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Thanksgiving — the wine lover's favorite holiday, when sharing our favorite bird-friendly wines with family, friends and neighbors heightens our enjoyment of this most convivial day! And what do we look for in a Thanksgiving wine? A full-bodied white that will not only complement turkey, but stand up to the cranberry sauce, stuffing and onions; rosés (yes, rosés are a great choice on Thanksgiving) that have a bit more fruit and terroir expression than those we gulp in the summer; and reds that are relatively light and low in alcohol, supple with pretty fruit that won't overwhelm the mild flavors of turkey, turnips and mashed potatoes. And of course a sparkling wine or Champagne to begin or end our feast, and dessert wines that will shine with pumpkin, apple and mince pies, walnuts and cheeses.
Our Thanksgiving picks are designed to please everyone at the table, from novice to Master of Wine, and to fit every budget as well. Have fun perusing our list and please call or email with any questions or for further recommendations. (Sorry, it's a bit too long — sparkling wines, followed by whites, roses, reds, and dessert.)
Most wines are in stock today, Nov. 9th, all others arrive by Tuesday Nov. 13. Please allow an extra day for in-store pick-up and allow a few extra days for shipping in this busy season.
Happy Thanksgiving 2018 from everyone at Chambers Street!
Eric Bordelet was a super star in the wine and restaurant world before shifting his attention to orchard fruits and returning to his home town in southern Normandy’s Domfrontais region. Here pears replace apples as the primary ingredient in both Cidre and Calvados because the pear tree’s deep root system tunnel easily into the region’s dry soils. The fifteen old varieties used are "sauvages," not table fruit, and have good acidity and a lovely astringency that combine to give ciders structure and freshness. Eric’s Authentique displays those qualities flawlessly and combines complex flavors of creamy orchard fruit, white meadow flowers, and a sappy, slightly off dry finish. This is a perfect starter on Thanksgiving, and great with the pies at the end - and with the very low alcohol, maybe a glass for the kids as well. (Also available: Sidre Tendre and Poiré Granit)
From a plot of very old Chenin Blanc vines, François' Brut NV is kept on the lees for 18 months before bottling. It has pretty apple, pear, floral and toasty flavors with good acidity balancing the fruit. The current cuvée is from 2014 and it's one of their best ever - a bit riper than usual with round but well defined fruit—a great alternative to Champagne, it's delicious as an apéritif before the meal or afterwards with apple pie. This is a great choice during the holidays - a real crowd-pleaser at a great price, before, after or during the meal!
Pinot Auxerrois with 5%Pinot Noir. Capped when the sugar is around 17-18g residual. A small amount of red wine was added to give some structure and aromatic complexity. This is a really tasty Pet-Nat with fine bubbles and gentle acidity. Laurent says it's the kind of wine that gives you "juste le temps de bat le sil," (enough time to bat your eyelashes) before it's gone! EL
An abiding staff favorite from Stéphane Tissot's biodynamic estate in Arbois, this crémant is a blend of 55% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 10% Poulsard and Trousseau. The interplay between the dry, mineral complexity and rich generosity make this an incredible Champagne-alternative. Opulent aromas of raw honey and baked red apple lead to flavors of tangy yellow fruit, crisp apple, toasted almond, and quince on the persistent finish. Amanda Bowman
The Brothers Brand have taken over the family vineyards, working organically with some biodynamic treatments, using natural yeast fermentation, and low or no sulfur additions (none is used with their pét-nats or 'Pur' line). Their 2017 Pét-Nat Rosé is a blend of mostly Pinot Noir, with about 10% old-vine Portugieser (vine age is about 40 years-old). A pleasing, deep magenta, jewel-toned rose in color, with a sprightly mousse and a mélange of tart and juicy red fruits: raspberry, watermelon, sour cherry, red plum all burst forth and wash over the palate, and the bright acidity primes you for the next sip--incredibly thirst-quenching! This would be fun with a wide range of hors d'oeuvres, from gougères to potato chips to roasted beet crostini. Cari Bernard
