Thanksgiving Wine Guide 2012: Find the Best Wines This Thanksgiving

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Finding the best wines this Thanksgiving just got that much easier. No matter if you're interesting in ordering a group of amazing wines well before Thanksgiving, or if you're interested in picking wines up Thanksgiving morning at the local grocery store: Uncorked Ventures can help.

Finding the best wines, with a full day of work

"We wanted there to be a wine for everyone on our Thanksgiving wine list"

Proprietors Mark and Matt of Uncorked Ventures

Every year, families gather across the country and debate politics, the decisions their family members are making and most of all, how good the food and drinks are compared to past years.

This year, impress family, friends and guests by serving the best wines that you’ve ever offered. At Uncorked Ventures, Mark and Matt make this easy. Uncorked Ventures has put together their top 8 Thanksgiving wines for 2012, featuring 5 wines you’ll need to order at least a week before the big day so they’ll arrive in time, but also 3 wines that can probably be picked up at a local grocery store the morning of Thanksgiving. Either way, guests will be impressed. After that, have a look at one of their three wine clubs to continue learning about wine in a fun and exciting way, or use this great family owned wine company to continue impressing family as it becomes time to purchase Christmas gifts.

A short word on Thanksgiving wines before our list. You’ll read elsewhere about how Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling pair better than their competitors with the foods that most of us serve on Thanksgiving. While that’s true, the guys at Uncorked Ventures follow a more simple rule: serve what you like first and foremost. Yes, Riesling traditionally brings out some of the spices and flavors of stuffing. Yes, Pinot Noir pairs better with turkey than Cabernet Sauvignon. If the family only drinks Cabernet, a holiday isn't the perfect time to try and expand everyone’s palate all at once. Perhaps serving both a Cabernet as well as a Pinot makes sense in that scenario. Either way, don't lose sight that wine and holidays are suppose to be fun and restful times to catch up with family and friends.

5 Wines To Order Today

Traditional Choices:

Gauthier Select Vineyards of Napa Valey: 2010 Santa Lucia Highlands Riesling $20
It’s a slightly sweet Riesling, which is going to take some American wine drinkers by surprise. This is a great wine though and one which can be opened consistently with your wife or girlfriends without complaint. The serious wine drinkers at the table are going to recognize the nuanced flavors, while the less serious will enjoy something sweeter than they were expecting. This is a wine which is going to pair perfectly with many of the more common side dishes that we all serve.

Tutor Wines Santa Lucia Highlands 2007 Pinot Noir $55
The Uncorked Ventures list has Tutor’s 07 since that seems to be a better year than 06 thus far, while sticking to the most economical of their price point offerings. These are truly hand crafted wines. We can all respect a winery and company whose founder put his name on the bottle and has his email on the website. Consistently scored at 90+ points by every major wine critic, Tutor Wines is bound to end up a personal favorite because the wines show a consistent crispness and acidity, which most people end up enjoying in their Pinot Noir.

Sojourn Cellars Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast 2010 $48
Scored in the mid 90 point range by wine critics of all types, the Sangiacomo Vineyards offer by Sojourn is among our personal favorite Pinot Noir’s. Everyone who has a chance to taste the wines made by winemaker Erich Bradley’s ends up enjoying his Burgundian style immensely. As you drive through Sonoma and find yourself at the Sangiacomo Vineyard, you’ll notice one major difference between the vineyard and its neighbors. First, it’s much cooler due to the presence of cool marine air coming from the Petaluma Gap. Lastly, the roundness and complexity of the wine are balanced well by the acidity, which make it among the easiest Pinot Noir’s to drink in California. It’s just an incredible wine.

Non Traditional Thanksgiving Choices

Core Wine Company: 2007 Hard Core retail price $29
A blend of Cabernet, Syrah, Mouvedre and Grenache this is a complex and dense wine which shows a sense of finesse not often seen at this price point when made from this combination of varietals. A small, family owned winery in Santa Barbara, Core Wine Company is combining with a sleugh of other relatively unknown wineries to prove that Santa Barbara is more than Pinot Noir. This is a wine which will delight those usually accustomed to only drinking Cabernet, while pairing more easily with the wide variety of dishes available on most Thanksgiving dinner tables.

Vellum Wine Craft Cabernet Sauvignon $65
Are you one of those people who have serious wine drinkers in their family, who only happen to drink French wine because California wine is “too high in alcohol” or “doesn’t have enough acidity”? While Vellum might disagree slightly, that’s a clear target market for their incredible high acidity Cabernet Sauvignon. Made much more in a French style where acidity rules over fruit forwardness, Vellum offers a Napa Valley address with Bordeaux sensibilities. Quite frankly it’s the one wine on the list which would impress anyone who typically only drinks French wine.

3 Wines to Pick Up at the Grocery Store:

Mark West Pinot Noir About $10
Ok, so they hit the market at the perfect time. Back in 2001 no one in America was making an easy drinking, fruit forward Pinot Noir. Part of the reason was a lack of market for the wine, which was considered too nuanced for the average American wine drinker. Finickey grapes and expensive farming techniques meant that Pinot for under $20 a bottle was largely undrinkable. Mark West has helped to change that, while the movie Sideways helped to create a market for the Pinot Noir grape. No matter which vintage the local grocery store happens to be carrying, you’re going to find a good value.

Gallo Family Vineyards Sonoma Pinot Noir 2008 $18
Many of the large wine brands do offer a nice value for money, especially considering how big their production happens to be. Gallo fits in that mold and their Family Vineyards Pinot are typically drinkable and nice approximations for what’s going on in a single region. As a blend of 8 different vineyards, this is a good idea of what “Sonoma” in a single bottle might taste like. You'll enjoy this moreso than some of their offer offerings because of a higher acidity.

Buena Vista Pinot Noir 2008 $10
A word of warning, this is available only at Trader Joe’s. In any case, open an hour or two before you’re planning to drink it and you’ll be happy. The star in this bottle is the finish, which shows a depth and complexity not often seen in this price point.

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Mark Aselstine
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