Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Here are suggestions for red, white and sparkling wines with Thanksgiving dinner. In each category is a splurge, a moderately priced selection and a local option.


Paraiso Pinot Noir 2006
California, $25

This is a nicely balanced pinot noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands, with cherry and plum flavors accented by smoke from wood aging. It tastes a tad sweet, which should make it ideal for Thanksgiving.

Country Vintner: available at Rodman's, Calvert Woodley and Morris Miller in the District; at Evo Bistro in McLean.

Produttori di Govone Barbera d'Alba Superiore 2005
Italy, $14
(Good Value)

Barbera is an exceptionally food-friendly and versatile grape, and this classically styled Piedmont wine offers earthy, mushroom and soy flavors and a slightly tannic finish. Fine now, and should age well for at least two or three years.

Dionysus: available at all area Balducci's locations, Whole Foods in the District and Virginia, Iron Bridge Wine in Columbia and Warrenton, Va., and Unwined in Alexandria.

Barboursville Cabernet Franc Reserve 2006
Virginia, $23

Consistently one of Virginia's best reds, this wine loves to play hard to get. To coax it into revealing its potential, decant two hours before mealtime, then after an hour pour it into another decanter.

Country Vintner in the District: available at Calvert Woodley, Wine Specialist and Paul's of Chevy Chase. Republic National in Virginia: available at Arrowine in Arlington, Unwined in Alexandria and various Whole Foods Markets.


Vision Cellars Blanc Gris 2007
California, $20

A blend of sauvignon blanc and pinot gris, this almost masquerades as Riesling. It smells of fresh peaches, canned peaches and peach compote; its full mouth feel and touch of residual sugar pairs well with fruit and spice flavors in Thanksgiving fare.

Nice Legs: available at Chat's Liquors and Modern Liquors in the District; at Cork & Fork in Bethesda; at Maison du Vin in Great Falls, Rick's Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Vienna Vintner in Vienna, Vineyard of Virginia in McLean and the Wine Seller in Herndon.

Winzer von Erbach, Erbacher Honigberg Riesling 2007 (1 liter)
* 1/2
Germany, $14
(Good Value)

This selection from Rheingau offers an extra one-third of a bottle for your guzzlin' cousin, but the moderate 10 percent alcohol level should keep him in check. The wine wins on its own merits, with Granny Smith apple flavors and a hint of sweetness. Delightful and thirst quenching.

Kysela: available at Calvert Woodley, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits and Whole Foods Market (P Street) in the District; at in Gaithersburg; at Arrowine in Arlington and Cecile's in McLean.

White Hall Pinot Gris 2006
Virginia, $17

From one of Virginia's most reliable and moderately priced producers, this pinot gris aims for Alsace in style rather than a crisp Italianate pinot grigio (the grape is the same), meaning the mouth feel is rich and the flavors complex enough for the turkey dinner.

Country Vintner: available at Cleveland Park Wine & Spirits in the District.


Le Brun Servenay Brut Selection Grand Cru
Champagne, $45

A beam of red currant and berry fruit shines through and reminds us that champagne is, first and foremost, wine. Great complexity with a minerally finish. A Becky Wasserman selection.

C'est Vin in the District: available at Paul's of Chevy Chase and Zola Wine & Kitchen; on the list at CityZen, Proof, Vidalia and Corduroy.

Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rosé
* 1/2
France, $21

This crisp and refreshing Alsatian has strawberry fruit and palate-cleansing acidity.

Country Vintner in the District: available at Bacchus Wine Cellar, Bell Wine & Spirits, Calvert Woodley and Pearson's; on the list at Zengo, Zaytinya and Rasika. Select Wines in Virginia: available at various Total Wine & More locations.

Thibaut-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay
Virginia, $28

Here's more evidence that Virginia can produce top-notch fizz. Elegant and stylish, with palate-refreshing acidity and subtle fruit that emerges about an hour after opening.

Margaux & Co. Imports: available at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits and Potomac Wine & Spirits in the District; at Cecile's in McLean, Domasoteca in Rosslyn, and Fern Street Gourmet, Planet Wine & Gourmet and Rick's Wine & Gourmet, all in Alexandria.


*** Exceptional

** Excellent

* Very good

Prices are approximate. Check to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through the distributor.

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