Our favorite blend of sparkling Gamay and Poulsard is back in stock for the holidays! This charming, low-alcohol sparkler hails from the tiny appellation of Bugey (across the Mont du Chat in Savoie). At 8.5% this delicately sweet pét-nat is the breakfast of champions, companion while you prepare a feast, or the perfect solution to tricky dessert parings. The wine pours a pleasing shade of magenta in the glass and offers up vivid aromas of purple wild flowers, raspberry patch, and mouth-watering grapefruit zest. The palate is light and fresh with flavors of sweet strawberries, raspberries and crunchy blueberries on the attack then finishes with thirst-quenching mineral acidity. A purely enjoyable bottle at a great value. Serve chilled alongside fruit tarts, dark chocolate, or with tangy cheeses. Amanda Bowman
Masumi, the premium brand from Miyasaka Shuzo in Nagano, makes one of our favorite hiya-oroshi styles. On the nose, among the more forward notes of steamed rice, melon, citrus rind, and underripe mango is a savory undercurrent of sesame paste, hazelnuts, cream and a faint whiff of pine, moss, and crushed leaves. As the sake warms up to room temperature, the savory characteristics become even more prominent, it gains in weight and mouthfeel, and a hint of caramel and honey creeps in. Enjoy with fall vegetable dishes, mushrooms, a roast chicken, or as a wonderful accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner. Oskar Kostecki
Stéphane Orieux's father Joseph converted the estate to organic agriculture back in 1967, and Stéphane has continued (now certified by Ecocert) the great vineyard work of his father. The grapes are hand-harvested, fermentations are with wild yeasts and minimal sulfur is used. The 2017 Bregeonnette is from vines on both schist and granite soils and is a beautiful example of a young, vibrant Muscadet from organic farming. The aromas are classic Muscadet: pear, green apple, citrus, fresh herbs and wet stone with floral hints. The palate is refreshing with subtle white fruits and citrus with hints of mineral and almond, with firm citrusy acids in the finish. This is a delicious and versatile Muscadet to serve with shellfish and white fish such as cod, haddock and sole and it's a nice aperitif as well. And it's a crowd-pleasing dry white with enough depth to accompany your Thanksgiving! David Lillie
The grapes for this new cuvée from Francois Pinon used to be included in the Silex Noir, but this wonderful vineyard, the Pinon's best parcel on a hill-top directly above their cellar, much deserves to be bottled on its own. The soil is clay over Turonian limestone, and the beautiful exposure gives ripe fruit that is normally vinified as a demi-sec. In 2017 the potential alcohol was not too high, so the Pinons vinified it as a dry wine, with 5.6 grams rs/liter. The wine shows elegant aromas of lime-flower, dried pear, lemon zest and stones. The palate is very saline and mineral with round white fruits, citrus and herbal notes with impressive density and length. A great dry Vouvray with fantastic minerality that will age beautifully! Normally thought of as a fish wine, the flavors and texture of this wine will make it pair beautifully with poultry and white meats as well. Highly recommended. David Lillie
The Mosse Family has made another great version of "Magic of Ju-Ju' this time made from Chenin Blanc and Grolleau Gris. The wine shows ripe and floral aromas of pear, spiced apple, dried herbs, almond. The palate is chalky and full-bodied with ripe pear and quince, brown spice, fines herbes and minerals, with terrific length. This is a versatile food wine that will pair with richer fish dishes, chicken and pork and full-flavored cheeses. Delicious! And it will be an All-Natural hit on Thanksgiving... (Named after Archie Shepp's record from 1968 which I bought on release!) David Lillie
From vines dating from the 1920s and 1940s. Organically farmed, and vinified in used oak barrels. The 2014 is a beautiful expression of Pouilly-Fuissé fusing the bright minerality of the old vines with the sunny richness of the appellation. The robe is a green gold hue. The nose is redolent of stone fruit and citrus peel. The palate is racy on the attack, with a pungent stony character giving way to a supple ripeness building on a long, lingering finish. This is lovely and a great candidate for cellaring in the mid-term, say 8-10 years, though one could certainly tuck into a bottle earlier. John McIlwain
