Thanksgiving Uncorked: Top 10 Wines for the Holiday


“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”– W.T. Purkiser

Another wonderful year nearly ready to put in the can and stored away for posterity. Every year at this time we (in Merica) collectively take a time-out to give a "thanks" for our many blessings. 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, whether you like them or not. I think if we all do that, myself included, we will be better off in the long run. I’m now stepping away from the soapbox, returning you to your regularly scheduled holiday wine review.

It's that time once more, time to bring down from the tippy top of (a peak I hiked back in the day) Mt. Sinai, the Top Ten 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 upcoming holiday, but have no fear, express shipping is here. I still have not purchased my fresh turkey as yet, but with a full weekend just ahead, there's plenty of time to get stocked up on both wine, Turkey, fresh cranberries and other sundry Thanksgiving day accouterments and ingredients to make the holiday festive. 

By and large, these recommendations are written for the procrastinators reading this, those faithful few who've waited patiently to hear the latest pronouncement about top ten tasty selections I've come across this year, which will honestly brighten up their holiday menus next week. Unlike in previous years, this time around, a few white wines will make the 'list,' appetizer selections and a dessert (digestive) wine will also be included. 


1. 2017 Lucky Rock Wine Co. County Cuvee: This lovely tri-county blend of Pinot Noir will rock your Thanksgiving table with its elegant nonchalance. Under a screw cap, so no need to fuss with a cork, it can be opened easily just about anywhere and by anyone. An aromatic bounty of red fruit and baking spice, on the palate, fun, fresh and inviting. So, whether you get to Grandmas house by train, plane or rowboat bring some #holiday cheer with you, like this Tri-County Cuvée from Lucky Rock Wine Co. at $20 a bottle the #QPR is off the charts! Here the link to grab a few bottles. Purchase here. #PinotNoir #promoted

2. Beronia Crianza 2015: What would a Thanksgiving celebration be without some Rioja dressing up the table. A delicious blend of 88% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, 2% Mazuel; aged in both French and American oak for 12 months, bottled in September of 2017, and kept for 3 months before being released. Tasting note starts here: A plum colored red core, showing its traditional bona fides right away, sporting traditional meaty, cherry aromas and flavors, the palate is immediately enveloped by soft tannins, aromas of vanilla and strawberries smeared over fresh toast. A well-made wine genuinely representative of the region, an elegant palate, drinks well from the bottle and has me searching for a paella recipe. 

The finish is mostly in the mid-palate, but it's chock-full of easy drinking light berry flavors which will meld effortlessly with a variety of menu options. So, you have a great food wine that really delivers for a price that's right. I gave this wine of a score of 90 points. Again another wine with excellent QPR selling under $20.



3. Morgan 2016 Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay: In the glass, the wine is light in appearance, a thinly veiled straw color and clarity wise it was clear. Soon as I got a splash of this bad boy in my glass I knew, I was in for a real treat. Vivid aromas escaped easily from the glass, fall apples and ripe pairs mingle nicely with caramelized oak, and you could smell the freshly buttered toast and vanilla richness, giving an open invitation to dive in.

This wine is no slouch in the flavor department either; delivers baking spices, wet-stone, clove, hazelnut and a bite of crisp, ripe apples, plumbed with mouth-watering acidity, keeping the vibrant fruit in check. The finish is long and lasting. A perfect wine to pair with food or to simply drink on its own. I scored this wine 91 points, this is the everyday drinking category. A fantastic value selling for under $30, I'm a huge fan of Chardonnay from this region.


4. 2015 Duckhorn Three Palms Vineyard, Napa Valley: Wow, an honor for Duckhorn to receive the Wine Speculator number one wine of the year. That kind of recognition is high praise, and from my estimation, it's likely well deserved. A Right Bank like blend, featuring 91% Merlot, and the blending varietals Cab-Sauv, Petit Verdot and Cab-Franc perfuming the aromas bouncing from the glass like wood -nymphs on crack. Merlot on my Thanksgiving table, you betcha!

Here comes the tasting note; the nose is immediately captivating, selling itself like a summer blockbuster trailer with heady dark and red fruits, licorice and an enticing funkiness which you just can't look away from. The fleshy palate revealing leather, vanilla spice, licorice, plum sauce, and dried figs.

After a few refreshing sips, slurps and a slyly erupting burp (gasp), a basket of delight exploded, spilling cassis, black cherries, dark plums, a meatiness, and a hint of a savory balsamic note on the long and lasting finish. Well, integrated long-chain tannins danced to the merry tunes, while the structure left no doubt, this wine has decades of cellar aging ahead of it. This wine is collector territory. My score for this gem is 95 points.



