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Pilgrims love Pinot…

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for the fortunate blessings in our lives, and most of us spend this holiday rushing around the kitchen or cheering for our favorite team while the smell of turkey hangs in the air. But this year, I encourage you get serious about the wine you serve. It’s a simple upgrade you can give yourself and your guests while elevating your thanksgiving meal to perfection.

First off, welcome your guests with a well chilled glass of sparkling wine. It will waken the taste buds and get your guests in the mood for food! Most sparkling wines you’ll find at the market are dry and not sweet, which is a good thing since we don’t want to sugar up our guests too early.

To start, I recommend my personal go-to for sparkling wine, the 2007 Domaine Carneros Brut Cuvée.  An exceptional value at $20 a bottle this perfectly balanced wine has just the right amount of bright crisp flavor and tiny bubbles making it the perfect choice for those delicate savory hors d’oeuvres. Made in Carneros California, Domaine Carneros is the US arm of the French Champagne House known as Taittinger.These grapes are grown organically and made in the traditional french method giving you an affordable “champagne” taste without breaking the bank. A true pleasure to drink alone or with food, enjoy well chilled.

Once your guests are seated and the celebration has begun, try pouring this dry white wine to start the meal off right. The 2009 Chateau du Champ des Treilles “Vin Passion” is a mouthful but I promise you it’s a crowd pleaser. This Bordeaux Blanc (white Bordeaux) is made up of three grape varietals, muscadelle, sauvignon blanc and semillon which give this wine tons of deep layered flavor. It’s bright citrusy notes and clean finish are excellent with light fish dishes or even turkey and stuffing. One sip and you will see why this budget friendly wine at $15.99 a bottle will be on my table this year.

For the pièce de résistance this Thanksgiving, I urge you to try the 2007 Willakenzie Estate Pinot Noir Dijon Clone 113. The tasting notes read like a thanksgiving menu…”aromas of red and black fruit including cranberry, blueberry and blackberry with some smokiness and subtle floral tones with concentrated fruit flavors of plum, cherry, and raspberry, while notes of cedar and pepper linger on the finish” With flavors like that why bother with the bargain bin wines? Now this wine is a bit more expensive at $38 a bottle but worth the splurge. Made from one specific type of pinot noir grape, hence the name, know as Dijon Clone 113 this wine will impress even your most discerning wine critic at the table this year.

With bellies full, why not sit back and relax by the fire with a sultry glass of port from Heitz Cellar. The non-vintage Ink Grade Port from Heitz Cellars is a real treat after a long day of cooking and entertaining with its dark mysterious color and rich flavor. This wine is a bargain at $15 a half bottle and since it’s fortified with additional alcohol you only need a little bit to take the edge off. Perfect with cheese or warm spiced nuts it will be the ideal companion for last moments of Thanksgiving. Just don’t blame me if your guests stick around for this one.

Here’s where to buy them… Cheers!

Domaine Carneros 2007 Brut Cuveé $26.00 pb

Wine comprises of 60% Pinot Noir + 40% Chardonnay

Chateau du Champ des Treilles, 2009 “Vin Passion” Bordeaux Blanc $15.99 pb

Blend of Muscadelle, Sauvignon Blanc + Semillon

Willakenzie Estate 2007 Pinot Noir Dijon Clone 113 $38.00 pb

100% Pinot Noir, Dijon Clone 113

Heitz Cellar Ink Grade Port, 375ml (half bottle) $15.00 pb

Blend of classic port varietals, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Sauzao, Tinta Cao, Tinta Bairrada, Tinta Madeira, Tinta Amarela and Bastardo

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