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Two quick wines for Thanksgiving

By Dave Buchanan
A change in my Thanksgiving plans means I have to dig up two bottles of wine, one red and one white, for a meal at a friend’s home. And while I was expecting to offer American wines to go with the usual Thanksgiving theme, I made it halfway. The white was almost too easy. It’s one I tried about a month ago on a whim and liked immediately, the Pine Ridge Clarksburg Chenin Blanc Viognier 2006. Pine Ridge Winery was the first winery to offer this nontraditional blend of white grapes but now other vintners are offering interesting something-and-viognier blends. The Pine Ridge is 86 percent chenin blanc, 14 percent viognier, vinted slightly off-dry with enough acidity and fruit to be well-balanced with a clean finish. The aroma is a bit floral (the viognier comes through here) while the taste is of citrus and pear. And at $13 a bottle, it’s priced right for the wallet-stressing holidays. The red wine was a surprise, even to me. I was looking for something fruity but not too fruity, with maybe a little spice to match some of the mid-courses and not too heavy. Thanksgiving can be a marathon, not a sprint, and you don’t want your wine to finish you off before the meal is over. I finally decided on a Domaine D’Andezon La Granacha Signarques Cotes du Rhone Villages 2005. This wine is 100 percent grenache, unfined and unfiltered, with plenty of backbone to stand up to the holiday’s spicy and sweet dishes scattered through a chaotic menu. Robert Parker gave it 90 points and called it “an amazing bargain” at $13. Domaine d’Andezon is a 25-acre estate in the village of Estezargues on the southwestern edge of the Rhone Valley delta. Cote du Rhones often are called “bistro wines” because they match well with the rustic menus traditionally served at bistros, and there aren’t many American holidays quite as rustic as Thanksgiving. And even though I have yet to taste this wine, the fact it’s imported by Eric Solomon’s European Cellars is a sure giveaway it’s going to be a hit.