Sure, the turkey's great, the pie is awesome. But for certain
drunks wine connoisseurs among us, Thanksgiving is all about what's in the glass. Whether it's bubbles to get you started, a serious wine to go with the main event, or something sweet to pair with pie (seriously, dessert wine was made to pair with pie -- think about it: who wants Sauternes with cake?), there's much to consider when figuring out the liquid portion of the holiday.
Rather than recommend a bunch of bottles that you may or may not be able to get your hands on, we turned to the best wine shops in town and asked the experts there to pick some bottles from their current inventories that they think you might enjoy with your Thanksgiving feast. From Manhattan Beach to the top of Glendale, we've got a lot of ground covered, location-wise, and a lot of styles covered, wine-wise, so no matter where you are or what you like, there should be a shop and a bottle here you can actually go out and purchase. Happy Thanksdrinking!
Barsha Wines & Spirits, Manhattan Beach
Picks from owner Adnen Marouani.
Chateau Moncontour Cuvée Predilection 2010, Loire, France. $19.95
"This sparkling Vouvray is rich but balanced by deep acidity and crisp green vegetal texture. Lemon zest and quince add the fruit element. This is fun in a bottle."
Familie Maier 2011 Zweigelt, Kremstal, Austria. $15.99
"Zweigelt is an Austrian grape whose parentage is the Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent grape. This wonderful wine has delicate cherry flavor intermingled with a nice piney, spice perfume. Taught minerality with a Gamay-like body but with richness. This is the one to pair with your turkey -- this wine embodies the holiday flavors."
Bar & Garden, Culver City
Picked by Lauren Johnson and Marissa Mandel, owners.
Bar and Garden is doing things a little differently for Thanksgiving -- they're offering Thanksgiving Wine Six Packs. Choose Red, White or Mixed, all of which feature two bottles of three different types of wines chosen for their Thanksgiving-worthiness. Six packs get you 5% off the total price. Mandel says:
"In our White Sixer ($106), we've included the 2011 Reichsrat Von Buhl Riesling Sekt, because everybody needs to try this amazing bubbly stuff - a perfect aperitif wine to loosen up the table. It's Riesling, it's dry, and it has tiny little bubbles and the scent of freshly baked bread - it's alarmingly easy to drink.
"Featured in the Red Six Pack ($124) is the 2012 Le Bout du Monde 'Tam Tam', a lovely, light, fruit-forward (NOT sweet) Syrah from a desolate stretch of the Pyrenees (Le Bout du Monde translates roughly as 'the end of the world'). A perfect, thirst-slaking, alternative to Beaujolais Nouveau, this stuff is organically grown in schist soils, hand-harvested, native yeast fermented and has little, if any, added SO2. Drink up - glou-glou!
"For adventurous drinkers, we have a Dry Cider Six Pack (as in "What would the Pilgrims have drank?" $88), as well as the 'Bar & Garden Recommends' Sixer ($144), which includes six different (and also "different") wines; this is the six pack for those who want a little variety with their meal. Included is the 2012 Donkey & Goat 'Stone Crusher' Rousanne, which we love for its gutsy versatility. This is an orange wine, so called because it spends 15 days on the skins in a wood vat before completing fermentation in neutral oak barrels, and it pours a lovely cloudy orange in the glass. It's chewy and complex and a great match for dressing, squash, and other side dishes that use spices like clove and cinnamon."
Buzz Wine Beer Shop, Downtown.
Picked by Jamil Williams, wine buyer/manager.
Chateau De Lavernette 'Le Clos' Beaujolais-Leynes 2011, Beaujolias, France in Magnum (1.5L) $56
"When we think about Thanksgiving at Buzz, we think big and plentiful. We suggest Gamay served from larger than normal bottles. If you're a part of a traditional Thanksgiving meal, the wine you put on the table should match the scale of the meal. Big Turkey, big bowl of stuffing, big everything...and...a big Magnum bottle of yummy Gamay from Beaujolias, France -- it's the coolest thing."
Tasting Notes: A tall, dark, handsome Casanova. A wicked wine with intense aromas of blackberry, tobacco, and spice. Mulberry, black cherry, black pepper and black licorice permeate the palate. A smooth ingress, full body, and well-balanced finish sheathed in black satin tannins give this charmer its divine structure. The Beaujolais-Leynes is a delicious wine fantasy come true.
