Top 10 Thanksgiving Holiday Wine Picks

"Personally, I love Thanksgiving traditions: watching football, making pumpkin pie, and saying the magic phrase that sends your aunt storming out of the dining room to sit in her car." ~ Stephen Colbert

Ah yes, another wonderful year nearly ready, to be neatly tucked away in the can and stored away for posterity. But every year at this time we [folks who live in the states] collectively sigh or I mean take time-out to give a "thanks" for our collective blessings.

Do you know a curmudgeon, perhaps there's one in your family? A cranky Uncle or Aunt who's tired of giving a crap? They're easily spotted by their "keep off my lawn" demeanor and defensive remarks to strangers. They resent holidays, like the one right around the corner and for many it has become all too clichéd, to take it seriously any longer. After All there's football on TV, pumpkin pies, roasted, fried and barbecued turkeys, the ugly sweater contest and homes so hot you it's easy to be overcome with what some call the "meat" sweats, and there are the crazy family members, you're glad you only have to see once a year. 

Man, do I totally get that attitude. But [here it comes] I think many of those "grumps" just may need a couple glasses of decent vino or other "holiday cheer" to help them get over their anti-holiday feelings. So this year when you gather with your families or choose to serve others, use it to embrace them and thank each one of them for being a part of your life, just this once [whether you mean it or not is another story]. I’m now stepping away from the soap box and returning you to your normally scheduled holiday wine review.

Every year at this time, I give my Top 10 Thanksgiving Holiday Wine "picks" and this year is no exception. I know my post is a bit "danger" close for those wanting to stock up for the holiday, but chalk-up these recommendations for the procrastinators [last minute wine-buys] in the audience who've been waiting to read about ten tasty wine selections to brighten up their holiday menus this week. Yes, most of them, if not all will be a red wines [my favorite] but I do have at least one almost white-wine to recommend this time around as well. 

1. 2011 Pinot Gris Orange: from Beauregard Vineyards [Santa Cruz Mountains[ orange is the new black. This is a standout wine, for it's unique approach to Pinot Gris, its unique aromas and flavors. This was the first time, I've had the opportunity to sample a wine like this, frankly I had no idea what to expect. But that said, I really did like where it took me tho. Read more.

2. 2009 "Cum Laude"Castello Banfi, Montalcino: Okay folks the moment you've all been waiting for, the tasting notes: In the glass, you'll find a beaming crimson core inviting the first splash across the gums. The aromas attempting to escape from the glass are more like bunglers attempting to escape the loony-bin, none-the-less you still get vibrant black/blue-berry compote wrapped around some cedar and a faint whiff of wet-earth. Read more.

3. 2011 Brancott Estate Pinot Noir: Now that said, once I got the bottle opened via a quick flick-of-the-wrist, poured a few ounces, I immediately noticed the bright [but very lightly colored] cherry, raspberry core. On the nose a light perfume of crisp summer fruits, strawberries, cherries and cranberries dancing around, black-tea and rich earth. Taking out my deluxe tasting straw from a recent boxed-wine, I sampled this delightful Pinot Noir. Read more.

4. 2010 Hawks View Washington Cabernet-Sauvignon: The grapes were harvested from the Double Canyon vineyard found just across the Oregon border, [see above] an 88 acre site located in Alderdale, Washington.It's quite an amazing vineyard site, one which falls within the Horse Heaven Hills American Viticulture Area [AVA]. 

I hear the vine rows are two miles longs and hang precariously above the Columbia Gorge. This wines pairing ability is epic; it really will wow any Thanksgiving guest you may have. Read more.

5. 2010 Ettore Germano "Langhe" Nebbiolo: The wine you see pictured above was a superb representative of what a wine with soul should be. From the first drop to the last splash, it over delivered in finesse and flavor. The color you can see in the glass is amazing, the nose a virtual potpourri of dried red/dark fruits, herbs and leather. 

After the first slurp, you'll find this wine to be very generous, slapping your palate with vibrant red-currants, strawberry, licorice, and dried-violets. It has a SRP of $23 and in my estimation well worth the price of admission [Drink this one while carving the turkey]. Read more. 

6. 2011 Bruliam Gap's Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir: Get in the gap, even in tough vintages like 2011, it's still entirely possible to make fantastic wines, but with an entirely different expression than what you may be use to in the warmer years. A "different-expression" is what you'll find in this Bruliam 2011 Gap's Crown Pinot Noir, an elegant, but at the same time powerful expression of Pinot Noir. I'm giving this wine 93 points, it's an outstanding representation of the quality this vineyard has to offer. Read more. 

7. 2010 Domaine Jean-Marc Morey, Chassagne-Montrachet: This wine was very light in color, more like a light cranberry/strawberry. The nose jumped from the glass right away, fresh summer strawberries, raspberry puree, rich-earth, dried-florals and even a whiff of rhubarb. I didn't want to take my nose away even to grab my first slurp, but I resisted, dove right in and wow everything I experience in the nose exploded across my palate like a broad-side from a pirate-ship of old. Read more.  
"This is the wine you drink once all the guest have departed and it's just you, the dog and the leftovers." 
8. 2009 Marsannay, Les Longeroies, Vieilles Vignes Red Burgundy: This bottle while not expensive, a mere $27 was no slouch in the delicious category. A wine boasting of the rich, ripe fruit [but not flabby] many of wines of this vintage experienced, a wonderfully terroir-driven wine, that while very exuberant in style, it had a nice counter balance of acidity driving the wine home. I scored this wine 90 points, it's highly recommended. Read more.

"What's in a name, that which we call a rose? By any other name would smell as sweet" ~ Shakespeare

9. 2011 Marsannay Rose from Bruno Clair: This wine pictured above, is a serious wine perfect for the plucking, ready to be uncorked for an amazing Thanksgiving dinner. But it does not take itself too serious when it comes to fun food and wine pairing opportunities. This wine shows plenty of intensity and generosity on the palate, it will wow you great depth and balance. Baskets of mouth-watering, ripe summer strawberries, rich with minerality, earthiness, await the thirsty vino-sapien with each sip, slurp and maybe even the eventual gulp. Read more.

10. Sandeman's Founders Reserve Porto: It's time to bust out the Pumpkin pies and other desserts. So what wine do you serve? Well my go to is simple, but plush and will help put Aunt Mildred who has been droning on and on endlessly about her cat, out like the proverbial light. Wondering if it's worth the effort? For one, it's easily found and two it won't run you more than $20, but it will put a smile on everyone's face. It's plush on the palate, a gob-smack of freshly picked red cherries, dark [very ripe] plums, bakers chocolate and, rich earth which sails gracefully across across your palate, leaving you with a long finish.


Mark said…
Nice list as usual! We always enjoy the Gap's Crown wines, really it seems like no matter who is making them-good vineyard!
Will Eyer said…
Hey Mark,

Thanks, I try to keep the list as simple as possible, with a good mix of value oriented wines and a few for those who'd like to splurge a bit.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, hope you uncork a great day.
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