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3 Great Thanksgiving Wines for Under $20

Saturday, November 20, 2010


If ever there were a meal in which you couldn’t go wrong with your choice in the wine aisle, this is it. To illustrate this I have chosen three very different bottles of wine that are all going to be on my Thanksgiving table. And since Thanksgiving is a uniquely American tradition, I have decided to go all American on the wine as well and picked a bold Zinfandel and a sparkling wine from California, as well as a delicious Pinot Gris from Oregon. All these choices are available throughout Rhode Island. Drink up.

Red: 2007 Lodi “7 Deadly Zins” Zinfandel - $15

Zinfandel may be the most all-American grape varietal. Although not indigenous to the US, Zinfandel has been made in California since 1866. And no, I am not talking about the flimsy pink colored ‘white zinfandel’ – I am talking about the original heavyweight - the hearty, the spicy, the rustic, the ‘color-my-tongue-purple’ - Zin!

Acclaimed wine critic Robert Parker gave the 2007 “7 Deadly Zins” Zinfandel from Sonoma County 90 points and I agree. This wine has earthy spice and mouthwatering red and dark fruits for days. (You'll taste this wine even after you have brushed your teeth.) This delicious red wine is not overly complex, nor is it all that dry. It has a hint of sweetness on the mid-palate and a nice transition to a lovely fruity finish, which will stand up to the all the spices on your Thanksgiving table. And at $15 this is a great value.

White: 2009 Acrobat Pinot Gris - $12

If you are among those Pinot Grigio drinkers who are well versed in the Ecco Domani and Santa Margherita of the world and wish to expand your palate, give this lovely effort by Acrobat a try. The quality of wine coming out of Oregon is increasing with each vintage. If you haven’t tried a Pinot Gris from this exciting wine-producing state, this is your chance. Set aside the Rieslings and Gewürztraminer and give Acrobat a shot at the table. You will not be disappointed. 

This producer has received good scores consistently and the 2009 vintage is no exception. Both Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator gave the 2009 vintage good ratings, 87 and 89 points respectively. It has great color, as well as lovely green fruit aromas with a hint of melon on the nose. The weight of this wine is surprisingly medium bodied, definitely not a flimsy effort. This wine is loaded with fresh and delicious fruit. The acidity will play nicely with the tart cranberries in your meal and should be significant enough to cut through the gravy.

Sparkling: Chandon Extra-Dry Riche Sparkling Wine - $18

Adding a sparkling wine to your Thanksgiving table is sure to surprise and please. With all the rich and slightly sweet flavors on the table, an ‘Extra Dry’ sparkling wine, which is actually a hair sweeter than the traditional ‘Brut’, will do well. An ‘Extra Dry’ sparkling wine often offers a little more fruit which should play nicely with your meal.

This good effort by Domaine Chandon has scored ratings ranging from 87-92 points. There are granny smith apples and apricot aromas on the nose. Surprisingly rich on the palate, with a little sweetness, but also hints of bitter grapefruit. The finish is long and fruity. Very interesting sparkling wine.


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