Two for Thanksgiving

Wild turkey painted by John James Audubon.

It’s almost Thanksgiving here in the United States, that happy late autumn time when friends and families gather in the modern version of the traditional American harvest feast.
Many of us will sit down to an oversize platter bearing a whole turkey, roasted golden-brown.
But then comes the question: How do we find one wine to match them all?

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Nicolas Idiart 2016 Loire Valley Pinot Noir

Nicolas Idiart

A Loire Valley wine made from 100 percent Pinot Noir, avoiding the Gamay often used in the Loire Pinot blend, this is a dark-purple wine shading to a garnet edge. A high-toned scent of cherry liqueur and licorice, bold fruit that seems a bit “New World” for a Loire red, gives way to tart cherries and a distinct cranberry note, appropriate for Thanksgiving, that carry over in a dry, quite acidic flavor that will serve well to cut through the fat and richness of a holiday feast. Little obvious tannin, and moderate 13% alcohol.

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Gundlach-Bundschu Dry Gewürztraminer


Transparent, light straw color, unusual for a variety generally known for its pinkish to light-red skin that often imparts a rich, even rosy color. There’s nothing light about the aromas or flavors, though, which show characteristic Gewurz boldness. I pick up only a whiff of the Chinese-dessert lychees that often signal Gewurz; here they’re shy behind a more in-your-face sense of stone fruit – peaches and apricots. Stone fruit and lychees carry over on the palate in a bright, bold flavor that’s bone-dry – a rare thing in a Gewurz – with tart meyer lemon and “rainwater” minerality joining in. 14.3% alcohol is a bit pushy for a white, but it works in this wine, with zingy lemon curd lingering in a very long finish.

Find vendors and compare prices for Gundlach-Bundschu Sonoma Coast Estate Vineyard Dry Gewürztraminer on

Gundlach-Bundschu also sells the more recent 2016 vintage direct to the public for $25 a bottle, $270 for a case of 12. Read article.

New Zealand’s other grape: Pinot Noir

New Zealand Vineyard Reports from #NZWine

When I say “New Zealand wine,” what color pops into your mind? Chances are your first thought went straight to “white,” perhaps quickly followed by “Sauvignon Blanc.” We think of these wines in connection with New Zealand with good reason: It was New Zealand’s bold, aromatic take on Sauvignon Blanc that first introduced the rest of the world to the wines of this beautiful land Down Under, a delight that came to us not that long ago.

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Oyster Bay 2012 Marlborough Pinot Noir ($14.99)

Oyster Bay

Clear ruby color, quite dark at the core but shading quickly to a clear edge. Light red fruit and a pleasant whiff of ripe, just-cut tomato – a characteristic that I often find in cool-climate Pinot Noir – shows in the nose and on the palate. It’s brisk and acidic in the flavor, tart and palate-cleansing, rather light-bodied, with a soft edge of tannins and a hint of stony minerality in the finish.
13% alcohol in a wine that’s distinctly Pinot Noir, more reminiscent of the Old World than the New.

Locate vendors and check prices for Oyster Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir on Read article.

Nobilo Icon 2013 Marlborough Pinot Noir ($19.99)

Nobilo Icon

Rather dark ruby in color, with reddish-orange glints against the light. Mixed fruits, blackberries and plums and red and black cherries, with a distinct but not overwhelming edge of warm, spicy oak. Mouth-filling fruit and good body on the palate, red and black fruit and gentle spice over tart acidity, with soft tannins becoming more apparent in the long finish. Moderate 13% alcohol doesn’t intrude.

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Lustau Amontillado “Los Arcos”

Lustau Amontillado Los Arcos

Rich, full walnut aromas, a mix of fresh-cracked walnuts and Nocino Italian walnut liqueur, with a piquant back note of lemon. Nuts and tangy lemon carry over on the palate, light brown-sugar sweetness more than overpowered by sharp acidity. Hints of dark chocolate join walnuts and citrus in the flavor with a touch of alcoholic heat, a complex wine that opens up remarkably with cheese or other unctuous food match. Labeled “Solera Familiar,” Lustau’s good but relatively affordable range; 18.5% alcohol.

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Wisdom & Warter Extra Amontillado Sherry

Wisdom & Warter

Clear copper-bronze color, almost a pale orange hue. A mix of cracked walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and a distinct hint of lemon show on the nose and palate. It’s nutty and full-bodied in flavor, with medium-level sweetness well balanced by sharp, zingy acidity that lingers on the sides of your tongue. It carries its 20 percent alcohol well, with mixed nuts and tart citrus lingering in a very long finish. According to the label, “Special reserve drawn from the solera established in 1912.”

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Here’s a list of all Wisdom & Warter’s wines and merchants on Read article.