Recommendations

★ ★ ★Exceptional  ★ ★Excellent ★Very Good

Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be sold at additional stores. Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.


(Scott Suchman/For The Washington Post)

Thanksgiving should not be an occasion to stress over what wine to serve with the turkey. Rather, we should be thankful for the variety of wines and ciders available to us, and as I always say, “Open one of everything.” Here are five options, including a top California pinot noir, an exceptional Beaujolais Nouveau, Jenny Wagner’s outstanding sauvignon blanc and two French ciders.

— D.M.

Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Russian River Selection 2012/2013

★ ★ ★

Russian River Valley, Calif., $43

The 2013 is winemaker Theresa Heredia’s second vintage at this iconic Russian River property, and it’s even better than her debut in 2012, which was impressive. Both are available now in the Washington area. This is silky, with lots of red-fruit flavors and a tension that makes it vibrant. The only problem with this as a Thanksgiving wine? It might distract you from the turkey. Alcohol by volume: 14.1 percent.

Southern: Available in the District at 1 West Dupont Circle Wines & Liquors, A-1 Wines & Liquors, A. Litteri, Capitol Hill Wine and Spirits, Continental Wine & Liquor, Giant (Seventh Street, Park Road NW), Harris Teeter (various locations), Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Safeway (Wisconsin Avenue NW, MacArthur Boulevard NW), Streets Market & Cafe, Van Ness Wines and Liquors, Whole Foods Market (Glover Park, P Street NW), Wine Specialist; on the list at Hank’s Oyster Bar (Capitol Hill), Le Diplomate, Morton’s Steak House, the Oceanaire Seafood Room, the Oval Room, the Palm, Rasika (Penn Quarter). Available in Maryland at Dawson’s Liquors and Goska’s Liquors in Severna Park; Dunkirk Wine & Spirits; Frederick Wine House; Pine Orchard Liquors in Ellicott City; Potomac Gourmet Market in National Harbor; Total Wine & More (Laurel, Towson); Waterbury Liquors in Crownsville. On the list at Antrim 1844 in Taneytown; Bistro RX, the Oceanaire Seafood Room, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, Supano’s Prime Steakhouse and Quarterhouse Tavern in Baltimore; Brick Ridge in Mount Airy; Carroll’s Creek Cafe in Annapolis; the Chesapeake Inn in Chesapeake City; Hooked in Ocean City; Ranazul in Fulton; Sobo’s Wine Beerstro in Salisbury.

Domaine Foretal Nouveau 2015

★ ★ ★

Beaujolais, France, $14

Beaujolais nouveau, released each year on the third Thursday of November, has become a marketing cliché. But it is also a celebration of the recent harvest, the same reason we observe Thanksgiving, a week later. For nearly two decades, Ed and Barbara Addiss of Wine Traditions have been importing fine French wines from family-owned wineries, including some top notch Beaujolais Crus. This is their first nouveau, and their timing was excellent. 2015 has been a terrific vintage throughout France. This wine has tannin and a stemmy earthiness to balance the traditional fruitiness and banana flavors of nouveau. It’s delicious and food-friendly, and it might have you toasting “Vive la France!” ABV: 13 percent.

Wine Traditions: Available in the District at Arrowine and Spirits, D’Vines, Cork Market; on the list at Ripple. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, J. Emerson Fine Wines & Cheese in Richmond, Tastings of Charlottesville, Unwined (Alexandria, Belleview), Vienna Vintner; on the list at River Bend Bistro in Alexandria.

Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc 2014

★ ★ ★

Napa Valley, Calif., $23

Jenny Wagner does not produce your typical Napa Valley sauvignon blanc. No mango or other tropical fruits here: just a stony minerality that evokes some of the earthier, primal white wines of the Loire Valley in France, arguably the touchstone of sauvignon blanc. This wine is captivating. ABV: 12.5 percent.

Washington Wholesale in the District: Available at Imperial Liquors, Trader Joe’s (14th Street NW, 25th Street NW), Morris Miller Wine & Liquor; on the list at Oceanaire Seafood Room. Country Vintner in Virginia: Available at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean, Grape + Bean (Old Town, Rosemont), Swirl & Sip in Fairfax; Wegmans (various locations), Wine Cabinet in Reston; on the list at Bazin’s on Church in Vienna.

Maison Ferré Cidre de Perche “La Cave de Gabriel”

★ ★1/2

Normandy, France, $14

Sparkling hard cider is an ideal partner to the multitude of foods on the Thanksgiving table: The bubbles are refreshing, the alcohol is low, and cider’s flavors pair well with just about anything. The Maison Ferré is bright and clean with a laser focus. ABV: 5.5 percent.

Wine Traditions: Available in the District at Cork Market; on the list at Maple, Thally. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington.

Domaine Normandie Brut Hard Apple Cider

★ ★

Normandy, France, $9

Rich, and a bit funky and earthy with characteristics of brettanomyces, this cider should appeal to fans of Belgian lambic beers. ABV: 5.5 percent.

M Touton: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Eye Street Cellars, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Magruder’s, Rodman’s. Available in Virginia at the Vineyard in McLean, the Wine Outlet in Vienna.