Domaine Rollin's Pernand-Vergelesses Sous-Frétille 1er cru is a perennial favorite, especially in warm vintages, where the morning shadow of the hill of Corton is mitigated by heat later in the day. The 2015 offers aromas of white flowers, ripe stone fruit (nectarine, white peach), golden apple, and Meyer lemon peel. The mid-weight, verging on rich, palate displays ripe orchard fruit flavors overlaying a deep-seated minerality, with a tactile stoniness lending drive, energy and mid-palate depth on a pungent, concentrated, nearly muscular finish. Sous Frétille always has a degree of gravitas that reminds me of Corton-Charlemagne, especially in solar vintages, where the ripeness aligns with the mineral concentration. This is a fabulous example and should be singing in 5-8 years and beyond. Gorgeous baby Corton! Fabulous with schnitzel and would be glorious with pan-roasted cod or grilled sole. Lovely Burgundy that is still accessibly priced (relatively speaking). John McIlwain
Neno is a 100% Godello from Viña Somoza, an organic estate located in the D.O. of Valdeorras, in the Northwestern part of Spain. Renowned winemaker Javier García Alonso (4 Monos), who joined the estate in 2015, is known for wines of inspiration with traditional wine-making techniques. Neno is fermented in stainless steel tanks and 6,000 liter tiñas (foudres) and then aged on lees for seven months. The result is a wine of tension and vibrancy with a beautiful texture. On the nose, flavors of citrus, light white floral and pale stone fruits, with a touch of sea salt and fresh almonds. On the palate, the wine is lively and full of energy, with bright acidity and great mid-palate weight.
The Quaker Run Vineyard, planted in 1999, is located on the eastern flank of the Blue Ridge Mountains, nearly touching Shenandoah National Park. This Chardonnay's spontaneous fermentation lasted for nearly 11 months and then rested on the lees for an additional seven months. Big, round, and extraordinarily texturally dense, this wine has fine leesy, yeasty, bready character that is elegantly interpolated through the fine white peach and meyer lemon fruit core. This is a big classic Chardonnay, though it has fine acid structure that adds to a long, slightly funky, lingering finish. Andrew Farquhar
This soulful Chenin Blanc is sourced from the beautiful Karibib vineyard in the granite-laden Polkadraai Hills (Stellenbosch). The 38 year-old vines are east-facing and have been "liberated" from their wires and now grow as bush vines. Mick and Jeanine Craven have a gentle but precise hand in the cellar; the grapes are pressed into 500L barrels where they ferment with native yeasts, then spend 4 months on the fine lees before racking. After a total of 9 months in barrel, the wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered with only a small amount of sulfur added. The 2017 is seductive yet restrained. Invigorating aromas of zesty pineapple, sea salt, and ripened apricots are evocative of Chenin from Touraine. The honeyed palate is textured with focused and linear mineral acidity. Flavors of subtle orchard fruit, ginger, and lemon pith make this a lovely pairing for greenbean casserole and leftover turkey sandwiches. Amanda Bowman
Alexandra Künstler and Konstantin Weiser are farming close to 4 hectares organically in the Mosel; a true labor of love, as the sites here are punishingly steep, and the risk of losing grapes to frost and mildew damage is high. Their 'estate' Riesling is a perennial favorite among the staff here at the shop, for both drinkability and value! Technically a ‘dry tasting’ Riesling, so just a touch of residual sugar is balanced by electric acidity to give it tension and an incredible drinkability! Juicy and bright, with notes of peaches, green apple, nectarines, and a salinity that brings you back for another sip! This is a truly delightful wine to pair with the whole spread this Thanksgiving, and fantastic to wake up the palate when fatigue sets in. Cari Bernard
Ried Lamm gets its name from the deep, loam (and loess) soils found in the vineyard, located on the southeast side of Heiligenstein in the Kamptal. A fairly warm site due to its southfacing exposition, the Lamm can produce Grüners with high levels of density and concentration. Tasted in June of this year, the Lamm was exhibiting that concentration balanced by a brightness of acidity, with fruity notes of nectarine, pear, and Fuji apple surging forth on the palate, gliding towards a lengthy finish. Would be delicious paired with roasted Brussels sprouts, green bean casserole, epic cheese platters. Cari Bernard
