Giving thanks for social wine

Wine Feast

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day, a time when many Americans give thanks for a good life by enjoying food and drink. We were right there with them, marking the feast with not one but two festive gatherings. Yet it wasn’t really a “wine-geek” day for me, and that has something to do with my morning-after thoughts about wine and food and community with friends.

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Domaine de Bachellery 2013 Pays d’Oc Pinot Noir ($11.99)

Domaine de Bachellery

Clear, dark ruby. Red fruit and apple aromas and a whiff of spices; ripe and juicy, plums and cherries and tart, snappy acidity in the flavor, with a touch of oak and a back note of soft tannins. Rather simple, not a great deal of Pinot character, but it’s a decent, versatile table red that shows Pinot Noir’s easy affinity for a wide variety of foods. Modest 12.5% enhances its simple grace at the dinner table. At a Thanksgiving Day dinner, it showed the versatility of Pinot by pairing effortlessly with both light and dark turkey meat and a delicious variety of side dishes.

If you’d like to try affordable Pinot Noirs from Languedoc’s Pays d’Oc, offers vendor and price information about dozens of options at this link. Read article.

Wine after the holiday feast?

Porto Kopke Tawny

We may not welcome the season’s wintry blasts, but there’s a lot to be said for festive holiday food and wine. With Thanksgiving coming up, quickly followed by the winter holidays, we’re looking at Wines for a Holiday Feast in this month’s Wine Focus in our WineLovers Discussion Group.

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Porto Kopke NV Fine Tawny Port ($17.99)

Porto Kopke

Very dark purple, a tawny in style, but masquerading as a ruby by sight. Good tawny style on the nose, though, fresh cracked walnuts and a hint of brown sugar. More fruit on the palate, dark plums, brown sugar and a fresh, zippy lemon-squirt of acidity that keeps its sweetness in balance; 18.5% alcohol is typical for a tawny, a warming potion for a wintry evening. Very nice after-dinner wine, without the subtlety of a fine vintage Port, perhaps, but plenty of flavor interest to make it a fine value at this price well below $20.

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Also featured this week: Alvear NV Montilla-Moriles Medium Dry Pedro Ximenez ($14.99) Read article.

Bouchard Père & Fils 2013 “Réserve” Bourgogne Pinot Noir ($20.99)

Bouchard Bourgogne Pinot Noir

Clear ruby color, with bright reddish-purple glints against the light. Simple but fresh aromas, a gentle touch of black cherry and a hint of “tomato skin,” that pleasant, tangy character that I often find in subtle-style Pinot Noirs. Mouth-watering and refreshing, simple cherry-berry fruit shaped by snappy acidity that lingers; stony minerality and a pleasant whiff of freshly ground black pepper when you swish the wine in your mouth. A simple wine, not to be mistaken for a high-end Burgundy, but it shows decent Bourgogne Pinot character at an introductory level for a fair price.

Locate vendors and find prices for Bouchard Bourgogne Pinot Noir on Read article.

Cascina La Ghersa 2013 “Piagé” Barbera d’Asti ($14.99)

Cascina La Ghersa

Ruby in color, rather light, clear but not transparent. Simple red-fruit aromas, cranberry perhaps, with a back note of fresh green herbs. Dry and tart on the palate, red-fruit flavors follow the nose, crisp, palate-cleansing acidity, food-friendly 13% alcohol, and a softly bitter note of tannins joining tart berries in the finish. U.S. importer: Vanguard Wines, Columbus, Ohio.

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Cleto Chiarli “Vecchia Modena Premium” Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco ($13.99)

Cleto Chiarli nv "Vecchia Modena Premium" Lambrusco di Sorbara

Pull off the plastic clip that holds down its fun, mushroom-shaped cap, and this wine opens with a pop and pours with a short-lived fizz. Clear, light reddish orange, fading to watery pale at the edge, almost a rosé. Very attractive red-berry scents, a pleasant mix of raspberries and strawberries. Red fruit on the palate follows the nose, with more carbonation in the mouthfeel than you see in the glass. Fresh, crisp acidity and a distinct note of pleasant but perceptible bitterness in the finish. Interesting sipping wine, light and gulpable at 11% alcohol, clean and palate-cleansing in the long, fresh finish.

Check prices and locate vendors for Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco on Read article.