Food & Drink

Northwest Wine: Affordable Thanksgiving wines

We’re just weeks from Thanksgiving, and wine lovers are starting to think about what wines will be in their holiday lineup.

The tricky part of selecting Thanksgiving table wines is traditional food pairing rules don’t apply because there are so many disparate flavors competing for attention. The solution is to open several bottles to give your guests several choices.

We have selected several wines we think would serve you well on Thanksgiving. Being budget-minded, all are priced at $15 or less.

Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or purchase the wines directly from the producers.

Columbia Winery 2014 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $14: Winemaker Sean Hails also included some Pinot Gris (5 percent) and Viognier (2 percent) during the stainless-steel fermentation for brightness and complexity. Some oak and eight months of surlie aging help create aromas of pear butter, light honeyed toast and lemon custard that transcend into a flavors hinting at a spoonful of lemon chiffon pie and a slice of starfruit, backed by a clean finish of lime pulp.

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The Primarius Pinot Noir is a delicious and affordable choice for Thanksgiving. Courtesy of Precept Wine

Primarius Winery 2014 Pinot Noir, Oregon, $15: Northwest Wine Academy grad Sarah Cabot enters her second decade of crafting Pinot Noir in Oregon, and this youthful and affordable release marks her first vintage for Precept at its Dundee winery. Sweet and toasty oak tones make for aromas of grilled strawberry, dark cherry, blueberry and bittersweet chocolate.

Charles Smith Wines 2014 The Velvet Devil Merlot, Washington, $13: While it’s Cab and Syrah that generate a lot of the red headlines in Washington, it’s Merlot that remains the state’s workhorse grape. Charles Smith’s team sourced from seven sites to present tones of black currant, Chowards’s Violet candies and toast, which come wrapped in firm tannins and pulsating Craisin acidity.

Nine Hats Wines 2016 Riesling, Columbia Valley, $14: Gilles Nicault continues to present this Riesling with a theme of stone fruit flavors and citrusy acidity. It’s a ride from orange blossoms to white peach and sweet lime, backed by ginger spice, clementine and nectarine to balance the residual sugar of 1.3 percent. This merited a gold medal at the 2017 Walla Walla Valley Wine Competition.

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The 14 Hands Brut is a great way to kick off the holidays. Courtesy of 14 Hands Winery

14 Hands Winery NV Brut, Columbia Valley, $15: The Washington wine industry’s fastest-growing brand continues to expand its portfolio by taking advantage of the sparkling wine expertise within Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Classic aromas include dusty Granny Smith apple, yeasty sourdough, lime, toast and fresh-cut celery. Beyond the frothy entry of fine mousse, there’s an enjoyable off-dry approach of Golden Delicious apple and Asian pear flavors. It’s a perfect wine to launch the holiday season.

Underwood 2016 Rosé, Oregon, $14: Winemaker JP Caldcleugh heads up one of the largest productions of rosé in the Pacific Northwest, and a sizable amount of the release by the prolific Union Wine Co., is presented in 375-milliliter cans. It’s more of a pink wine than rosé because Pinot Noir and Syrah are very minor components behind the base blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris and Muscat. The early whiff of caramel corn transitions into lemonade with a twist of lime, making for a tasty drink.

Chateau Ste Michelle 2015 Harvest Select Sweet Riesling, Columbia Valley, $9: This sweet Riesling weighs in at 5 percent residual sugar. Lightly tropical aromas include jasmine and lime, which are joined on the palate by yummy flavors of pear and Honeycrisp apple skin.

Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue run Great Northwest Wine, a news and information company; www.greatnorthwestwine.com

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