What an absolute treat to get to check in on this beauty from 2009! Harvest for the Auslese contained around 40% botrytised grapes from the southeast-facing Rothenpfad parcel on the Marienburg. The nose is redolent with muddled fresh mint and the wine is creamy and lively, with soft, rich peaches, honeyed pear, elegant depth and layers. Enjoy now to blow minds with your cheese course or fruit-based desserts, or hold for at least ten more years! Cari Bernard
If you are looking for an exceptional sparkling wine - don't search any further as this Canary Island wine will satisfy your needs! A 100% Listán Negro from the eastern part of Lanzarote, planted at the bottom of volcanic fissures, this sparkling wine is the prime example of superbly expressive minerality, complexity and elegance. The grapes are first gently pressed, and then aged 15 months on the lees under the méthode Champenoise. The "prise de mousse" to start the second fermentation is made with Malvasia must, and not with sugar. With a very pale pink hue and elegant mousse, the wine is complex and fresh, displaying a fun bouquet of tart cranberry, wild raspberry, pink grapefruit, subtle rose petals, light mineral ash and volcanic notes. A delicious wine to enjoy by itself, as an appetizer, or with oysters, shellfish, grilled fish, or roasted meat. A great wine for your Holiday meal, enjoy it from start to finish! Caroline Coursant
Pale pink in the glass, the nose hints at a stony minerality confirmed on the palate. This blend of Zweigelt, St. Laurent, and Pinot Noir is crisp with scintillating acidity and flavors of fresh green and red strawberries, Seville orange, white raspberries, white stone, and lemon juice. A touch more giving than the 2016 vintage, and still incredibly brisk! This would be a refreshing start to your holiday evening! Cari Bernard
(Was $13.99) Stéphane Guion's superb Bourgueil Rosé will differ from year to year, even finishing slightly sweet in certain vintages. In 2017, however, the wine is bone dry and tartly refreshing showing subtle and beautiful aromas of wild strawberry, red currant, green apple and rose petal. The palate is light and scintillating but with nice density of raspberry and red currant fruit, with a long finish of stone and citrusy acids. Serve this refreshing rosé with oysters vinaigrette, salade Nicoise, fried or grilled fish, roast chicken or turkey and mild cheeses. We don't get very much, so grab some now, and save a few bottles for next spring. Thanksgiving? Absolutely - it will go with everything on the table....David Lillie
(Was $16.99) Domaine les Fouques has been certified Biodynamic (Demeter) for over 20 years, and also raises sheep, ducks, chickens and guinea-hens on their old-fashioned mixed-use farm. La Londe is their best rosé from old vines of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and Rolle. Unlike the majority of Provençal rosés, it is made naturally with wild yeasts, giving a more subtle expression of fruit and terroir. The 2017 is a beautiful wine, lighter and brighter than the 2016 in style. The wine shows a lovely pale pink/salmon color with elegant aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, peach and rose with hints of spice. The palate shows creamy raspberry, peach and red currant fruit with citrus peel and mineral flavors. The finish is long and refreshing with berry fruits, citrus and firm acidity, just lovely. This wine will gain complexity over the next six months and will drink beautifully through 2019. Highly recommended and a great value! David Lillie
(Was $11.99) Thierry Navarre is one of the few people who still grow Oeillades - a nearly extinct grape that has a long history in the Langudedoc and is thought to be an old cousin of Cinsault. Thierry's Oeillades grows on the rugged mountainsides above Roquebrun in Saint-Chinian. The 2017 shows a beautiful wild strawberry and purple-tinged color in the glass. The nose offers abundant strawberry and orange aromas with delicate notes of lavender, cardamom and dried rose petals. The palate is light and wonderfully lifted with flavors of ripe strawberry, herbal tea, and refreshing exotic citrus on the finish. A balanced rosé with plenty of aromatic complexity and crunchy acidity to pair with a variety of dishes. We recently enjoyed this with Mediterranean-inspired fried food - a highly recommended pairing! Amanda Bowman
A lovely rather full-bodied rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon featuring pure deep raspberry and cherry fruit with nice balancing acidity. "This is not a Rosé" may be the name, and the color is a lovely pale red, but we still say it's a rosé! The Menard's wines are denied the appellation Anjou every year — they're not typical — but they're organic and delicious!
