Be selective choosing red wines for your Thanksgiving meal

FOR THE BELLINGHAM HERALDNovember 26, 2013 

Today I'll wrap up my Thanksgiving wine-planning series with a few more white wine suggestions, along with some red wines, too.

Full-bodied whites such as viognier and chardonnay should pair nicely with your Thanksgiving dinner. Whether they're oaked or unoaked can be left to your taste preference, as neither style should pose any problems with a traditional meal of turkey and bread stuffing.

Red wines, however, can be a bit problematic. I'm not going to tell you to not serve a cabernet sauvignon or syrah with your turkey, but you'll run the risk of having these full-bodied wines drown out the flavors of your food if you do.

Light- or medium-bodied reds should work fine, especially those that are higher in acidity, such as pinot noir or sangiovese.

Beyond that, do a taste test if you have any "questionable" reds. If they seem too bold, assertive or tannic, simply set them aside for sipping later in the day.

Here are a few wines I think you'll enjoy:

Cultivate Winery 2010 Dream Walking Chardonnay and 2010 The Feast Red Blend (about $18 each) - The chardonnay is sourced from California's North and Central Coast regions and opens with mild aromas of tropical fruits and sweet clover that carry over to the palate. The slightly edgy finish suggests lemon and lime zest.

Aptly named for Thanksgiving, "The Feast" is mainly comprised of Sonoma merlot with a splash of three other varietals. There's a hint of spicy berry on the nose and flavors of red currant and dried cranberry that strike just the right balance of acidity and softness.

San Juan Vineyards 2012 Chardonnay (about $13) and 2010 Cabernet Franc (about $25) - The chardonnay is the winery's first production of an unoaked version, and it's a winner. Generous Golden Delicious apple flavors predominate, accompanied by soft touches of pineapple and citrus and a surprisingly big, round finish.

The cabernet franc is a spot-on expression of the red varietal with notes of dried herb, tea leaf, pie cherry and a dusting of white pepper. It's the perfect accompaniment to your Thanksgiving dinner.

Conundrum Wines 2012 California White Wine (about $22) - Who knows what's in this proprietary blend? Who cares? The wine almost certainly contains some viognier and muscat, and its explosive fragrances and flavors are sure to be a favorite of many. White grape, peach and nectarine lead the way to a plump, faintly sweet finish.

Meiomi 2012 Pinot Noir (about $22) - Hardly conventional, this California red almost drinks like a pinot port. Toffee and caramel aromas are followed by red cherry fruit, sweet rum raisin and a touch of earthiness.

Dan Radil is a wine enthusiast who lives in Bellingham. Reach him at www.danthewineguy.com.

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