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Thanksgiving Wines from Around the World
By Jessica Dupuy
Nov 10, 2020
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As we near the time-honored American holiday of Thanksgiving, it's a good time to start thinking about which wines we want to serve for our feast of thankfulness.  Of course, this year may look a little different than others.  Gatherings may not be as large, and traveling may be much more inhibited.  But that doesn't mean we can't take a few moments to be grateful for the good things in life.  In the case of wine, I know I'm grateful for the many regions around the world that are growing and crafting some of my favorites wines.  This Thanksgiving, these are the ones I plan to show off.  

Charles Heidsieck (Champagne, France) Rosé Réserve NV ($87):  For some of the most delicate bubbles around—and not just in terms of texture—France's Champagne region reigns, and Charles Heidsieck is one of the region's classics.  Sparkling Rosé adds a little depth and intrigue to the sparkling experience.  This blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, 20% of which is selected from cellar reserve wines, is a fantastic opener for any occasion.  Boasting a bright, pink hue, aromas of fresh strawberry and pomegranate lead to a delicate palate that offers a mélange of fruit and spice.  96

JANSZ Tasmania (Australia) Premium Cuvée NV ($30):  The name Jansz pays homage to Tasmania's namesake, the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman, who first sighted the island in 1642.  The vineyards are planted in red, free-draining basalt soils on the northeast side of the island in the region commonly referred to as "Sparkling Tasmania."  Here, temperatures are generally cool and are moderated by ocean breezes.  With lovely aromas of lemon zest, French brioche, and nutty nougat, this wine is fresh and delicate on the palate with notes of baked lemon and toasted hazelnuts.  91

Segura Viudas Cava (Penedes, Catalonia Spain) NV ($11):  For an excellent value in sparkling wine, look to Spanish Cava producers such as Segura Viudas.  Drawing on centuries-old Cava traditions in Catalonia's Penedès region, Segura Viudas has garnered a reputation for quality traditional method sparkling wine.  With notes of pear, citrus blossom, and tropical fruit, this Brut selection offers a broad palate with depth and complexity and a long, dry finish.  It is a perfect aperitif wine for enjoying with charcuterie and cheese boards.  91

White

Priest Ranch (Napa Valley, California) Grenache Blanc 2018 ($22):  Located on the eastern hills of Napa Valley, the historic Priest Ranch is home to 240 acres of vineyard planted along the hillsides of its more than 1,600-acre property.  Though known most widely for Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, the ranch's landscape (reminiscent of the Southern Rhône Valley), led to an experimental planting of Grenache Blanc, which has proven exceptionally successful.  With aromas of ripe stone fruit and fleshy lemon pulp, this wine offers a broad palate with medium body and a bright and refreshing finish—an excellent match for roasted squash or the traditional turkey dinner.  91

Herdade Do Rocim Mariana (Alentejo, Portugal) Vinho Branco White Blend 2017 ($15):  Portugal's white wines are starting to gain some ground in the U.S., thanks to pioneering producers like Alentejo's Herdade Do Esporao.  This selection hails from the same region from a producer of equal caliber and quality.  The Mariana is a lovely marriage of Alentejo's top three white grapes, including 60% Antão Vaz (a particularly strong variety for the region), 30% Arinto and 10% Alvarinho.  With bashful floral and baked lemon and honey aromas, this wine is deliciously vibrant on the palate with a touch of weight in the body—an excellent pairing for cuisine that could use a little punch.  93

Duca di Salaparuta (Sicily, Italy) Grillo “Kados” 2019 ($12):  From the sun baked island of Sicily, this beautifully vibrant Grillo was grown in the calcareous soils of the Risignolo region.  Though this is a grape commonly used in Marsala production, when handled carefully in the vineyard, its strength and assertiveness can be subdued—especially with a little touch of oak from barrique fermentation and a few months of aging.  This selection is fresh and bright with notes of green apple and sun-kissed lemon that soften to a pleasantly silken palate.  94

Alois Lageder Alto Adige, Italy Pinot Grigio “Porer” 2018 ($26):  Tasting the wines of Alois Lageder is a bit like transporting directly to the alpine region of Alto Adige, where apple orchards blanket the verdant valleys, and cool climate vineyards cling to the foothills and hillsides.  As one of the leading biodynamic producers in the region, Alois Lageder is also a proponent of innovation, and this Pinot Grigio is a case in point.  This is a blend of three separate processes, including a direct press portion, a portion that rested on skins for 15 hours, and a third portion placed in contact with stems and skins for about one year.  The result is a beautifully complex and provocative wine that elevates Pinot Grigio to a different level.  94

