At some meals, wine is the star. But at Thanksgiving, family and food usually take the lead roles, and we look for wines that can be lively supporting players, appealing to a wide range of dinner guests.
Here is an engaging, approachable trio — white, red and pretty pink — that will be delicious grace notes for the chorus of flavors on the Thanksgiving table. All are available at wine shops and wine-savvy markets.
Joel Gott 2009 Unoaked Chardonnay (about $16) is one of our favorite examples of unoaked chards, which are often more food-friendly than their woody brethren. This one sings with flavors of ripe nectarine, refreshing lime, herbal notes and, on the long clean finish, a hint of green tea. It's a subtle wine but one that will pair beautifully with turkey with sage or chestnut dressing, herbed mashed potatoes and savory gravy (not to mention next-day turkey sandwiches).
Raymond Vineyards 2009 R Collection Field Blend (about $12) combines cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel, petite syrah, syrah, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot. Talk about something for everyone! The result is a robust red bursting with lots of berries and flavors of chocolate cherry, coffee and fig, with a lush finish touched with black pepper. A glass of this with a plate of sliced dark turkey, some sweet potatoes and cornbread dressing — yum.
The 2008 Crios de Susana Balbo Rose of Malbec (about $10) is not your mother's rose — although she might be converted by this Argentine charmer. The deep pink color hints at the wine's exuberant flavors, dominated by raspberry, strawberry and cherry and kept from cloying sweetness by an austere hint of gooseberry. This wine is a party animal with a flourish of elegance; it will dance with cranberry sauce and turkey breast and then tango a finale with the pumpkin pie.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.