19 Thanksgiving Wine Recs for 2018 + Tasting 3 of Them

Hi everyone…and Happy #WineWednesday! Today, I’m sharing 19 different sparkling, white, rosé, and red wine recommendations for your Thanksgiving feast, while tasting 3 of those recommendations with you. The prices range from $10-$100+, so there should be something for everyone to love. Have a wonderful holiday…cheers!

Websites & other videos mention mentioned in video:

Wines mentioned in the video:

🍷2017 El Terrano Verdejo from Whole Foods — $12
🍷2017 Casillero Del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc — $10
🍷2014 Clarksburg Wine Company Chenin Blanc — $18
🍷2017 Matua Pinot Noir Rosé — $13
🍷2015 Vasco Urbano Norm Grenache — $42
🍷Penner Ash Wine Cellars Pinot Noir — $50-$75
🍷Sokol Blosser — $40-$70
🍷Beaujolais Nouveau — $10-15 (my video reviewing 3 different 2018 bottles can be found here)
🍷Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais — $18
🍷2017 Meomi Pinot Noir — $20
🍷Storybook Mountain Vineyards Zinfandel
🍷Turley Wine Cellars Zinfandel 
🍷Turley Wine Cellars Juvenile Zinfandel — $38
🍷Cameron Hughes Lot 636 Lodi Zinfandel — $13
🍷Cameron Hughes Lot 630 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel — $15
🍷Kunde Family Winery Zinfandel — $22
🍷Segura Viudas Cava —$9
🍷Gruet Blanc de Noirs — $17
🍷Albinea Canali Lambrusco “FB” Metodo Ancestrale 

Questions of the Day:

  1.  What did you end up drinking for Thanksgiving (since it’s likely that you won’t have a chance to comment until after the holiday)?
  2. Do you have other suggestions that I may have missed?

Going with a Goldwater

*** I received this wine as a sample. ***

Stelvin closure for a 2011 Goldwater Sauvignon BlancThis week was an interesting one for me, as I went back to work part-time…crutches and all.  The Boss has been wonderful about the whole surgery situation.  He’s more concerned about my healing properly than about my pushing too hard.  This past Wednesday was a perfect example.  I had planned to be in the office for half days all this week.  However, after two days of being up and around, my leg was pretty swollen and my hip was begging for a day of lying on the bed with some extra rest and ice.  Not to mention that I’ve also started going to physical therapy twice a week, and even though my sessions are scheduled for an hour, they usually take closer to an hour and a half.  So, combine the increased daily activity with rehab exercises and a significant scaling back of the pain medication and I was feeling it.  I emailed The Boss on Wednesday morning to ask if it was ok for me to work from home, as that is not something that is automatically allowed in my office.  He responded with an “absolutely” almost immediately.

My at-home workday was full of reading for my current project, emails, and phone calls, which was just my speed.  Admittedly, I did take a little time during lunch to walk around the block in our neighborhood, as the unseasonable 90-degree weather in April and all the cherry blossoms in bloom were too much to resist, but otherwise, I took it easy.  By the time Hubby walked in the door, I was shutting down for the evening and ready for a cool, crisp summer white wine.

2011 Goldwater Sauvignon BlancThe 2011 Goldwater Sauvignon Blanc (winery, amazon) is made with 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes from Wairau Valley of Marlborough, New Zealand.  The wine had a very pale golden-yellow color.  On the nose, there were gooseberries and passion fruit, with hints of white pepper, green bell peppers, and honeydew melon.  In the mouth, there were gooseberries and green bell peppers mixed with hints of passion fruit, white pepper, and ginger.  The wine had a light body and crisp, bright acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At an SRP of $18, this NZ Sauvignon Blanc offers a little something different, while still holding true to the gorgeous freshness that so often is found in New Zealand versions.  The complexity is perfect for lingering over a glass on a 90+ degree summer day.  But, don’t let that stop you from pairing it with food.  The wine is goes just as well with a lighter summer meal like the seared tuna steak salad Hubby made for dinner.  So, all in all, this was a good white wine on a day where I needed to be off my feet and relax, particularly in the hot April weather.

Question of the Day:  What was your weather like this past week?  Did you go for a seasonal wine change?