Rosé

Château Roubine (Côtes de Provence, France) “La Rosé” 2018 ($30):  If you ask me, no Thanksgiving is complete without a good rosé on hand.  And if you're looking for a quintessential rosé selection, you can't go wrong with the Château Roubine La Rosé.  This estate is one of only 14 Cru Classé in the region of Provence, spanning more than 200 hectares, 90 of which are planted with 13 different organically farmed varieties.  This wine is generous with notes of ripe strawberries, raspberries, and whispers of thyme.  With a medium body, this lovely rosé offers vibrancy from start to finish.  It doesn't hurt that the beautiful floral screen-print design on the bottle makes it an elegant accent for the table.  92

Red

Clos des Quatres Vents (Beaujolais, France) Fleurie 2018 ($24) :  You can't have Thanksgiving without a Beaujolais, and while this one isn't in the nouveau style, it's a perfect complement to the Thanksgiving table.  This wine is produced by a family-owned estate vineyard managed by Georges Duboeuf.  Offering all of the juicy, fruity delights you'd expect from the playful Gamay variety, this selection, which hails from the iconic pink granite soils of Fleurie, also offers a chiseled structure and a touch of earthiness no doubt a blessing from La Madone chapel, that overlooks this rolling vineyard.  94

Domaine Bousquet Gualtallary, Uco Valley, Argentina) Red Blend “Gaia” 2018 ($22):  In the Gualtallary sub-region of the Uco Valley, Domaine Bousquet has made its mark as the first Certified Organic winegrower in the Uco Valley.  This blend of Malbec, Syrah, and a touch of Cabernet is rich in color and substantial in backbone, although round and soft overall.  Dried herbs floral aromas frame a rich, fruity core of blackberry, plum, and fig—a definite pleasure for those who prefer a bigger wine at the Thanksgiving table.  92

Misha's Vineyard (Central Otago, New Zealand) Pinot Noir “The High Note” 2018 ($25):  I first discovered Misha's Vineyard Pinot Noir on a visit to the recreational Mecca of Queenstown in Central Otago.  I stopped into a wine shop (aptly named, The Winery), which had more than 80 wines on an Enomatic wine serving system, all by variety and region.  What better way to discover the different nuances of New Zealand's wine regions?  I remember Misha's being one of the standouts.  Beautifully floral with high tones of red fruit, zippy minerality, and notes of wild thyme, the kind that grows wild all around the region's foothills.  94

TerraNoble (Valle del Maule, Chile) Carignan Gran Reserva 2018 ($18):  When I visited Chile a few years ago, I was struck by several producers who were emphasizing Carignan.  Terranoble, in particular, got my attention with some old vine (60+ years) Carignan being grown by small farmers in the coastal range of the Maule Valley.  Produced in small lots to promote a rich mouthfeel, this wine offers balanced strength, finesse, freshness, and intensity with notes of cherry, red raspberry, and earthiness framed by subtle floral aromas.  93

Ver Sacrum (Los Chacayes, Uco Valley, Argentina) Garnacha 2017 ($18):   On a recent visit to Argentina's Uco Valley, I was able to do a deep dive into the differing IG's of Gualtallary, Altamirra, San Pablo, and Los Chacayas.  While it was fascinating to taste through the different nuances each of the soils and microclimates these IG's have on Malbec, it was particularly interesting to taste this Garnacha from winemaker Eduardo Soler.  It was made using native yeasts to ferment over four days before 50% of the wine spent seven months in concrete while the other 50% aged in French Oak.  The result is a deliciously fruity wine with aromas of bright cherry, strawberry, and dried savory herbs.  The playful palate offers black pepper and baking spice and leads to a light, refreshing finish.  94

Ashbourne Pinotage (Swartland, South Africa) 2018 ($58):  Historically, Pinotage has been a grape pushed into big, brawny wine styles that never really revealed its true potential.  And as a result, it has been unfairly maligned.  But in recent years, more and more producers have moved to let this grape express its true self in the glass.  Tasting from a range of selections, Pinotage can show a great deal of versatility, depending on whether it's grown in warmer or cooler environments.  This Ashbourne Pinotage is a lighter Pinot Noir-like offering from the cooler climate of Swartland.  This delightful wine offers aromas of ripe strawberry, red florals, and ash and boasts complexity and elegant structure.  94       



Read more by Jessica:   Jessica Dupuy  
Connnect with her on Twitter:    @JessicaNDupuy