A wine for every holiday mood

A wine for every mood

Recommendations of real-life wine choices to go with Thanksgiving scenarios, real or imagined.

Orphans' potluck

Beaujolais. Any bottle that names a village, such as Morgon, or is from the great 2003 vintage, is a safe bet, with Jadot being one of the most consistent and dedicated producers.

Spanish reds. Look for "Joven" or "Crianza" on the label; try the wines of Bodega Viña Bajoz or Val Viadero, from Toro, or Casa da la Ermita, from Jumilla.

Dolcettos. These are Piemonte's affordable, undervalued wines. The most serious come from from Dogliani, where little else is grown. Pecchenino and San Romano are meticulous producers.

Noble effort

California Chardonnay. There are many classic fruit forward California Chardonnays, but Sonoma Cutrer makes one of the most iconic. Cambria and Au Bon Climat, both from the Central Coast, are great choices as well.

Australian Shiraz. Grocery shelves are crowded with Australian Shirazes these days, but Rosemount, Tintara and Leasingham provide some of the smoothest and most reliable.

Zinfandel. Choose from one of the four Rs: Ridge, Rosenblum, Rafanelli and a new kid on the block, Roshambo.

Epicurean event

Austrian Weissburgunder. Two of Austria's finest Weissburgunders come from Heidi Schrock and Rudi Pichler.

Alsatian Pinot Blanc. Hugel or Albert Boxler make broad, forward delicious wines from the grape.

Argentinian Malbec. Look for those from Achaval Ferrer, Catena or Altos Las Hormigas.

Sherry. There are a surprising number of fine sherries out there, but the two most esteemed houses are Lustau, with its dry olorosos and palo cortados, and Hidalgo, with its amontillados.

Intimate gathering

Loire. Among Chenin Blancs, choose Vouvray from Huet or Chidaine for its rich yet minerally complexity. Cabernet Francs from Chinon and Bourgueil make superb, gentle pairings with turkey. Seek out Joguet for Chinon and Breton for Bourgueil.

Oregon Pinot Gris. There are many good Oregon Pinot Gris, but among the finest and are King Estate, Ponzi, and A to Z.

Madeira. Finding the right Madeira may turn into a labor of love. At five years of age it's delicious, but it's relatively easy to find bottles that date back to the early 1900s, even the 19th century, and they won't bankrupt you the way d'Yquem would. Blandy's, Broadbent and Henriques & Henriques are a few of the more well-regarded houses.

Grand affair

Champagne. There are many to choose from, but Agrapart and Bollinger are current favorites. Rosé works well with Thanksgiving fare as well; try those from Billecart-Salmon.

Rhône whites. Select a rich Condrieu from Guigal or Francois Villard or a Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc from Château La Nerthe or Beaucastel.

Bordeaux. In Bordeaux, Right Bank wines work best for Thanksgiving because they're blended with softer Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Look for Châteaux Figeac, Angelus or La Mondotte from St. Emilion; Hosanna, Le Pin or Vieux Chateau Certan from Pomerol. They may cost you, but they'll certainly impress.

Napa Valley Cabernet. Napa Cabs, cult or otherwise, will have the tannins to contend with even the richest meal. One with star-power will show some California flair too. Niebaum-Coppola's Rubicon, Dominus, Araujo Eisele or Shafer all make impressive choices.

-- Patrick Comiskey

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