It’s Thanksgiving: What wines should you buy?

19 11 2011

Hello!  Today we are going to get right to the point.  For Thanksgiving, here is what I recommend:

1.  Do not buy “Beaujolais Nouveau,” no matter how much your wine store pushes it.  It is light, boring, and basically worthless.  Ha!  THAT should generate some friendly comments.  Just to put the cherry on top of my popularity profile, you should also avoid California chardonnay at Thanksgiving.  Its flavors are non-complimentary and too dominating.  For turkey, cranberries and stuffing, the next 3 wines are where you want to be.

2.  Zinfandel.  This is THE All-American grape, and yes, it goes very well with turkey.  For a very friendly, sweeter version of this very Thanksgiving-ish red wine, buy 99 Vines for $10.   Try 1 bottle first, and make sure you like it.  For $10 it’s a great value, but it may not be for everybody.

For a more serious, kickass zin, acquire Oak Ridge ancient vine zinfandel, just $12 at Total Wine.  This wine is very dark purple, oaky, spicy, with some sweetness way in the background, and basically acts like a wine that costs almost twice as much.  For a better, more well-known name, buy Ridge “Three Valleys” zin, for $20.  Yes, the Ridge “Three Valleys” is superior, but is it 67% better than Oak Ridge?  No.  For a serious knockout punch, you can buy any zin by Ridge in the $30-and-up range.

3. Pinot Noir.  Buy a bottle of La Crema pinot, the “Monterey” version.  I reviewed it here.  More light on its feet than a zinfandel.  It’s $20.  If that’s more than you are used to spending:  just trust me.  This wine is lovely, spicy, and tastes very organic.  It adds a LOT to any Thanksgiving dinner.  In my opinion, more important than the zinfandel.

For a bolder, also-excellent pinot, buy Hahn SLH Estate pinot noir from Santa Lucia Highlands, which I reviewed here.  It’s around $25, and again, worth every penny.

4. Sparkling pink stuff.  If you want your Thanksgiving table to say “FUN!” loud and clear, add a bottle of Martini & Rossi sparkling wine from Italy, reviewed here.  On the back, it says “Rosé.”  To you and me, it’s pink champagne.  And it’s good.  Only $15.  Definitely not bone-dry, this one’s a crowd pleaser.  Don’t bother with snooty impressive champagnes up to $50, because they are mostly terrible.

So, I am recommending 2 reds, and a sparkling rosé if you want a high fun factor.

If you want a white wine, I recommend the super-friendly David Hill “Farmhouse White” blend from Oregon.  Around $11.  Floral and tropical, this is a brilliant blend of mild sweetness with crisp tartness and acidity.  You don’t want your white wine to steal the show at Thanksgiving, and this won’t.

Have a wonderful holiday!

ridge zinfandel99 vines zinfandeloak ridge zinDavid Hill Farmhouse White





La Crema Monterey pinot noir review: YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION

19 05 2011

Today we look at a 2009 pinot noir from California’s Monterey region that costs around $20.

STOP EVERYTHING – this is to announce that Monterey pinot noirs have overtaken the universe and must be bought!! — ahem, I mean, if you’re looking for pinot, and you want to spend $15 – $20.  Here’s the deal — Oregon pinot is supposed to be so great.  Well, at the $20 price level, Monterey pinot is now COMPLETELY OUTPERFORMING, NAY, EMBARRASSING, Oregon pinot.  That’s saying a lot, because Oregon pinot is my favorite thing to drink in the whole world.  To be specific, La Crema Monterey for $20 is **Far Superior** to these $20-ish Oregon pinots:

  • Erath
  • Cloudline
  • Kudos Reserve
  • A to Z
  • Acrobat
  • Big Fire

La Crema Monterey smells bright, with aromas of spicy raspberry and medium-bodied flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, red cherries, a little rhubarb and vanilla, and a slight “farm fresh” mushroomy earth.  YUMYUMYUMYUM.  This Monterey pinot noir is:

La Crema Monterey pinot noir review

Highly recommended.