(Was $19.99) The delicious "Il Meticcio" is a blend of Canaiolo, Malvasia and Ciliegiolo - a blend dedicated to their mixed breed dog "Tiberio." The wine shows a beautiful pink/orange color and aromas of red currant, cranberry, blood orange and rose, quite lovely. One finds bright red currant and tart morello cherry on the palate which is ripe and sapid but light and refreshing with stone and mineral flavors lingering in the finish with red fruits and citrus. Quite delicious now, this should drink beautifully over the next 12 to 24 months.
A good Pineau d'Aunis is a great choice for Thanksgiving and Sebastien Cornille at Domaine de la Roche Bleue has made a beautiful Belle d'Aunis in 2017. 100% Pineau d'Aunis from old vines in clay with silex soils over limestone in the Coteaux du Loir; 15 day semi-carbonic maceration, slow pressing and assembly with the "jus de goutte" followed by aging in 3 - 4 year-old barrels. The wine shows a bright red/garnet color with lovely aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry and rose petal with white pepper and earth. The palate shows chalky, sappy raspberry and tart cherry fruit, light but dense and long with earthy acidity lingering in the finish. Refreshing and delicious now, this should be quite interesting after three to five years in the cellar. Highly recommended. David Lillie
Cabernet Franc from the Loire is one of the greatest choices for Thanksgiving - The Baudry Chinon "Domaine" is always one of our favorite reds from the Loire Valley and it's a sensational value as well. All Cabernet Franc of course, a blend of 75% from a parcel in St. Louans, where the thin clay/limestone soils give earthy well-structured wines, with 25% from gravel soils near Cravant, giving supple fruit and freshness. Organic farming, wild-yeast fermentation, aging in 5 to 10 year-old wooden vats and casks with minimal added SO. The 2014 "Cuvée Domaine" was a sensational wine and really built to age, while the 2015 is a bit more round and forward, and even more delicious for current drinking. The wine shows a deep red/black color and beautiful aromas of ripe red and black fruits with hints of earth, roast meat, black pepper and violet. The palate is dense and sapid with supple strawberry and blackberry liqueur and mineral flavors lifted by bright acidity. The fruit is quite ripe but the wine is well balanced at 12.5% alcohol. This is a superb "Domaine" that is a bit less structured than the 2014 - it's delicious now and will be singing in 2027 as well. Highly recommended. David Lillie
This beautiful Regnié has the perfect weight, density and sublte flavors to be a great choice for Thanksgiving! The Descombes Regnié Vieilles Vignes is superb in 2014, showing lovely aromas of red currant and strawberry, violet, orange peel, brown spice and soil. There is velvety strawberry and blackberry compote on the palate with rose, pomegranate, earth and citrus. The finish is long with lemony acidity, mineral flavors and pretty red fruits. This is a complex and beautifully balanced Regnié that is delicious now, with aeration, and it should be superb from 2020 to 2026+. Highly recommended. David Lillie
Have a sensational "natural" Thanksgiving with this gorgeous zero-sulfur Gamay from the Clos des Vignes du Maynes! Made from Gamay Petit Grains planted in 1953, grown on a limestone parcel high in magnesium, in the Clos des Vignes du Maynes in Cruzille, organic since 900 AD, now certified biodynamic. The energetic Julien Guillot vinifies his reds without sulfur or additives of any kind, producing complex, mineral, elegant wines that transcend their appellation. The 2015s here are extraordinary, showing the elegance, purity and balance typical of the estate with the wonderful ripeness of the vintage. The wine shows gorgeous red and black fruit aromas with cranberry, earth, stone and musk and hints of mint, chocolate and spice. The palate is bright and intense with balckberry, citrus, stone and earthy flavors, that continue on the very long mineral finish. Always one of the greatest Gamays produced anywhere, the 2015 Manganite is a young wine that will benefit from decanting or five to fifteen years in the cellar. Highly recommended! DL
Completing the trifecta of wacky Loire X Jura wines that Patrice Beguet unleashed this year, Go Together is 90% Gamay from Ancenis, and 10 Savagnin from marnes bleues and marnes blanches (blue and white marl) soils in the Jura. Patrice says "the Gamay provides notes of blackberry jam, and the Savagnin adds aromatics," and we'd say a bit of spice and saltiness too. Ripe blackberry and raspberry fruit and subtle pomegranate tartness on the palate. It's juicy and fresh, but has some structure and verges on medium bodied, though the low alcohol and zippy acidity make it a prime candidate for a light chill. A touch of CO2 gas is still present, so let the wine breath for about 10 minutes and it will settle down (it's not as crazy as the Fresh Impression, Patrice's other Loire/Jura red). Carbon dioxide gas is created during fermentation and sometimes will be added to the top of a vat to protect it when a winemaker is trying to work without any added sulfites. It's not a fault or flaw, but can be confusing to a natural wine neophyte so do be aware that this wine may tickle!
