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Thanksgiving wines to drink and give as gifts

Chances are good that many of us will be guests at someone else's table on Thanksgiving, which means that a gift for the host will be in order. What better gift for the chef than wine? If you've been tapped to furnish the wine, we recommend four that go beautifully with turkey and the trimmings. • We also recommend affordable reds and whites that would be wonderful gifts. If you bring wine as a gift any time during the holiday season, remember that the host is under no obligation to open it on the spot. • All of the wines recommended have been tasted previously for the Wine of the Week column in Taste. Colette and John Bancroft

Turkey Day wines

White: 2006 Cambria "Katherine's Vineyard" Chardonnay; about $18 at supermarkets, wine shops and big-box stores. Big, buttery and lush, this chard is a favorite of sommeliers for its rock-solid reliability and food-friendly ways.

Red: 2007 Graham Beck Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon; about $12 at wine shops and wine-savvy markets. The dominant shiraz makes this South African blend light and bright enough for pairing with white meats, and the cab adds sophistication.

Sparkling: Gruet Méthode Champenoise Brut; about $20 at big-box stores, wine shops and wine-savvy markets. Crafted by a French house transplanted to New Mexico, this is a gorgeous, toasty, full-bodied, laser-focused bubbly with sex appeal to spare.

Rosé: 2008 Crios de Susana Balbo Rosé of Malbec; about $10 at wine shops and wine-savvy markets. This robust, deep pink wine comes on in an irresistible rush of ripe strawberries, raspberries and cherries tempered by just a hint of astringent gooseberry.

Gift wines: red

2007 Francis Ford Coppola Black Label Claret; about $18 at wine shops, some supermarkets and big-box stores. A new breed of California claret, this wine delivers big mouth-filling flavors from a classic Bordeaux blend of cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, merlot, malbec and cabernet franc grapes.

Hey Mambo Sultry Red; about $12 at wine shops, wine-savvy markets and big-box stores. A deep ruby, full-bodied, mouth-filling, even voluptuous blend of syrah, barbera, zinfandel, petite syrah, malbec and alicante bouchet. The quintessential party animal.

Graham's Six Grapes Porto; about $20 at wine shops, some supermarkets and big-box stores. A very accessible and grapey young port, suitable for after-the-feast sipping or for having handy on cool winter evenings.

2007 Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma County; about $25 when you can find it; best bets are wine shops and big-box stores; call ahead. This one is a bit of a ringer in that it's pretty hard to find now. What makes it worth the trouble is that it will allow you to give your wine enthusiast host a bottle rated number 10 in Wine Spectator's list of the Top 100 Wines worldwide for 2008. What a coup!

Gift wines: white

Sokol Blosser Evolution, 12th Edition; about $19 at wine shops and big-box stores. This crazy mixed-up Oregon blend somersaults onto the tongue and lands with both feet, executes a few showy backflips and then dismounts with a big laugh, leaving your palate surprised, exhilarated and ready for anything.

2007 Martin Códax Albariño; about $14 at wine shops, wine-savvy markets and big-box stores. A subtly robust, citrusy, lightly floral Spanish wine that goes beautifully with food but also can't be beat as an aperitif.

2007 Hopler Gruner Veltliner; about $13 at wine shops, wine-savvy markets and big-box stores. Nothing goes better with a big platter of fresh raw oysters than this delicate aromatic wine from Austria.

• 2008 Cupcake Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc; about $10 at wine shops, some supermarkets and big-box stores. This young, straw-colored, fresh and crisp sauv blanc from New Zealand's powerhouse Marlborough region is a classic.

Colette Bancroft is the Times' book editor, and John Bancroft is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.

Thanksgiving wines to drink and give as gifts 11/20/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 20, 2009 4:55pm]

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