All these emails advertising the perfect wine for my Thanksgiving feast has got me thinking, again, about the perfect wine. Is the perfect wine an objective truth, a 100 point score from a professional critic, or a subjective one, e.g., the wine you've really wanted to try for forever and never have, which compliments your meal perfectly, and which leaves you wishing for me? Or is it simply a decent wine, that doesn't break the bank, that tastes good and goes down smooth and doesn't leave you hungover? I think it must be all three: a cheap, 100 point wine, that won't give you a hangover now matter how much you indulge, and that, my friends, simply does not exist.
So in this time of great upheaval and confusion, both economic and vinous, I have taken the liberty of suggesting some of my favorite wines from the past year to consider popping the corks on Thanksgiving (see below). Some are Good Values, others are Cellar Selections, all are American. (Why that's important to me ... I don't really know. But there it is.) None of these are "perfect," but they will go down smooth.
Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Merlot 2004 ** a very good merlot with blueberry notes and solid body that can be had for under $20
Bryce Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004 **** ripe and succulent but with sufficient acidity to hold it all together. This has the legs to last many more years, but is drinking nicely now, and if you can find it, will run you about $50.
Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs 2006 *** A versatile and complex blend (predominantly zinfandel) for around $30 that could perfect a turkey feast.
Hendry Block 28 Napa Valley Zinfandel 2004 ** With succulent minerality and blackberry charm, this will suit those who want complex, noteworthy wines for dinner.For my own dinner table ... I still haven't decided what I'm going to be opening tomorrow, but aside from those wines listed above, there's a 1979 Hanzell Pinot Noir that I've been eyeing hungrily the past few weeks. I think it's still good, and I don't think it will live past the weekend.