Suggested Retail Price: $18
Received as a sample.
Overall: 4 Corks

WBC11: White & Rosé Wine Speed Dating…I Mean Speed Tasting

The big joke at the Wine Bloggers’ Conferences is to describe the live blogging wine tasting event as “speed dating” with wine.  Each conference attendee sits at a table, and everyone at each table will taste 20 wines over an hour period.  During that hour, a wine representative (usually the winemaker) has 5 minutes to talk about their wine, while conference attendees ask questions, taste the wine, and take notes before the representative moves on to the next table and a new representative comes arrives to start the process all over again.

White Wine Speed Tasting Kick-off.

White Wine Speed Tasting Kick-off.

The comparison to speed dating is perfect because 5 minutes is just enough time for a quick introduction and a little flirting before being able to make a decision as to whether or not there was enough interest for a follow-up.  At the same time, just like in speed dating, that 5 minutes isn’t enough time to learn everything or to really get a detailed impression.  That all said, I do hope that there is at least one major difference between speed dating and speed tasting—that most people aren’t tweeting during their speed dates!

I really enjoyed the speed tasting.   Unlike the WBC09, this year, the tastings were split into a white speed tasting and a red speed tasting, which meant that there weren’t any reds following whites.  This was definitely a welcome change.  I have to admit, though, that I was overall unimpressed with the white wine speed tasting.  There weren’t any major duds, but none of the white wines blew me away either.  I felt like I spent the hour tasting a lot of average or slightly above average wines, all of which I might have picked up from the store and experimented with myself.  It was a little disappointing.

2009 Decibel Sauvignon Blanc

2009 Decibel Sauvignon Blanc

2009 Decibel Sauvignon Blanc (SRP $16, winery)
Wine from New Zealand
Tart, flavorful, and creamy…not what I’ve come to expect from a NZ Sauv Blanc, but absolutely gorgeous.  For the price, this is definitely a wine to be on the lookout for.
4 corks

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs (SRP $20, winery, @GloriaFerrer)
Wine from California
Nice light salmon color and good bubbles.  Berries and limes with hint of white pepper and bright acidity.
4 corks

Shindig White

Shindig White

Shindig White (SRP $16, winery, @Vino50Wines)
Wine from New York
This Vidal Blanc-Riesling blend is “The ultimate sushi wine.”  It has a lime-like acid and stone fruits…really nice.
4 corks

2010 Veritas Sauvignon Blanc Reserve

2010 Veritas Sauvignon Blanc Reserve

2010 Veritas Sauvignon Blanc Reserve (SRP $25, winery, @VeritasWinery)
Hints of cucumbers and green peppers give crisp, clean feel. Citrusy…mostly grapefruits and limes.
4 corks

2008 Rodney Strong Reserve Chardonnay

2008 Rodney Strong Reserve Chardonnay

2008 Rodney Strong Reserve Chardonnay (SRP $40, winery, @RSVineyards)
Wine from California
Peaches, hazelnut, and cream on the nose. Peaches & cream mixed with wet stone and apricots in the mouth.  Smooth, but a little hot.  Nice, but I wouldn’t pay $40 for it.
4 corks

2009 King Estate Domain Pinot Gris

2009 King Estate Domain Pinot Gris

2009 King Estate Domain Pinot Gris (SRP $25, winery, @KingEstate)
Wine from Oregon
Certified organic
Subtle, good acid, nice balance.  Granny smith apples & Asian pears with a touch of peaches and cream.
3.5 corks

2010 Barren Ridge Vidal Blanc

2010 Barren Ridge Vidal Blanc

2010 Barren Ridge Vidal Blanc (SRP $15, winery, @BarrenRidge)
Wine from Virginia
Almost clear in color.  Super ripe yellow peaches on the nose, but nice peach and pear balance in the mouth.
3.5 corks

2010 Rappahannock Cellars Vigonier

2010 Rappahannock Cellars Vigonier

2010 Rappahannock Cellars Vigonier (SRP $23, winery, @RCellars)
Wine from Virginia
Ginger, stone fruits, pineapple…YUM!  Surprisingly high alcohol content (14.5%, but good balance)
3.5 corks

2010 Artesa Chardonnay

2010 Artesa Chardonnay

2010 Artesa Chardonnay (SRP$15, winery, @Clubartesa)
Wine from California
Spicy.  Baked pears and coconut.  This wine is very velvety and has a medium body.
3 corks

