A Red Quartet for Thanksgiving

A Red Quartet for Thanksgiving

From light to full-bodied

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Many prefer red wine for Thanksgiving, plus the other holiday dishes to be served over the next six weeks. Here are four wines that will suit your traditional meal in style; they are listed from the lightest-bodied to the fullest. Although these all suit a turkey dinner with embellishments, they will do nicely for other foods as well. (Alternatives are listed with each review.) Please consider all of these for this most American and, for me, most wonderful holiday of the year.
2016 Tenuta Sant’Antonio Valpolicella Superiore ‘Nanfre’ $14 (suggested retail price)
     Purple in color. A ripe bouquet of dried cherries, tobacco, sage and a minerally edge. Flavors are silky and medium-bodied with cherry, plum and black pepper on the dry finish. Fermented in stainless steel only, it’s a fresh, homespun style that will please many – even non-wine folks! “Nanfre” refers to the vineyard source. Drink now-2020. (Also good for vegetarian fare.) 89/100 points
2013 Rioja Beronia Reserva $20 srp
     Deep garnet in color. Aromatic with bright raspberry, maraschino, cinnamon, tobacco, mushroom and cedar. (That’s Rioja!) Flavors include velvety plum, a slight balsamic note on the sweet fruit texture that finishes dry. Balanced oak, herbs, coconut and vanilla caress the finish. Drink now-2021. (A complex red that will also suit lamb or a mushroom casserole.) 90/100 points
2016 Davis Bynum Pinot Noir, Jane’s Vineyard $35
     Translucent garnet in color. A delicate, “classic” nose of French-inspired pinot; cranberry, strawberry, smoke, spicy and a truffle-like scent emerge. Flavors are subtle, yet chewy and broad-textured. Vibrant strawberry, leather and mineral “cut” on the long finish highlight the mouth feel. Perfect balance on this Russian River beauty. Drink now-2023. (Also perfect with a crown roast or tenderloin.) 92/100 points
2016 Dry Creek Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel $35
     Just released, this has a deep violet color. The nose is intense and smoky with almost jammy raspberry and crushed black cherry bouquet. Brier-y and in your face, it oozes concentration from 95- to 130-year-old vines! Flavors are chunky and bold with blackberry, currant, a chocolatey texture and graphite finish. Rousing and alive, this is a bold choice. (N.B. The 2015 vintage is also delicious and recommended if you see it.) Drink now-2024. (This would accompany any smoked meats or a baked ham.) 92/100 points
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Arturo Ciompi
Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.