Staff Picks for Thanksgiving, Pleasing Your Pilgrims and Wampanoags!

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The first Thanksgiving was a three-day party feauturing venison, wild fowl, beans, corn and squash, and although there's little record of any beverages present, one has to imagine that, perhaps with the Indians' help, they found something to drink. (Cider perhaps? Yes, the Puritans enjoyed alcohol - in moderation, of course.) Which brings us to our Thirteenth Annual Staff Picks for Thanksgiving, a fabulous group of wines chosen to complement the menu and please your guests. As Eric Asimov pointed out in the New York Times a few years back, reds should be light to medium-bodied with pure fruit and good acidity, perhaps like a good Beaujolais. Whites should be flavorful, with good acidity - built to stand up to the creamed onions and meaty stuffing. And why not a good Rosé or a sparkling cider? So here's our eclectic and food-friendly turkey-day list, with plenty of time for local and national delivery... Cheers! (All prices, except sparkling wine/Champagne, discount 10% on a case or mixed case)

Camut Pommeau de Domaine de Semainville Apéritif Normand

Looking for something new to try before or after your dinner? How about a Pommeau? Pommeau is the traditional blend of Calvados and unfermented apple cider that hardly ever makes its way out of Normandy. Very similar to Cognac’s Pineau des Charentes, Pommeau combines the fruity unfermented apple sugars spiked with a touch of aged brandy. In the fall it makes a wonderful apéritif, but for those afraid of sugary pre-dinner drinks, it would be delicious with cheese, and out-of-this-world with deserts featuring apples. Camut makes what is likely the best Calvados in the grand Cru “Pays d’Auge,” so it’s no surprise that their Pommeau is the best we have ever tasted.  John Rankin

  • brandy
  • 9 in stock
  • no discount
  • $42.99

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Bordelet 2012 Sparkling Apple Cider Sidre Tendre (bio-dynamic)

Eric Bordelet makes some of the world's greatest ciders from his organic estate in Normandy, with many trees dating back to the 1700s. The Sidre Tendre is made from more than 30 heirloom varietites of apple and pear, giving a delicious lightly sweet cider at about 4% alcohol. It's perfect as an apéritif and fabulous with pies and cheeses. And light enough to give a sip to the kids...

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling off-dry
  • 0 in stock
  • $11.99

Vignes du Maynes 2011 Bourgogne Ste. Geneviève Brut Rosé

2011 Vignes du Maynes Brut Rosé is riper than the past two vintages of this wine. It's a bit deeper in color with more overt cherry and strawberry Pinot fruit. The earthy and iron-y notes on the nose remain; it's an extremely mineral wine with cranberry, cherry cordial, hibiscus, rosehip, tea leaves, and fruit seeds. Mostly Pinot with a touch of Gamay, there's a tiny bit of funk upon first opening, but nothing excessive. The fruits are pure and the wine takes on more irony depth the longer it's open. Terrific length. Easy and delicious, generous and satisfying, but by no means insubstantial. (No added sulfur) -Sophie Barrett

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $21.99

  • Biodynamic

Piollot NV Extra Brut Réserve Polisot

This is such a fresh and delicious value Champagne from Roland Piollot in Polisot (Côte des Bars). The blend is 50/40/10 Pinot/Chardonnay/Meunier, raised in stainless steel with native yeast and bottled Extra Brut. Of course for fans of the Marie-Courtin Champagnes, this is a natural fit, but it's a delicious bottle in its own right regardless of the relationship to Marie-Courtin (Dominique Moreau, winemaker at Marie-Courtin, is married to Roland Piollot and has a hand in the winemaking at Piollot). The nose offers delicate orchard fruits, pear, apple, etc... along with a hint of candied citrus peel and white flower. The palate is suave, finely textured, well-balanced, zesty but far from austere for an Extra Brut. Simply unbeatable... especially for the price. Take our advice and stock up on these fantastic value bubbles for the holidays. (Based on the 2009 and 2010 vintages; disgorged March 2013). MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $39.99

  • Organic

Mignon, Christophe NV Pur Meunier Brut Nature Festigy Pinot Meunier

We tried Christophe Mignon's excellent Pinot Meunier Champagnes last winter in France and are very happy (and also thirsty...) to find they are here! The gentleman who sells them to us referred to this reasonably priced Brut Nature bottling as "the poor man's Prevost" and we catch his drift. Mignon, a hardcore biodynamic farmer, works with 30 parcels of Meunier in Festigny in the Vallée de la Marne. This is a ripe, nutty, full-fruited yet totally dry Champagne that is earthy, herbal, and full of red cherry fruit. This wine is a joy to sip. MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $48.99

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $15.99

Lafouge 2011 Meursault (Les Clous)