"La Capitaine" is predominantly Pinot Noir with Poulsard and a bit of Trousseau from a biodynamically farmed plot of vines planted in Triassic red marl. The grapes are destemmed then spend 3 weeks in vat for native fermentation and gentle pump-overs to extract tannin, then spend 6 months in barrel before being bottled unfined, unfiltered with a small amount of added sulfur. The robe is deep garnet. Aromas of smoke, crushed violets, spice, and black cherry abound on the nose. At 14% abv, the 2016 has some richness on the palate but the fine and elegant tannins give excellent balance and structure. Flavors of succulent red berry fruit and baking spice finish on a high note of bright red cherry. This would be delicious with Turkey, Brussells sprouts, green beans, and stuffing. Amanda Bowman
This is a gorgeaous Sancerre Rouge, a product of Vincent Gaudry's wonderful biodynamic farming. Wild yeast fermentation, aging 12 months in used barrels. The wine shows lovely aromas of tart cherry, violet and spice, with a vibrant mineral character on the palate from the limestone soils. The fruit is sappy and dense but not heavy, with plum skin, black cherry and earthy flavors. The finish is long with bright chalky red fruits and refreshing acidity. Drink now, served quite cool, with roast chicken, grilled meats, veal tartare and mild cheeses or hold for five to ten years for a mature experience. This is a delicious Pinot Noir from great terroirs in Sancerre! David Lillie
A 100% Pinot Noir from certified organic Domaine Robert Barbichon in Gye sur Seine in the Côte des Bar, the 2014 Coteaux rouge is a bright, racy wine that offers aromas of wild strawberry, pomegranate, wild cherry, and forest floor. The palate is lithe, stony, and fresh with succulent red fruit flavors and a fine-grained minerality. The wine has great panache and is an invigorating, thirst-quenching option for dining al fresco. John McIlwain
I’ll always have a soft spot for Domaine Charles Audoin. And frankly I love Marsannay, though it’s no one’s favorite wine, it’s useful at the table. And while the availability of cool, albeit expensive Burgundy is a blessing/curse, it’s a pleasure to have this on the shelf. Medium ruby robe. Wild strawberry, wild cherry, hibiscus on the nose (red and ripely sweet) with a fine streak of earthiness keeping things honest. The palate (with a bit of time open) displays brambly red fruit flavors, wild cherry, raspberry seed, and hints of black tea on a racy, bright mid-palate, girded by a finely savory, mineral core, giving way to a lifted, punchy succulent finish. And while this is firmly Marsannay, there’s a fine level of sophistication and energy that makes it a fine choice for rustic foods (porc à la Dijonnaise and a cheese plate) as well as lending itself to a variety of charcuterie and cheeses This has the 2014 poise and balance that is criminally overshadowed by 2015s and is worthy of a look. Delicious! John McIlwain
A delicious Bordeaux at a great price - Château Massereau is an estate situated in Barsac, approximately 30km from Bordeaux, that practices organic farming and is fully committed to natural wine-making, using minimum amount of sulfur when devatting. A blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot planted on alluvial soils, the grapes are fermented for a long time (10 weeks) in concrete vats and then aged for 16 months in neutral barriques before a 10-year elevage in the bottle before release. On the nose, the wine is complex with a bouquet of dark berry, plum, cedar, violet, and tobacco. On the palate, the wine is lifted by its beautiful acidity and displays great density and soft tannins. Perfect for your holiday festivities, the wine will fantastically pair with braised rosemary lamb shoulder, roasted turkey with gravy, and red-skin mashed potatoes. Caroline Coursant
