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Thanksgiving dinner is a great time to drink wine, but what wine do you choose? Let me begin by saying there are no right or wrong answers to this question. Pairing wine with food is tricky stuff that when done well can really help take the meal to the next level, but the primary rule I follow is to drink what you like! To aid you in this endeavor below are 12 of my favorite wines under $20.
I’m far from an expert on pairing wine with food, but these are some of my most highly rated wines that I think are great options for your Thanksgiving table. On top of this, one of our featured sponsors, Marketview Liquor, has agreed to offer up a fantastic free shipping deal for a limited time: Free shipping on orders of on 6 or more bottles (mix and match)! No trips to the liquor store, no wondering what to buy — now you can complete your Thanksgiving wine shopping with just a few clicks.
My selections for Thanksgiving wines come in three main categories, along with a few special selections. Read on to find out more…
First up is Pinot Noir. This is the classic Thanksgiving wine — everybody likes it and it goes great with traditional Thanksgiving fare! Here are three of my most highly rated wines at several different price points (listed lowest to highest):
2011 Hahn Winery California Pinot Noir – A Brilliant Bargain.
#4 on the current Top 10 Reds list, this wine hails from California and can be had for as little as $10, which truly is a brilliant bargain for a wine as good as this. This wine features just about the perfect mix of berry flavors, spice and pepper.
2008 90 Plus Cellars Reserve Lot 56 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – Eminently Drinkable.
Russian River Valley goodness for as little as $15! Excellent aromas, wonderful balance, delicious fruit, nice spice and a deliciously smooth texture make this one of our very favorite Pinot Noirs.
2009 Cono Sur 20 Barrels Pinot Noir – A Special Treat From Chile.
This wine is a recent Saturday Splurge so at $26 it is a little out of our normal price range, but it’s Thanksgiving after all! And even the most diehard winos at your table probably haven’t had much Pinot Noir from Chile. Oh, and did I mention that it’s absolutely delicious?
GARNACHA (AKA GRENACHE)
Next up is a variety that you may not always associate with Thanksgiving, Garnacha! Garnacha/Grenache is quickly becoming one of my favorite grapes thanks to the unbelievable values available, its delicious taste and its food friendliness. Two of the three recommendations below arebulk buys and all are $10 or less. And not only do all three come from Spain, but they all come from the same region in Spain — Calatayud.
2010 Evodia Old Vines Garnacha – Simply Superb
Currently the #1 wine on our Top 10 Reds list this savory number features juicy blackberry, blueberry and raspberry along with a fantastically smooth mouthfeel. It’s hard to get much better than this for under 10 bucks.
2009 Las Rocas Garnacha – Garnacha Love.
Smooth, silky and easy to drink, the primary flavors are blackberry along with a good dose of oak. The fruit flavors focus nicely on the finish and are followed by a burst of spice. Add in some chewy, dry tannins that last for a good long time and we’ve got a winner.
2010 Los Dos Grenache + Syrah – Another Spanish Wonder!
This wine is our most recent bulk buy. At $7 this wine adds in 15% Syrah and is simply fantastic. Smooth and silky, the Los Dos is very easy to drink but also layered with juicy and savory fruit, excellent tannins, a bit of pepper and spice and an excellent long finish.
Our third category is Sparkling Wine, and I’ve got a couple beauties. Don’t discount the bubbles — they go great with all kinds of food, they are festive, and these two selections are downright delicious. Plus popping the cork is always fun! I think sparkling wine goes so well with the holidays that we even do a yearly series on it!
Segura Viudas Brut Rosé – Holiday Sparklers!
Click Here To Shop The Reverse Wine Snob Thanksgiving picks at Marketview Liquor! Free Shipping On 6 or More Bottles (Mix & Match).Expires Midnight 11/16.Yeah, I know what some of the men are thinking…you want me to drink pink bubbles?? Yes I do, and you’ll thank me for it. If it helps this wine is actually a blend of two red grapes (Trepat and Garnacha) that simply don’t spend much time in contact with the grape skins, thus the lighter color. This one features sweet strawberry, cherry and citrus flavors plus lots of big bubbles.
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva – Holiday Sparklers!
Here’s a more traditional sparking wine that is still delicious. This one is a blend of 50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada and 15% Xarel-lo from Spain. It begins with pear, fresh baked bread, and floral notes and tastes of pear, citrus zest, lemon and green apple. This wine has a really nice acidity and a good crispness and juiciness to it. It finishes with lemon zest plus a little minerality that turns into lingering honey notes. Perfect for your Thanksgiving table!
Lastly, there are still a few holes we need to fill…
THE CONVERSATION STARTER
2009 Craggy Range Te Kahu Gimblett Gravels Vineyard Proprietary Red – Proof That New Zealand Offers A Lot More Than Sauvignon Blanc.
80% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Malbec from New Zealand. This is one of those wines you just can’t stop thinking about after you try it. A revelation, really, that New Zealand offers a whole lot more than Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
THE DESSERT WINE
Terra d’Oro Zinfandel Port – A Wonderful Way To End The Day
Port, of course, traditionally comes from Portugal but you may not know there’s actually quite a bit of good Port wine made right here in the U.S.! And a lot of it, like today’s wine, is made from Zinfandel. This one begins with excellent aromas of dark berries, black currant, raisins, orange zest and chocolate. Tasting the Port shows a nice velvety smooth texture with many of the same flavors plus a bit of toffee and chocolate. If you’re having a chocolate dessert after your meal this should be required drinking.
THE WHITE WINE
2010 Banfi Centine Bianco Toscana – Simply Savory.
I greatly prefer reds with Thanksgiving dinner but you’re going to need a good all around white to please everyone’s palate. Here’s a blend from Tuscany that should do the trick. With Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc AND Pinot Grigio you’ve got all the bases covered! This wine is refreshing and crisp with a bit of underlying minerality that gives good contrast to the fruit flavors. The dry, medium length finish entices you to take another sip.
2011 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages – A Strawberry-Banana Jam-a-rama!
Lastly, it wouldn’t be fall without Beaujolais and while there are plenty of options Georges DuBoeuf is consistently good. Take a step up from the Beaujolais Nouveau and go for this Beaujolais-Villages which is still under $10. It features juicy sweet berry fruit, a good dose of banana and very soft tannins that contribute to a nice smooth, silky texture on this light-bodied wine. This wine is very easy to drink and it gets even easier as you go.
And that’s it. Thanksgiving is only 2 weeks away so get those orders in quick!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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