I'd be happy to have a single-varietal Thanksgiving, pouring just Pinot or Zinfandel with our turkey. But I couldn't resist a few more red wine recommendations for those of you looking for something a little different. Here are three bottles worth considering if you haven't already stocked up.
Bonny Doon's '09 Contra is a field blend of 55% old-vine Carignane, 15% Grenache, 14% Mourvedre, 7% Petite Sirah, plus a little Zinfandel and Syrah, too. The scent is a bit mossy, and drinking this wine is like having a mouthful of gravely black cherry juice. It's more earth than fruit, with delicate herbal notes: lavender, thyme, sage, and slate. It's a beautifully balanced, earthy wine that you can buy on a budget (but still impress your wine-snob friends.) This is the kind of wine you can picture drinking by the jug in the French countryside, and I'm tempted to declare it my house red. (Around $15, find this wine)
Gamay is an excellent choice for Thanksgiving because it's light bodied, fruity, and food-friendly. It has a delicate spiciness, with rich strawberry notes and great tartness. We like Le P'tit Rouquin "Les Vins Contés" from O. Lemasson, a rosy red natural wine with bright, fresh flavors and a tiny bit of effervescence. This gulpable wine tastes like raspberries, violets, cinnamon, and clay, with tons of mineral backbone. Drink a glass with a leftover-turkey sandwich and you'll smile. ($13-15, find this wine)
It's been many years since the movie Sideways made drinking Merlot into a crime, so perhaps it's time we all give it another chance? Start with the excellent 2007 L'Ecole No. 41 Seven Hills Vineyard Estate Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Washington, which blends 11% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Cab Franc into the Merlot base. This wine isn't just primary berried fruit. It has great earthiness, acid, and structure, with hints of very dark chocolate, cardamom, mint, and freshly cracked black pepper. It's smooth but lively, an impressive wine that keeps your attention. (Around $30, find this wine)
More Thanksgiving Drinks
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Serious Eats Guide to Affordable Wine for Thanksgiving
Editor's Picks: American Wines for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Wine Advice from the Experts
Cicerone Picks: Best Beers for Thanksgiving
American Hard Cider for Thanksgiving
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