For Thanksgiving, we've selected a half dozen wines reviewed in this space over the past year that we are thankful for and that will grace a festive table, traditional or otherwise.
For either an aperitif to fluff up the palate for all the goodies to come or as a dessert wine, we recommend Dominio de la Peseta Cava, a sparkling wine from Spain with plenty of bubbles and lots of pop (about $11). A toasty, citrusy nose sets up a palate of big lemon flavor with side notes of vanilla and pear. It finishes crisp and clean.
This being Florida in stone crab season, many of us serve those succulent claws as a starter. You could go with a New Zealand sauv blanc or an Austrian Gruner Veltliner, but why not consider pairing the seasonal delicacy with La Piuma (the Feather), a delightfully dry Italian white made from the pecorino grape (about $11). It's the delicately flirty flavor of Meyer lemon that makes this wine so perfect with shellfish of all kinds.
For the main course we've chosen three reds and a big chard that will complement either the classic turkey-centered feast or a range of less traditional menus.
Our No. 1 pick is the slightly quirky 2011 Picket Fence Russian River Valley Pinot Noir from California (about $14), a medium-bodied red with all the depth and character you'd expect in a good pinot but with an unusually full, round and velvety mouthfeel, too. Blackberry and spice are the top notes on the tongue.
Also from California comes the 2009 Charles Krug Napa Valley Merlot (about $19), a red blend of 80 percent merlot and six helper grapes that yields more edge (that's a good thing) than many wines of its kind. A rich melange of black plum, black currant and raisin with a kick of minerality, all with that lush merlot mouthfeel, make this a standout.
If impressing your guests with the sophistication of your palate is part of your game plan, the 2010 Domaine de Bila-Haut "Occultum Lapidem" (about $25) is the red wine for you. This near miraculous French blend of syrah, grenache and carignan grapes is gorgeous, complex, mysterious and silky all the way through. Dark fruits dominate in a wine of admirably dense body. Definitely needs time to breathe before serving.
If you prefer a big white, you won't go wrong with the 2009 Bouchard Pere & Fils Réserve Bourgogne (about $20), a nicely nuanced, mineral-edged, mellow chardonnay from France. The nose displays lemon, which we expected, and a whiff of pink grapefruit, which we didn't. Nectarine dominates on the tongue, but there's room for light lemon and the merest smidge of vanilla.