At work last week, all the ice-breaking conversations before meetings revolved around Thanksgiving. Who was traveling; who was hosting; the usual conversations that accompany the holiday season. I’m not exactly sure how Thanksgiving snuck up on me this year, but it did, and questions about Thanksgiving plans drove home the fact that I’m completely unprepared. Hubby and I only have to do an hour-or-so drive to my in-laws on Thanksgiving Day, so my lack of preparation isn’t too concerning for me…except for when it comes to the wine selection. Not only have I started getting questions from friends and readers about wine recommendations, but I will need to bring a bottle or two to my in-laws. In the past, that wouldn’t have been a big deal because I was the only wine drinker at the table, so I would just pick out a wine that I love. This year, though, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law both started drinking wine, so there is the added (unintentional) pressure to bring something that everyone is going to think is fabulous. For me, it will probably be a beautiful Pinot Noir or a big Zinfandel, but for them, I will need to bring a bright white.
With that in mind, today’s list will be my Top 5 Red recommendations, while tomorrow will be my Top 5 White & Rose recommendations. (I didn’t post a Thanksgiving list last year, but here are my 2011 red wine and white wine recommendations)
The 2009 Lost Canyon Morelli Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir (winery, amazon) is slightly heavy for a Pinot Noir, but it has a beautiful complexity that will be delicious with well-seasoned turkey. The wine has strawberries, rhubarb, and red licorice flavors mixed with hints of cedar, mushroom, earth, and allspice. I gave this wine 4.5 corks and received it as a sample, but the suggested retail price is $45.
The 2011 Alphabets Pinot Noir (winery) was actually my red wine choice for the post-Thanksgiving dinner Hubby and I did for ourselves last year. The wine tasted of Bing cherries, cranberries, and red currants with hints of white pepper, smoke, and cinnamon mixed in. It not only went well with the turkey, which was seasoned with white truffle oil and garlic, but stood up to the variety of side dishes that we had. Honestly, I couldn’t get over how delicious the wine was and how well it went with our Thanksgiving feast. I gave the wine 4.5 corks and received it as a sample, but the suggested retail price is $21.
The 2010 Guillermo Painted Wolf (winery) is a delicious wine full of blueberries, cherries, tobacco, and the slightest hint of vanilla and Band-Aids. It has a medium body and medium tannins, which will keep it from over-powering the Thanksgiving meal. Plus, this wine will be great to transition away from the table and into an evening of schmoozing. I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $19. (I will have a full review posted later this week)
The 2008 Ottimino Rancho Bello Vineyard (winery) is a bigger wine that will give some depth to the Thanksgiving dinner. The beautiful mixture of berry and cooking spice characteristics will bring out some of the deeper flavors while your eating, as well as transition nicely into a wine that you can drink on its own once the meal is over. I gave the wine 4.5 corks and received it as a sample, but the suggested retail price is $30.
Question of the Day: Have you picked out your Thanksgiving wines yet?