Our best value white Burgundies come from the tiny estate of Jean and Gilles Lafouge in Auxey-Duresses. The Lafouge "village" Meursault is from Les Cloux, high on the slope among the so-called "deuxième cru," where the thin stony soils give racy, elegant wines. The 2011 Meursault has pretty apple, floral, chalky white fruit aromas, with a dense palate that is quite mineral and long — really a wine of terroir that will be perfect with any elegant meal this summer. The Lafouge Meursault "Casses-Tetes" and Auxey-Duresses "Les Boutonnieres" would be great choices as well. DL

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $43.99

Pignard 2011 Régnié

Quite different than the austere, intensely mineral 2010, the 2011 Regnié from Roland and Joëlle Pignard shows lovely deep aromas of red-currant and strawberry liqueur, with hints of cool blueberry fruit. Full and ripe on the palate but also light and refereshing at 12.5% alcohol and with ample acidity. The slightly bitter mineral acids linger in the finish with the berry fruit. This is an outstanding Beaujolais from beautiful high-altitude vineyards. Certified biodynamic, minimal SO2, analysis usually below 10mg/l total.

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $18.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Baudry 2012 Chinon Les Granges

We're very happy that the NY Times has chosen the delicious 2012 Baudry "Les Granges" as one of their "Wines for Thanksgiving!"  It's a great choice – all Cabernet Franc from a vineyard of gravel and sandy soils near the Vienne, with lovely strawberry/blackberry fruit aromas and a supple palate with round fruit balanced by refreshing acidity. Chinon is wonderful with the Thanksgiving meal, and another good choice is the 2011 Baudry Chinon "Domaine,"  also at $18.99. Available locally only at Chambers Street, this wine is from vineyards on gravel and on limestone with clay, giving a firmer structure and a more complex palate.  A real Chinon of terroir, it's drinking beautifully now.

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $18.99

Saint Pierre 2012 Arbois Poulsard Petit Curoulet

In 2012 this wine has a touch of Pinot Noir in it! Yum. We like that it has the delicate weight of Poulsard but with slightly more body. In the spirit of the last vintage of Petit Curoulet, this wine has expressive, pure, tangy red fruit on the nose, fruit seeds, fresh herbs, and sour cherry pits. The palate is sheer and vibrant. With 2 mgs sulfur added after malolactic fermentation and none at bottling, we'd say this is a job well done! MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $28.99

Les Fouques 2012 Cotes de Provence La Londe

A  beautiful rosé from Les Fouques in Hyères, certified organic and biodynamic for more than twenty years. Pale copper/onion skin color, very subtle earthy peach, citrus, red fruit and spice aromas. Light-bodied but with great length, the palate is a complex blend of citrusy red fruits, earth and spices that finishes with lingering mineral flavors. This will deepen over the next 6 to 12 months and is delicious now. Subtle enough for oysters mignonette, great with grilled fish, even roast chicken. Highly recommended. This will be lovely for Thanksgiving — subtle but with enough flavor and density to complement all the traditional dishes. Also think of the suberb Hauvette Rosé "Petra," the full-flavored deep-colored Ilarria Rosé from Irouleguy and the earthy and delicilus Domaine Guion Rosé from Bourgueil. DL

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé
  • 0 in stock
  • $16.99

Dirler-Cade 2011 Alsace Riesling

Alsatian wines are somewhat traditional for Thanksgiving. Though folks often gravitate toward the floral and aromatic Gewurztraminer, we think this phemonenal Riesling from Dirler-Cadé would be just perfect for Thanksgiving fare. With beautiful aromas of white stone fruits on the nose, the palate is somewhat unctuous but by no means hot or fat. A very racy spine of acidity seems to lift the palate and brings out the wine's succulent, juicy, fleshy fruit flavors. Delicious mineral notes on the finish complete the experience. If there's any leftover after the turkey, this wine also does wonders for scallops. MSB 

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $20.99

Saetti, Vigneto 2012 Lambrusco Salamino di S.Croce

Lambrusco may be a perfect Thanksgiving wine – festive bubbles, dry but fruity, crisp and able to match the sweet-sour intense richness of the meal. Plus, this wine has enough warm fruit to keep the whole clan happy – even your Aunt (like mine) who thinks she doesn’t care for dry wine. Salamino is normally part of the local blend — it's unusual to find on its own. The wine has typically dark Lambrusco color, but none of the typical excessively grapey and cloying aromas and flavors. There are dark fruit aromas, and cedar, and tobacco; it’s a wine that needs food to balance the tannins and extract. Our favorite Lambrusco to date – this is actually a pretty serious wine. JW

  • Out of Stock
  • red sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $17.99