2008 Afton Mountain Vineyards Tête de Cuvée

2008 Afton Mountain Vineyards Tête de Cuvée

2008 Afton Mountain Vineyards Tête de Cuvée (SRP $30, winery, @AftonMountain)
Wine from Virginia
Carmel, crème brûlée, vanilla, citrus, and a little burbony thing going on.  Enjoyable, but a little pricey.
3 corks

2009 Viviana Superiore Cuvée

2009 Viviana Superiore Cuvée

2009 Viviana Superiore Cuvée (SRP $22, winery, @LlanoWine)
Wine from Texas
My first wine from Texas…ever!  The wine is sweeter on the nose than in the mouth.  Nose smells like sugar, ripe stone, and tropical fruits.  Mouth is a little more tart and balanced…pineapple and peaches.
3 corks

2009 Festival Rose Bordeaux blend

2009 Festival Rose Bordeaux blend

2009 Festival Rose Bordeaux blend (SRP $13, winery)
Wine from France
Smells funky…like wet forest and mushrooms.  Tastes bit bitter, like under ripe strawberries, oranges, mushrooms, and a bit of creaminess. Just eh.
2.5 Corks

Question of the Day: What’s the most unusual regional wine you’ve tasted?

Q&A Over A New Zealand Sauv Blanc

Two weeks ago today was one of those days where work was just getting in the way of my after work activities.  It wasn’t a bad day; in fact, I was wrapping up a writing project that had taken a couple of months.  If it wasn’t for the project keeping me busy, though, I think the day would have dragged on forever.  I was focused on my online wine date and blog interview with my friend Shelby over on Eat, Drink, Run.

Just like the name of her blog suggests, if you like to eat, drink, or run, Shelby’s blog is an entertaining read.  Almost ever posts touches on each of those things.  Shelby is also one of the women I mentioned meeting online over 5 years ago while wedding planning, and has been huge inspiration as I started running.  Admittedly, she’s part of the reason why only a month after finishing the Country Music Half Marathon, I’m already trying to figure out where my next half will be.  Unfortuantely, I was too slow in realizing that I would want to run another half, so I’m missing the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon this weekend (good luck to everyone who is running, particularly Frank from Drink What YOU Like and the rest of the VA Wine Team).

During the interview, Shelby and I ended up not only talking about my love of wine and how I started learning about it, but also doing a tasting together.   We both bought a bottle of 2010 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (winery, snooth), which was enjoyable long after the tasting part of the interview was over!

The interview and my review of the 2010 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc is up on Eat, Drink, Run.  The review is mid-way through the interview and starts right below the picture, but definitely check out the whole post!

Finally, if you found your way over here from Shelby’s blog…welcome!  Grab a glass and stick around, there are lots of fun wines coming up over the next few weeks.

Don’t forget to check out Eat, Drink, Run or follow Shelby on Twitter.

Price: $17
Purchased at Harris Teeter
Overall: 4.5 Corks

Octavin Wine Night at Lima

***I attended this event for free ***

Last Monday night, I attended a wine event at Lima Restaurant & Lounge in DC, where I not only tasted a number of Underdog Wine Merchants’ wines, all of which were in the Octavin Home Wine Bar box, but also met and talked with a number of fellow wine bloggers and tweeps.

2009 Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc

For most attendees, the evening started out with the 2008 Monthaven Winery Chardonnay, which I received as a sample earlier in the month.  Therefore, I skipped tasting that wine and went straight for the 2009 Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc (website, snooth).  The Silver Birch was 100% New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc grapes and had a pale lemon-yellow color.  As I mentioned on Twitter, there was a great, citrusy nose—pink grapefruits and lemons.  In the mouth, though, the wine could have offered a little more.  It had a wetnap-like lemon taste and was missing the vegetal characteristics that make a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc so unique.  The wine had a light body and medium-to-high acidity.  At a suggested retail price of $24 for 3 Liters, the Silver Birch Octavin Home Wine Bar is definitely a cost effective way to have wine at a party, BBQ, or picnic.  However, to be honest, buying this wine should more about cost and quantity than quality.  It’s not a bad wine, but it’s not a great wine, either.  Overall: 3 Corks

As I was finishing up my tasting notes on the Silver Birch, I started talking with Virginia Writing Wino, Ellen.  Ellen only recently started wine blogging, so we had a wonderful time talking about how she started, Virginia wines (since that is her blog’s focus), and the Octavin wines, while eating Lima’s tasty beef and potato empanadas and to-die-for chicken and butter shrimp skewers.