5. 2015 Château de la Charrière, Red Burgundy: This tasty Pinot Noir, and relatively inexpensive everyday Pinot Noir Bourgogne. This wine is what you'd call 'easy on the eyes,' ready to drink, and with more de-stemming than in the past, this wine shines brightly in aroma, taste. Still a complex, and wonderfully robust with long-chain tannins which fold effortlessly into the fruit. The finish is long and lasting. At the SRP of $18.99, the QPR is off the charts. This is a quick pop and pour wine, that will leave you scratching your head about its affable nature and its unbelievable affordability, 90 points. 


6. NV Domaine de Bois Moze Cremant de Loire Brut, France: This wine is one hundred percent Chenin using méthode champenoise to create the delicate, yet tightly formed well-honed bubbles. The overall flavor profile was pleasing and sporting newly bloomed honeysuckle perfuming the air, a slight citrus note, summer-ripe white peaches, pears, and crushed river rock. The finish was medium to long, pleasing, inviting another sip, swirl, and slurp. An excellent pairing partner with spicy cuisine or as summer aperitif before the main event. This wine earned a score of 87 points, and the price ranges from $15.99 to $20. Another solid buy recommendation, fantastic appetizer selection.


7. NV Gratien & Meyer Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé, France: In the glass, you can see a gorgeous salmon leaning toward tangerine in color. What we have here is a sophisticated Crémant de Loire Rosé made by macerating the one hundred percent Cabernet Franc grapes and, using méthode champenoise to create the delicate finely honed bubbles. A medium bodied wine, mild to chewy tannins, a bouquet bursting with the aromas of freshly sliced strawberries and red currants.

The palate is plush, and the acid keeps things interesting, bright cherry, tangerine, a hint of crusty bread, and strawberry compote with a long and lasting finish. An excellent food wine, which delivers far beyond its very reasonable price, I paired it with hickory smoked pulled pork sandwichs, a side of broccoli slaw and sweet potato fries, this pairing was nothing short of hog-heaven. This wine earned a score of 91 points, and the price ranges from $15.99 to $20. Another strong buy recommendation and it's awarded the highly coveted, "drink now and drink often" citation.


8. 2012 Scacciadiavoli Umbria Grechetto: I found the nose brimming with fruit, bright stone fruit apricots, a whiff of almonds, with some floral notes stirred into the mix. The color is hued in gold, leaning toward straw. After the first slurp, bam, lemon/lime, apricots and white flowers floating on a canvas of rich, round flavors, but with a gentle slap of acidity to keep you coming back for more. My score, a comfortable 90 points and makes a great food wine that easily will pair with a majority of appetizers.

In my opinion, this is the quintessential white grape of the Umbria; a bottle of wine that sells for about eight Euros most place is starting to come ashore here in the U.S selling in the $15 - $18 range. I highly recommend this wine for everyday drinking and again award it 90 points. So what are you waiting for; grab yourself some of the Umbrian experience for yourself, to see what I'm talking about.


9. 2014 Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge AVA: Last but certainly not least is 'gem' from right here in Oregon, wow, this wines elegance, and acid brought harmony to the opulent fruit. In a word, this wine is plush. This wine has a long lingering finish, plumbed with baking spices, sandalwood, cut tea, cranberries danced and raspberry backup singers jammed in the background. It would be a steal at $35, but the going SRP is $50. Only 250 cases produced. I scored this wine 91 points. Still, I'd grab some for yourself before they disappear.


10. Croft 430 Anniversary Port: You always need to save room for dessert and what would my blog be without a recommendation on one the tastier options for after dinner than this Croft 430 Ruby style port, ready to dress up that pumpkin pie. To celebrate the 430th anniversary of Croft, this elegant port is readying to rock your Thanksgiving table. In the glass, you can expect an opaque purple leaning toward a deep red colored edge. Sticking your nose the glass expect a raft of compact, intense, florals, blackcurrant and cherry aromas. After the first slurp, wow nice, a fully expressive but firm, plump fruit flavors stretched over mellow tannin structure and a lasting finish. My score 90 points. Bonus, this wine comes in a give giving tumbler tube.

From my house to yours this holiday season, here's to a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving; and whatever you do, I hope you uncork some great holiday memories until next time remember life is short, compromise is for relationships continue to sip long and prospers cheers!

All original content: Including text and photographs remain the copyright © of the author, (W.R. Eyer, Fotogui Photography Inc., and Cuvee Corner Media Productions) except where otherwise noted.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed wines are medias sample provided (not for sale) for the review process. Also please note, one of the selections listed experienced and sampled above is a paid promotion, by the LRWC. Everything else you see in this article was merely sent as a sample for the review process and appear here at the editorial consideration of the Cuvee Corner Wine Blog.

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