with Indian and Thai food, and lo and behold, they're Asian. It's pronounced "guh-vertz-trah-meen-er" by the way. It's got enough acidity to balance the sweetness, despite being known as a grape that lacks acidity.  It's got honey, melon, and pear flavors and a really lovely floral nose.  Two glasses made an OK meal at P.F. Chang into an absolutely wonderful lunch.  Need I say more? Covey Run is in Washington State's Columbia Valley, but there are many excellent wines (Trimbach, and Hugel & Fils to name two)…

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Wine of the Week: Finca Os Cobatos Godello 2010

Spanish whites seem to be so often defined by Albarino, which admittedly makes a wonderful wine, especially those from Rias Baixas in Galicia in northwestern Spain. But the Godello grape-and this "other" Spanish wine is 100% Godello-delivers up something completely different and something you should try, especially now that warmer weather is here. This one has a very pale straw color but don't mistake it for a wine with no character. It has a really lovely floral aroma, with real body, and lots of lime flavors and maybe some pineapple with strong mineral notes.  Crisp and refreshing.  Some compare it to a Sauvignon Blanc but I think the difference is striking. It's also a great value, depending on where you…

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Wine of the Week: Agricola Punica “Barrua” Isola dei Nuraghi IGT 2007

And now for something completely different. This wine is from Sardinia, an Italian island, and it’s based on the Carignano (Carignane) grape, one you might have never tasted, with a few percent of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. A very deep violet color, it’s matched by a depth in richness-with blackberry, leather and lots of spice, mouthfilling but not overwhelming tannin with enough acid to keep you refreshed and a very long finish. Opulent is the only way to describe this wine. Unlike most of my selections, unfortunately this one isn’t cheap, and you’ll have to spend between $30 and $50 at a good wine store (yes, the range can be that wide). But it’s worth it to try this outstanding…

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Bargain Wine of the Week: Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rose 2010

I know that Spring isn't here yet, and spring is the traditional time to drink Rose. But you don't have to wait for spring to stock up on--or even drink--this incredible and remarkably inexpensive wine. And here in New Jersey, it's like spring anyway. From South Africa, this is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, and I don't know another Rose made from 100% Cab. It's dry but mouth-filling with a fruit bomb of red cherries, strawberries and pomegranates. This is not a wimpy Rose - it's a relatively big wine, and it'll stand up to a lot of food. You can find this wine at about $9-11.         

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Bargain Wine of the Week: La Vieille Ferme Cotes du Luberon Blanc 2010

It's time for a white Wine of the Week. And this one's an amazing value. From the Rhone region of France, this wine (the name means "the old farm") has got White Grenache, Bourboulenc, Ugni Blanci, and Roussanne, and delivers flavors of green apple, lemon, and pear; nice and zesty but with enough backbone from the Grenache to give it some body.  This is great wine when you've got a lot of people to serve and don't want to break the bank, and want to give 'em something other than some run-of-the-mill Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. You can find this wine at about $6-8.  Really. Get some.

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Wine of the Week: Concha Y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Carmenere 2007

OK, the names seem to be getting even longer.  Sorry. But do try this 90% Carmenere / 10% Cabernet, the debut vintage of the line, which I tasted with the winemaker in 2009 shortly after its release.  Even then it was already drinkable, and it's only gotten better: a deep purple, rich, blackberry and plum treat, well balanced, with ripe, chewy tannin and a wonderful finish. You can find this wine at about $18-21.  It's a little above the range of wines I typically recommend, but worthy every penny. And the 2008 and 2009 are also outstanding if you can't lay your hands on an '07.

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Wine of the Week: Argiano Non Confunditur 2009

In this wine, Italy does meet France. Argiano is an Italian winemaker with 120 acres of vines in Montalcino, Tuscany, and also produces a Bordeaux-style wine entirely from French grapes, in addition to three 100% Sangiovese wines. This is a full-bodied, very satisfying wine that a bunch of work colleagues and I enjoyed the other night at Eno Terra in Princeton.  Forty percent Cab, and twenty percent each Sangiovese, Merlot and Syrah, this is one of the most interesting blends I've ever tasted.  Nice blackfruit, a touch of spice, noticeable but not overwhelming tannin and a really nice, long finish, this is a great wine with food or just by itself on a cold, winter night.  Like we're having here…

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