We love the wines of Gerhard and Brigitte Pittnauer, Biodynamic farmers and winemakers in the town of Gols, Burgenland, Austria. Grapes for the Dorflagen are hand harvested from a mix of parcels (Salzbergacker, Goldberg, Edelgrund) where there's a decent amount of gravel which provides better drainage through the humus and iron-rich soil. Fermentation is in steel tank followed by aging in small, neutral oak barrels. For those of you out there who are looking to branch out from the Cru Beaujolais and Pinot Noirs of the Thanksgiving table, please do consider the reds of Austria! Sankt Laurent (named after the day it used to begin veraison, Saint Lawrence's Day), has possible Pinot Noir parentage, but nothing has been confirmed (that I can find). Savory, exotic spice and black cherry skin on the nose, the medium bodied palate reveals both red and black fruit: plum skin, red cherries, black raspberries, stewed strawberries, bay leaf, with racy acidity and just enough structure to make this an all-star for pairing with everything from the turkey to the cranberry sauce! Cari Bernard
Tilenus from Bodegas Estefania is one of the many projects the tirelessly dynamic Raul Perez is involved in, and one that has been close to his heart for a number of years now. This cuvee of mostly Mencia (with other indigenous grapes interspersed in the vineyards) is a beautiful introduction to the reds of northwest Spain. This is a blend of 200 different parcels from both slate soils on higher ground, as well as sandier parcels from the lower valley, with old bush-trained vines. Notes of raspberry, cherry, black cherry, rose, and violet dominate, with a hint of oak spice and earthiness. The wine displays soft, medium tannins, as well as bright acidity to keep it lifted and balanced. It paired beautifully with a Berkshire pork chop, but I have no doubts it will work wonderfully with a holiday feast. Oskar Kostecki
Azienda Agricola Le Strie is a tiny property located in Valtellina, composing a little over 1 hectare of vines located in Sassella and Valgella subzones, producing around 7,500 bottles annually. The grapes are farmed organically, hand-harvested, and fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel. The subsequent wine ages for about 18 months in large botti. The Le Strie Rosso di Valtellina has a wonderful nose of raspberries, red and black cherries, red plum, rose, and crushed violets. The palate is precise, at once delicate and lifted, but also carrying intensity, with soft tannins and bright acidity. With a hint of earthiness, this wine worked beautifully with a mushroom risotto. Oskar Kostecki
All of Francesco Clerico’s wines (Barbera, Barolo, Dolcetto, and Nebbiolo) could be used in a class as textbook examples of traditional Langhe wine. Clerico’s certified-organic vines are in Bussia di Monforte (mostly in the Colonello sub-zone of Bussia Soprana, and also in Bussia Mondoca - rendered as the old-style Mont d'Oca on the Barbera label), an easy walk from his cantina in Borgata Bussia Soprana - like the wines, a hamlet that feels as though time has passed by. 2015 was a good year for Barbera in general; Clerico’s is cool, deep, and lifted, with lovely balance between bright plummy fruit and earthy, savory and forest-y notes. (April 2018) A couple of years later, and I would add that while the 2015 Barbera retains good freshness, it's gained some gravitas and complexity. We've had a couple of bottles this winter that have been great with a variety of food. You could put some away, but it's delicious and drinking beautifully now. Jamie Wolff
All of Francesco Clerico’s wines (Barbera, Barolo, Dolcetto, and Nebbiolo) could be used in a class as textbook examples of traditional Langhe wine. Clerico’s certified-organic vines are in Bussia di Monforte (mostly in the Colonello sub-zone of Bussia Soprana, and also in Bussia Mondoca - rendered as the old-style Mont d'Oca on the Barbera label), an easy walk from his cantina in Borgata Bussia Soprana - like the wines, a hamlet that feels as though time has passed by. 2015 was a good year for Barbera in general; Clerico’s is cool, deep, and lifted, with lovely balance between bright plummy fruit and earthy, savory and forest-y notes. (April 2018)
A couple of years later, and I would add that while the 2015 Barbera retains good freshness, it's gained some gravitas and complexity. We've had a couple of bottles this winter that have been great with a variety of food. You could put some away, but it's delicious and drinking beautifully now. Jamie Wolff
This beautiful Cabernet Franc hails from the Shenandoah valley of Virginia, on the far side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, lying in what's called the Great Appalachian Valley. Beautiful and a bit rustic, this wine is an elegantly-fruited relatively delicate expression of this eminently terroir-expressive grape. Notes of pencil lead, redcurrant, cedar, and some baking spice mix on the nose, while the palate is fresh, bright, and has a fine acid backbone. Pair with creamy mushroom stew, sweet potato mash, giblet gravy, or organ meats. Andrew Farquhar