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Domaine L.A., Hollywood
Picked by Jill Bernheimer, owner.
NV Domaine Robert Serol "Turbullent," Loire, France, $23.
"A sparkling Gamay from the Côte Roannaise. This is fermented once in bottle, and has a hint of residual sugar. It's not quite a dessert wine, but it's not quite dry either. Just 8.5% alcohol, this is perfect for the beginning of and end of the feast (and I'm sure it would work well in between, too). It will pair just as well with things like goat cheese as it will with berry-based desserts."
2012 Clos des Vignes du Maynes "Cuvee 910," Burgundy, France, $32.
"This is a light-bodied red from Burgundy. It's a unique field blend that includes Gamay, Pinot Noir, and even some Chardonnay. It hails from a vineyard (originally tended to by Cluny Monks) that has never seen chemical treatments in its 1000+ year history. While a bit lighter than a Pinot Noir, it has zippy acidity, cranberry-oriented fruit, and is one of the most versatile reds you can put alongside Thanksgiving dinner."
See also: 3 Bottles One Shop: Domaine L.A.
Everson Royce, Pasadena
Picked by Randy Clement, owner.
Prisoner Wine Company "Blindfold" White Blend 2012, California $30.
"This is the inaugural creation of Blindfold, an unapologetic blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc, from vineyards scattered throughout California. Heady, fully forceful, and powerful, this wine stands as a shining example of what a confident wine making hand can do with bins full of ripe, historically unrelated, not usually blended grape varietals. Fruit as tropical as Cancuun, viscous defines the mouth feel, and packs enough acid to make Timothy Leary proud."
Lompoc Wine Company Pinot Noir "Sta Rita Hills" 2012, Santa Barbara, California $30
"Raj Parr and Sashi Moorman (Batman & Robin or Robin & Batman depending on which one you ask) are behind this glorious expression of Santa Barbara pinot noir. A numerically perfect 13.5% alcohol means that this rich and complex pinot noir is not too heavy or hot on its feet. Sashi and Raj are as progressive as they come and have made an exciting freshman effort straight out of Central Cali. An appropriate accompaniment to any meal that calls for wines made with honesty and integrity. Savory, earth, blackberry, wow, spice, cherry......."
Silver Lake Wine, Silver Lake.
Picked by Randy Clement, owner.
Bisson "Glera" 2012, Veneto, Italy $19.50
"Joyously accessible, gently sparkling, completely wonderful. Handcrafted by Pierluigi Lugano from choice vineyards in Treviso. Lugano staunchly defends indigenous, and increasingly rare, grape varieties and works tirelessly to ensure that they do not disappear for future generations of wine lovers. Serve ice cold. An elegant and perfect way to begin, middle, and end any holiday celebration."
Thackrey Pleiades XVIII Old Vines NV, Bolinas, California $24.50
The latest issue of one of the most awe inspiring non-vintage red blends from the Golden State. Crafted by Sean Thackey, whose talent is somewhat legendary. Comprised of Sangiovese, Viogner, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Mouvedre to name a few, this idiosyncratic blend delivers notes of eucalyptus, fruit, earth and hardcore immediate pleasure."
Rosso Wine Shop, Glendale.
Picked by Jeff Zimmitti, owner.
2011 Chiroulet Cotes de Gascogne Cote d'Heux, Gascogne, France, $14.99.
"Rather than the usual Chardonnay with your turkey, why not try a classic French country wine from the region of Gascogne? This wine is made with 100 percent Gros Manseng. It's filled with lush tropical flavors and would easily find a happy home on the Thanksgiving table. Gulpable."
2012 Domaine Ilarria Irouleguy Rosé, Irouleguy , France, $17.99
"Dry French rosé. Yep. And made from mostly Tannat. Another excellent match for turkey day flavors. Serve it with a nice chill. Works with poultry, potatoes, stuffing, and your annoying family."
2012 Broc Cellars Valdiguiè, Solano County, California. $22.99
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"A light-to-medium bodied red is an excellent Thanksgiving day match-up. It won't weigh you down, and it will marry perfectly with all of the Thanksgiving flavors. Valdiguiè is a grape with roots in the Languedoc-Roussillon, but these are farmed in Solano County in the good 'ol U.S. of A."
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