According to the 2012-13 retail year-in-review report from the PLCB, the people of Pennsylvania are drinking a whole bunch of not very good wine — we’re lookin’ at you, Yellow Tail. Getting into the drinking, er, holiday season, we suggest that you break out of the (Franzia) box and dig a little deeper at the state store. We tapped some of our favorite sommeliers in town for a few Thanksgiving-perfect suggestions readily available at your finer Fine Wine & Good Spirits shops.
Tim Kweeder, beverage director at a.bar/a.kitchen, has plenty to say about the lackluster state of our wine scene: “Well, the PLCB isn’t progressive enough to have picked up the Hello Kitty wines yet.” Fortunately, Kweeder was able to turn up a few hidden gems. His pick? Azienda Agricola COS, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, 2010 ($34.99). “This is not a wine with globs of fruit and massive structure. This has character and nuance,” explains Kweeder, confident of its pair-ability. “It’ll do the watusi with the dark meat and cranberry sauce.”
Vedge co-owner Kate Jacoby goes with an old standby, Beaujolais, both newly released and vintage. “Everyone would agree that the Beaujolais Nouveau releases are a welcome, bright addition to any Thanksgiving table. Their bubble-gum, carbonic-maceration juiciness is a pleasant sip through a belly-bursting meal. It’s like a touch of nice cranberry sauce to lighten things up! But the non-nouveau wines are great, too." Jacoby's go-to is Beaujolais l’Ancien Vieilles Vignes, 2011 ($16.99) from natural wine maker Jean-Paul Brun.
While we’re certainly not the type to tote along a bottle for bragging rights, this suggestion from Fork and High Street on Market’s Paul Rodriguez is sure to land you a bit of oeno-cred. López de Heredia Rioja Crianza, Viña Cubillo, 2005 ($29.99) is a great turkey wine with wonderful earth and acidity. “It’s a classic, long-aged Rioja from the best bodega producing that style,” Rodriguez tells us of this cult favorite. “It’s the new Burgundy for Thanksgiving, even though everyone is convinced pinot noir is best with turkey. Go this route and you are much cooler.”
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