Cà de Noci 2011 Bianco Frizzante Querciole

We are lucky to be able to work with lots of exciting sparkling wines from Italy that are made from unique or rare varieties. Ca de Noci’s “Querciole” is a perfect example made of the variety Spergola. Spergola used to be more widely found in Emilia-Romagna, and works beautifully in sparkling wines because of its naturally high acid. The wine acquires its bubbles through a second fermentation in bottle like Champagne or Trapiste ales. Aromatically there is a very pleasant hint of marmalade; on the palate it’s a serious food wine that is dry with strong tannins and occasionally sediment. This would be absolutely delightful with cured meats and cheeses at the beginning of a holiday feast, but has enough richness to stand up to whatever your main course may be.  JR

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • $18.99

Biondi, Ciro 2010 Etna Bianco

This wine is at a peak and is drinking absolutely beautifully. We like it for Thanksgiving because it’s graceful and crisp, but also fairly full bodied and richly textured. From pure lava soils, the acid and mineral of the wine will work with cranberry – and there’s not much that will. Thanksgiving or no, this is a gorgeous wine. JW

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $24.99

Occhipinti, Andrea 2011 Lazio Alea Viva

To our taste, Alea Viva 2011 is a spectacular, knock-out wine. No one here really knows what Aleatico (the grape used) is ‘supposed’ to be like, and we certainly didn’t know how good it could be. If you think you like Pinot Noir with your turkey, try something new, and quite possibly better, at least as far as a food match goes. This has Pinot weight – light to medium body, with great depth of fruit like cherry kirsch, some attractive earthiness, and a lot of savory aspects. Plenty of intensity but relatively low alcohol – this is really a lovely bottle of wine. JW

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $21.99

Ar.Pe.Pe. 2010 Rosso di Valtellina

Hand-harvested from the treacherous heights of northern Lombardy at heights around 4,200 feet, this is 100% Nebbiolo from Ar.Pe.Pe.'s Grumello and Sassella sites, fermented in stainless steel and aged for 3 months in older, neutral oak. Perfect Nebbiolo for Thanksgiving, with no prominent tannins but a bright, medicinal Alpine concentration. There is a certain richness and viscous mouthfeel to complement its higher-toned fruit, making it a harmonizing foil to savory, earthy, meats and vegetables but also a refreshing, cleansing tonic to the starchy and the saccharine. JK

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $33.99

Scholium Project 2012 FTP Kirschenmann on the Mokelumne

Abe Schoener's Napa-based Scholium Project has become a go-to for oddly beautiful white wines and FTP is no exception -- a stunning peachy rose quartz in the glass with musky pear and white pepper on the nose and tons of fuzzy orchard peach and dry tropical notes (papaya and mango) on the palate. 100% Pinot Gris from the silica-rich sandstone soils of Lodi's Kirschenmann Vineyard, which is planted to century-old, head-trained, dry-farmed Zinfandel vines with a little bit of 40-year-old Pinot Gris. A handful of whole clusters were submerged in the fermenting juice, which gives FTP its distinctive hue and texture. (500ml bottle) AR

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $36.99

Edmunds St. John 2012 El Dorado County Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir

With all of the excitement over California’s new crop of winemakers who are invested in making balanced, food-friendly wines, it’s easy to forget some of the longtime producers of deliciously drinkable west coast wines.  Steve Edmunds gave most of us our first experience of California Gamay with his “Bone Jolly” – a play on the word “Beaujolais” packaged in a bottle with skeletons on the label.  Steve encouraged the planting of Gamay on high elevation vineyards in the Sierra Foothills with volcanic soils similar to those found in the Beaujolais.  It’s an understatement to say that our shelves are now crowded with many other domestic Gamays, but Steve’s example is always a delight that shows the grape’s balance of refreshing acidity and joyful berry and plum fruit.  If you haven’t tried one in a while, we suggest you check in.  JR

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $19.99

Via Arxentea 2012 Monterrei Treixadura y Godello

Via Arxentea is equal parts Godello and Treixadura from the sandy/clay soils of Monterrei in Galicia, fermented with native yeasts and raised in stainless steel. Exotic and spicy aromas of lime zest, crisp pineapple, white grapefruit, meyer lemon, and subtle pink florals prime the palate for flavors of crisp green apple, musky guava, freshly cut grass, gentle acidity, and a long, mineral finish. AR

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $14.99

Ponce 2012 Manchuela Clos Lojen

Juan Antonio Ponce's entry level cuvee, from 30-year-old organic and biodynamic Bobal vines in Manchuela, is light-bodied but full of intense fruit and acid — dense black raspberry, tart purple plum, and wild blueberry fruit with pronounced minerality and taut youthful tannins. This is a lifted, poised, and positively delicious natural wine at a price that encourages stockpiling. According to Ponce himself, this vintage of Clos Lojen is the best he's made and worthy of aging. Ariana Rolich