2009 Big House White

The next wine of the night was the 2009 Big House White (website, snooth).  The Big House White is a blend of 51% Malvasia Bianca, 14% Muscat Canelli, 13% Viognier, 10% Grüner Veltliner, 5% Pinto Gris, and 4% Riesling grapes.  The wine was a very light straw yellow color.  On the nose, there were white flower and honeysuckle blossoms, followed by a hint of stone fruit.  In the mouth, there were flowers, stones fruits, and a touch of salinity and something metallic.  Considering the sweetness of the nose, the wine was surprisingly dry.  It had a light-to-medium body and low acidity.  At a suggested retail price of $22 for 3 Liters, this wine just didn’t cut it for me.  I wanted to like this wine, particularly after talking with artisan winemaker Georgetta Dane, who was at the event.  Unfortunately, though, the wine felt a little flabby and lacked a strong personality.  Overall: 2 Corks

Almost as soon as I finished my tasting notes for the Big House White, a couple walked up to me and asked if I was Alleigh.  To my delight, I was face-to-face with Mark, from WineLife365, and his wife.  Mark and I started blogging within months of each other, so a natural friendship has developed as our blogs have grown.  While we have exchanged numerous emails and blog comments, this was the first time we met in real life, and I’m so glad that we had the opportunity.

After meeting Mark and his wife, I chatted briefly with LoganDC.  Logan was another person at the event that I hadn’t met before, even though we’ve tweeted with each other on numerous occasions and have several wine friends in common.  Hopefully, we’ll have a chance to do a live Twitter tasting in the near future.

Bodegas Osborne’s Seven

After talking with Logan, I skipped tasting the Big House Red, since I reviewed it a couple of weeks ago, and, instead, went for a glass of Bodegas Osborne’s Seven (winery, snooth).  Seven is made with 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 18% Syrah, 8% Petit Verdot, 8% Tempranillo, 8% Grenache, and 8% Graciano grapes and had a medium-to-dark purple color.  On the nose and in the mouth, there was smoked meat, smoked meat, and more smoked meat, followed by a hint of violets and berries.  The wine had a medium body, medium tannins, and medium acidity.  At a suggested retail price of $22 for 3 Liters, this wine was ok.  I preferred the Big House Red, although several people I talked with throughout the night liked Seven better, so, clearly, the preference was up for grabs.  Overall: 2.5 Corks

2008 Boho Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel

By this point in the night, I met back up with Mark and his wife, who were talking with DC Budget Wine Examiner, Rob, and we tasted the last of the wines—the 2008 Boho Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel (winery, snooth).  The wine was a nice, dark purplish ruby.  On the nose, there were dark berries and plums with a hint of cooking spice.  In the mouth, there was berry jam and spice. At a suggested retail price of $24 for 3 Liters, this was my favorite wine of the night.  It wasn’t unpleasantly jammy or overbearing in alcohol, which can sometimes be a problem with Zins, and while the wine didn’t offer anything different, it was decent.  Overall: 3 Corks.

After the event, Mark, his wife, and I were fortunate enough to eat dinner at Lima with Cork’d gurus, Lindsay and Jon, and Patricia Schneider Associates marketing wizards, Patricia and Shelia. The food mirrored the excellent appetizers that were served during the event and the service was impeccable.  The group’s conversation flowed over the delicious ceviches, guava-glazed BBQ ribs, lobster baked with mango-lime butter, and mussels in an Albariño, lime, cilantro and chili sauce.  Before any of us realized, it was midnight and time to head our separate ways.

2008 Big House Red being poured at Lima Restaurant & Lounge

Overall, the event was wonderful.  I had a chance to see the Octavin Home Wine Bar in action, taste some new reds and whites, eat fabulous food, and meet wine bloggers and tweeps that I’ve been corresponding with for over a year. Thanks to Stephen from Patricia Schneider Associates for inviting me to attend as a guest.  I’m sorry we didn’t have a chance to meet, but I had a great time and really appreciated the opportunity.