Reminder that this month’s Virtual Tasting will take place on Monday November 23rd. Read about it here.
Well folks, it’s time once again to make some Thanksgiving wine recommendations. Marcus and Melissa at EAT & DRINK In The Northwest covered rosés in their post earlier this month, so I will focus here on a few whites and light bodied reds.
In terms of white wines my personal preferences for Thanksgiving are Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, or Riesling. Chardonnay also works well. In terms of Semillon, two of the most enjoyable I have tasted this year are from Buty and Ardenvoir. For Buty winemaker Caleb Foster, this is the seventeenth vintage he has made this Bordeaux-style blend in Washington. It shows on this gorgeous wine that will go toe-to-toe with anything on your Thanksgiving table. Ardenvoir is the white wine label of Walla Walla’s Chateau Rollat. Bowin Lindgren makes the wines and Bordeaux winemaker Christian LeSommer serves as consultant. I tasted these two whites during Fall Release Weekend earlier this month (full report to follow) and both are exceptional. In terms of Riesling, this is a varietal Washington does particularly well, so there is a lot to choose from. Two of my favorites on the shelves at the moment are these gems from Trust Cellars and Barnard Griffin. For Chardonnay, check out the latest released from Abeja, also sampled Fall Release Weekend.
In terms of reds, I like to go with lighter bodied wines to avoid overwhelming the food. Pinot Noir works quite well for Thanksgiving, but unfortunately doesn’t seem to work quite as well in Washington. Given this, I have listed two red blends that are consistent favorites. Yellow Hawk Cellar is located in Walla Walla and always makes wine with food in mind. The Solstice is a red blend that is predominantly Sangiovese. I liked this wine at $25, but it is currently on close-out for $10 which is a steal. Yellow Hawk also makes a Sangiovese that is worth checking out if you don’t see the Solstice. Syncline Wine Cellars is located in the Columbia Gorge. Their Subduction Red, made from a blend of Southern Rhone varietals, has been a long-time favorite. The 2008 vintage of this wine does not disappoint showing beautiful fruit aromas and flavors. People who enjoy acid-driven wines without much oak influence will enjoy this effort.
I have listed below Seattle-area as well as on-line retailers who carry these wines. As always, call ahead to ensure availability. Please leave a comment if you are aware of other locations in your area these wines are available or if you have wines you wish to recommend.
Buty Sémillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle CV 2008 $24 Rating: *
Straw colored. A beautiful nose marked by lemon zest, touches of honey, mineral, and yeast. Floral notes emerge as the wine opens up. Fresh, tart, and lemon-loaded on the palate. 69% Sémillon, 26% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Muscadelle. Rosebud Ranches, Spring Creek, and Lonesome River Ranch vineyards. 13.8% alcohol. 1,050 cases produced.
Where Seattle Area: Esquin, Pete’s
Where On-line: Winery, AvalonWine.com
Ardenvoir Sémillon Sauvignon Blanc 2008 $22 Rating: *
An alluring nose with lemon, yeast, wheat, and spice. Crisp and fresh on the palate. 92% Sémillon, 8% Sauvignon Blanc.
Where Seattle area: McCarthy & Schiering
Ardenvoir Sauvignon Blanc 2008 $19 Rating: *
Pale yellow. A gorgeous nose with light spices, lemon zest. Very clean on the palate. Overall a very French-styled feel.
Where Seattle Area: McCarthy & Schiering, West Seattle Cellars
Trust Cellars Riesling 2008 $16 Rating: **
A beautiful nose with sugared grapefruit and pineapple. Spectacular citrus tastes blend with other fruit flavors. Exceptionally well balanced with mineral and a light sweetness on the taste. 100% Riesling. 38% CS Farms (Wahluke Slope); 30% Pheasant (Yakima); 30% Evergreen (Wahluke Slope); 2% Ancient Lakes. 12% alcohol. 224 cases produced. Sampled at 54 degrees.
Where Seattle-area: Esquin, City Cellars
Where On-line: Winery, MadWine.com, AvalonWine.com
Barnard Griffin Riesling Columbia Valley 2008 $10 Rating: *
Aromas explode from the glass with butterscotch (which fades as the wine opens up), Honey Dew melon, and white grapefruit. This is a textured, layered wine with a great deal of complexity on the palate. Fruit flavors – predominantly white grapefruit – step forward and back, undulating on and on. Settles in to an extended finish. Caroway & Arête vineyards (Columbia Valley). 1.2% RS, .82g/100ml TA, 11.7% alcohol. 3,870 cases produced.
Abeja Chardonnay 2008 $36 Rating: *
Pale in color. Nose marked by freshly sliced apples, mineral, and like spices. Crisp and spritely on the palate. Any oak that is there is far in the background. 100% Chardonnay. Celilo, Conner Lee, Gamache, and Kestrel vineyards. Aged in 100% French oak (50% new).
Where Seattle Area: Pete’s
Where On-line: Winery
Yellow Hawk Solstice 2005 $10 Rating: *
A pleasing spiciness on the nose with black pepper and mineral. A nice, dry wine. 67% Sangiovese; 18% Cabernet; 15% Syrah.
Where Seattle-area: Esquin, City Cellars
Where On-line: Winery, MadWine.com
Syncline Subduction Red 2008 $18 Rating: +
Fairly light in color. An aromatic nose loaded with red fruit, particularly raspberries, strawberries, and red currant, along with a dusting of earth. As it opens up, violets, berries, and traces of game emerge. A light bodied, acid-driven wine that dances along the palate. Almost shockingly restrained with barely a trace of oak. Loses a bit of its rhythm about 2/3 of the way through but comes back together. A lot of wine for the money and a perfect wine to pair with food.26% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 24% Cinsault, 12% Mourvedre, 9% Counoise, 4% Carignan. Aged in 5-10% new oak. 14.1% alcohol. 1,770 cases produced. Recommended.
Where Seattle Area: City Cellars, Pete’s, Fremont Wine Warehouse
Where On-line: Winery, AvalonWine.com, West Seattle Cellars