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $12.99

Aphros 2011 Pan Espumante Rose Vinhao

Pan is a deep, garnet-hued rose from 100% Vinhao, a wild and racy red grape from Portugal (Souson in Spain). The flavors are intense and joyful, with crisp cranberry, sprightly orange zest, tart cherry, and all the acidity and authenticity that we have come to expect from the biodynamic wines of Aphros. A brilliant pairing for casual barbecues as well as a mouthwatering apéritif. AR

  • Out of Stock
  • red sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $21.99

Knebel 2012 Mosel Riesling

Knebel's basic estate Riesling, the dry one that is soaked with minerals, the one we keep stacked up in the front of the store, the one we sell from the fridge, is finally getting some recognition. As we wrote recently, Matthias Knebel is continuing to come into his own as a winemaker, and 2012 is poised to be seen as his breakout year, one in which vintage conditions aligned perfectly with his stylistic ambitions. Matthias is a really great, talented guy and deserves your support. Drink more Knebel! JFR

Forward and herbaceous, with a dark, mysterious depth. Quince and Anjou pear notes add richness which is balanced by a chewy structure. A complex, soulful, wine with the added benefit of being simply delicious. JK

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $17.99

Koch, Holger 2010 Baden Pinot Noir*

We've been getting more excited recently by all the great new German Pinot Noir that has been coming our way, and this is one of the best yet. Coming from the tense, high-acid, high ripeness vintage of 2010, this superb red reminds us a high-toned 1er Cru Cote de Beaune -- red and black pinot fruit along with earth and striking mineral character and no noticeable influence of wood. This is the real deal, very autumnal and just what we want to drink right now. John Ritchie

One-star is Holger's equivalent of Premier Cru, and these vines are from a massale-planted parcel of 10-15 year-old vines farmed without chemicals on a mix of volcanic and limestone soils. Fermented with partial stem-inclusion and raised in a mix of 2-3 year old Stockinger barriques, demi-muids, and fuders, the oak use is light-handed and integrated with the warm, lush fruit. Tart acid and detailed layers belie a serious nature to the wine despite it's ease and effortless grace. Though many red wines in Baden are chaptalized, Koch does not take advantage of this and instead works harder than his peers to achieve proper balance and ripeness through carefully selecting for the best grapes. He also manages to use a light touch in the cellar to keep this exceptional fruit in the foreground. The worst qualities of German red wines may be found among those that aspire to be Burgundy but only succeed in being torpid, over-oaked, and expensive. This, by contrast, is subtle, true to its origins and truly world-class. Jonathan Kemp

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $28.99

Adam, A.J. 2012 Mosel Riesling Dhron Hofberg Kabinett 1.5 L

Every year I like to recommend a Kabinett Riesling to have on the table at Thanksgiving. A little residual goes a long way when pairing with sweeter fare on Thanksgiving, with all those sauces, sweet onions and gravies. There's nothing more festive then a giant magnum of German Riesling, either; it will make the perfect centerpiece as it towers above all else on the table!

The best Adam Kabinett in years -- and in magnum! This one's light as a feather and drier than previous vintages (it's still well into Kabinett territory, though, this is by no means a Feinherb). High-toned aromas with spicy herbs, cinnamon and light citrus notes mingle on the nose with great balance and cool, dark minerals on the finish. Fermented entirely in wood, so no stinky, reductive aromas are too be found. JFR

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $81.99

Adam, A.J. 2012 Mosel Riesling Dhroner Hofberg Kabinett

The best Adam Kabinett in years. This one's light as a feather and drier than previous vintages (it's still well into Kabinett territory, though, this is by no means a Feinherb). High-toned aromas with spicy herbs, cinnamon and light citrus notes mingle on the nose with great balance and cool, dark minerals on the finish. Fermented entirely in wood, so no stinky, reductive aromas are too be found. -jfr

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $28.99

Von Racknitz 2012 Nahe Riesling Trocken

The new release of the New York Times' best value dry Riesling of 2013! Matthias Adams leaves this crisp wine on the lees in stainless steel tank for three months longer than most other estates in Germany, which he thinks adds to its depth and complexity. We agree, as there aren't very many Estate wines (Gutsriesling) that we've come across with this kind of depth (aside from out other favorite estates, of course). This is clean, fresh, clearly-delineated, and crisp as all get out. Green apples, fresh melons, and so, so drinkable. One of the great values in the German section. (Pictured: The Oberhäuser Kieselberg with the Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle in the background) -jfr

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $17.99