Thanksgiving Wine: A good day for the red, white and bubbly

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Here are some wines to be thankful for.

I have a preference for old-world wines, but there are never any such bottles on our Thanksgiving table. There's a firm policy at our house that the best way to toast such a purely American holiday is with domestic wines.

Selecting wines for Thanksgiving is quite easy. With so many flavors and aromas in the traditional dishes we serve, it is almost impossible to make a poor choice. Red and white are equally appropriate so it is nice to have both. Sparkling wines as an aperitif or to accompany the entire meal add a festive touch and pair nicely with turkey and the side dishes.

In both reds and whites, acidity to cut through the richness of the foods is an important element. I have always considered reisling to be the ideal white grape to serve with turkey. The fruity body and acidic finish seems to lighten the weight normally found in side dishes. For red, it is best to stick to medium-bodied wines such as pinot noirs.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started. Remember that going to a premium wine store will greatly increase your choices. To find one near you, go to post-gazette.com/pg/08329/929817-34.stm.

Bubbles

Woodbridge Robert Mondavi Brut, NV California

PLCB #3281, $10.99

This impressive sparkler is made from 100-percent chardonnay grapes. It tempts the palate with aromas of green apples and pears and ends with a toasty, citrus taste. The bubbles came from the charmat process (second fermentation in vats).

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blanc NV, Napa, California

PLCB #20861, $14.99

Normally $28, this is a Chairman's Selection bargain made entirely from chardonnay grapes using the methode traditionelle or second fermentation in bottle, which is how all sparklers from Champagne are made. With aromas of apple, pear and citrus, it finishes with toasted almonds and a touch of vanilla.

Gruet Brut, NV New Mexico

PLCB #29250, $15.99

This bottle is a combination of chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, which is the same used in brut from Champagne, France. In fact, the Gruet family is from France and makes Champagne there. Their vineyards in New Mexico are a short distance from the Mexican border but this wine tastes more like a France. The bubbles come from the methode traditionelle and the flavors are classic apples and toast.

Whites

Hayman Hill Riesling 2007, Columbia Valley, Washington

PLCB #15905, $7.99

This medium-dry reisling has aromas of apricot and peach layered with honey and minerals on the finish. It is light and elegant with a backbone of acid making it a good and very affordable choice.

St. Supery Virtu White Meritage 2006, Napa, California

PLCB #17972, $9.99

A wine made from 52 percent sauvignon blanc and 48 percent semillon grapes, a classic Bordeaux blanc blend. Normally a white wine this old would be over the hill but the semillon gives the blend longer aging ability. This is a rich, impressive wine and a fine value. With melon, fig, peach and nectarine aromas layered over stones, grass and minerals, it should complement all the dishes on your table. And it finishes with well-balanced acidity.

Rodney Strong Charlottes' Home Sauvignon Blanc, 2009, Sonoma, California

PLCB #9671, $13.99

Rodney Strong is a reliable name for California wines. This 100 percent sauvignon blanc is partially fermented in French oak, giving it more weight in the mouth. The citrus aromas are of grapefruit, lime and lemon with some ripe pear and melon mid-mouth. It has a crisp and lively finish.

Reds

Ventana Pinot Noir 2008, Monterey, California

PLCB #14150, $13.99

Grown in high elevation and cool climate, this pinot noir explodes with aromas of smoky cherries and peat over cassis and spice. Smooth tannins and a long finish make it a perfect match for most any food.

BV Ramal Pinot Noir 2005, Carneros, California

PLCB #13101, $16.99

This is a greatly reduced price for a wine that sells for $28 to $35 elsewhere. With some bottle age, it is an elegant delight. The usual varietal aromas of cherries are evident, joined by pomegranate and toasted bread crumbs. Sure to match up with Thanksgiving vittles.

Boxes

Want to simplify your wine purchases while giving thanks to Mother Earth? You can get premium, artisan wines in a box that will reduce packaging waste by 92 percent while decreasing carbon emissions by 55 percent. So if you are traveling at Thanksgiving to grandmother's house or anywhere else, I suggest that you take a look at some new products that will lighten your load. These 3-liter boxes contain the equivalent of four bottles of above-average-quality wine.

Monthaven Winery Chardonnay 2009, Central Coast, California

PLCB #3266, $17.99

Most of the grapes in this are from Monterey and Paso Robles and make a wine full of flavor, aromas of ripe apples and balanced acidity. This is the style of chardonnay you normally get when ordering wine by the glass in a bar or restaurant.

Boho Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel 2008, California

PLCB #3461, $15.99

The old vines that produce the zinfandel fruit in this wine naturally reduce the yield, resulting in more intense fruit flavors. Here you will find plum jam layered over spice and herbs. There is evidence of time spent in American oak.

Whether you spend Thanksgiving near or far, may you have a blessed holiday.


Elizabeth Downer: edowner@post-gazette.com .


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