Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
Here are some wine suggestions for the Thanksgiving meal, including a splurge on a California pinot noir, two stunning whites from unexpected places and a quirky, fizzy Italian red to steal everyone’s attention away from the canned cranberry sauce.
Cadre Pinot Noir The Architects 2008
Central Coast, Calif., $50
Winemaker Christian Roguenant has a talent for expressing the best of pinot noir in California’s Central Coast region. For Cadre he blends pinot from four of the region’s best vineyards: Firepeak in Edna Valley, Laetitia in Arroyo Grande Valley, Bien Nacido in the Santa Maria Valley and La Encantada in the Sta. Rita Hills. This beautiful wine is pinot with power, but it stays in balance with a rich, silky texture. Roguenant’s excellent wines from Baileyana winery are less expensive and possibly easier to find.
Country Vintner: Available in the District at Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Frederick Wine House, Rodman’s in Wheaton, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington. Available in Virginia at Arrowine in Arlington, Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean; on the list at Evo Bistro in McLean.
McPherson Cellars Les Copains 2011
This lovely Rhone-style white blends grenache blanc, viognier and roussanne into a floral bouquet of exotic aromas and tastes, with an unctuous texture that gives added weight without making the wine ponderous. This is a wine you will want to keep close to your end of the table.
Siema: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Wagshal’s Market. Available in Maryland at the Bottle Shop, World Gourmet Wine & Beer in Potomac; Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring. Available in Virginia at Ashburn Wine Shop; Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean; Curious Grape, Grateful Red Wine & Gift Shop, Oby Lee Winery in Arlington; Little Washington Winery Tasting Room in Washington; Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria; Olde Dominion Wine Shoppe in Occoquan; Wine Cabinet in Reston; Unwined in Alexandria and Belleview.
Stolpman Vineyards Estate Grown Syrah 2010
Santa Ynez Valley, Calif., $28
California syrah gets a bad rap, but Stolpman Vineyards produces consistently delicious Rhone-style wines based on syrah for reds and roussanne for whites. The Estate Grown syrah shows the smoky bacon notes characteristic of the grape, with lots of ripe black cherry and blueberry fruit.
Country Vintner: Available in the District at Cowgirl Creamery, Pearson’s, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Maryland at Decanter Fine Wines in Columbia, Pine Orchard Wine in Ellicott City, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington. Available in Virginia at Balducci’s in Alexandria.
Fiorini Becco Rosso Lambrusco Grasparossa 2011
Emilia-Romagna, Italy, $13
Yes, you read that correctly. Lambrusco. But this is not the bubble-gummy sweet swill your mother used to keep a jug of in the refrigerator door. The quality revolution has reached this area of Italy, and Fiorini leads the way with three delightful wines of increasing complexity and interest. The Becco Rosso is the introductory wine. Chill it for about 30 minutes (Mom had that part right!) and then pair it with any robust menu. It’s fizzy, tart and just a little bitter on the finish, making it versatile with food and refreshing to the palate. The earthy, dark-fruit flavors are captivating. Corte degli Attimi ($17) is a bit more delicate and light, while Terre al Sole ($18) is an old-vines example, with extra depth and complexity. Because they are unusual, these wines are hard to find, but the following retailers generally have one or more Fiorini wines.
Bacchus: Available in the District at MacArthur Beverages; on the list at Corduroy, Dino, Palena. Available in Maryland at Chesapeake Wine Co. in Baltimore, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Midway Discount Liquors in Joppa.
Chateau Grand Traverse Whole Cluster Riesling 2011
Old Mission Peninsula, Mich., $18
Gotta love a winery that puts “Riesling” on a separate tab next to “White Wines” on its Web site. When I recommended this wine to my sister, she said, “Great wine from Michigan; what will they think of next?” That’s a common reaction, but as more of these fine wines reach our market, the astonishment will change to enthusiasm. This is not a classic Riesling. It lacks the mineral quality and richness we expect; however the fruit is enticing, ephemeral and haunting, like a classic rock tune you hear on the radio and can’t stop humming for days.
Siema: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Wagshal’s Market. Available in Maryland at Bethesda Chevy Chase Beer & Wine and Cork & Fork in Bethesda, Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring, Finewine.com in Gaithersburg. Available in Virginia at Little Washington Winery Tasting Room in Washington, Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Screwtop Wine Bar & Cheese Shop in Arlington.
Canals Canals Rosat Reserva Brut Nature Cava
Penedes, Spain, $16
Bright red, like iridescent strawberries, this delightful sparkler would be good for a toast before dinner. It will pair well with the feast, not just because bubbles go with everything, but because the fruit and acidity will help tame the richness of the food.
Nice Legs: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley. Available in Maryland at Bin 201 Wine Sellers in Annapolis. Available in Virginia at Curious Grape, Grateful Red Wine & Gift Shop in Arlington; Wine Cabinet in Reston; Wine House in Fairfax.