The 2014 Domaine Tinou Jurançon Cuvée Tradition is made from Petit Manseng and Gros Manseng, grown in Serge Hondet's beautiful vineyard near Lasseube, certified organic since 1964. The soils are essentially sandy clays with stones and gravels from the Pyrenees, over the local limestone, "Calcaire de Lasseube." The wine shows lovely pale gold color, vivid aromas of lemon, pineapple, honeysuckle, stone and brown spice, elegant and subtle. Creamy lemon, pear and stone flavors on the palate, balanced by citrusy acids. 62 grams of RS per liter, but seems dryer. Lovely finish of lemon, exotic fruit and minerals. Serve this lovely wine with foie gras, patés, full-flavored cheeses and lemony desserts or just sip by itself. Highly recommended. Don't worry about the low price - this is a sensational dessert wine that will really please a crowd on Thanksgiving!
When Sauternes of this quality ages, it gains a lot of complexity of aroma and flavor. The 1988 is now in – sorry! – a sweet spot for drinking, with mouth-watering aromas of stone fruist and nuts; it’s quite rich on the palate but there is enough tart acidity to make the wine taste fresh. A classic French pairing is to serve this with foie gras, liver pate, or blue cheese, but we have also loved Sauternes with fruit desserts and with custard/pudding.
A beautiful American aromatized wine in the style of Italian Chinato, I've been a huge fan of this quinquina for a while, and it's had a place at my Thanksgiving table for a number of years now. (Oskar Kostecki) A little from the wine-maker: "Originally I took Barolo Chinato for inspiration, and cinchona bark remains one of the main ingredients, but in both recipe and method, it has become something different than chinato. To make it, I arrest fermentation by adding brandy when there is still sugar in the must. This makes for a slightly different sweetness level each harvest, so I always have to adjust the the bittering agents, which gets me tinkering with the other ingredients, so the recipe changes a bit every year. I use about 20 different herbs, barks, roots and botanicals including: cinchona bark, gentian, wormwood, anise, myrrh, Virginia juniper, rose petal, chamomile, and ginger root.I started it while working in Sonoma County, so it was originally made from Pinot Noir, and I made a half barrel for the first batch. It has followed me around in my day jobs, so these days there is a lot of Cabernet Franc, but there's Tannat, there's Petit Verdot, there's even Petit Manseng. I leave in the stems, as their flavor seems to work with the whole. It now has more than enough Virginia fruit that I could legally label it Virginia, but since there are over 20 herbs and botanicals, I don't bother with a place name. It is a pseudo-solera in that I have a mother batch, bottle some of it, make more at the next harvest, and then add it to the mother. It has wine going back to 2007. I don't filter it. If it ferments in the bottle one day, maybe I will change that, but I'm pretty sure that would take something away." Ben Jordan
Of the countless wonderful spirits I've had the opportunity to taste this year, Domaine du Tertre Calvados was one of the most memorable. Creating a unique style of Calvados, Tertre is run by by two brothers, Michel and Hubert Havard, and the main focus of production at the estate is apple cider. Their excrutiatingly tiny batches of Calvados are distilled on a traveling single column still with 10 plates, after the apples have been fermented for over six months with all indigenous yeast. It is this long fermentation and old school production method that leads to the intense and rustic style of this Calvados. This is a single ex-Cognac cask, bottled at a cask strength of 50% abv. Flavors of baked apple, apple peel, dried orange peel, baking spices, nutmeg, mint, dried leaves, and pronounced rancio notes, forest floor, mushroom, and balsamic all interweave on the beautifully complex palate. A fresh apple quality emerges on the long, long finish. This is an absolute powerhouse Calvados, and a perfect ending to many a satisfying meal. Oskar Kostecki