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10 Wines for Thanksgiving — No Pinot or Chardonnay Allowed

I know when the holidays are nearing because of the massive number of pitches, press releases and (a small amount) of wine start coming in. I’ve been getting these since before Halloween, just like the department stores putting out Christmas decorations super early. Much of the wine is Pinot Noir. I certainly understand that. It’s a safe and expected choice.

Not knocking Pinot here, but I like to introduce my guests to interesting wines. So no Pinot Noir or Chardonnay here, just my top 10 recommendations to try along with the turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. All the wines, except for a big splurge on a Sauternes from Chateau Coutet (hey, it’s the holidays), sell for $25 and less. Read more

DRINK – Urban wine

Since wine can be made anywhere these days, it’s no big surprise that Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda, CA (also known as the East Bay) are home to many urban wine brands, both established and start ups. So what if there are no vineyards in the city (that I’m aware of).  At this past weekend’s Urban Wine Experience in Oakland, the local wines were showing rather well, paired with bites from local restaurants. The public event was held by the East Bay Vintner’s Alliance. I found a lot to like, and some really good values. There were many good Rhone varietal bottlings, and that made me happy, since j’adore Rhone wines. I might just need to do a little East Bay Rhone wine tour. These are the standouts: One of my last sips of the day was at Stage Left Cellars. It’s a fairly new player in the urban wine scene.…

EATDRINK – Quivira Vineyards

 If you haven’t heard of Quivira, a winery in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma, it’s about time you get to know them.  They’ve long been in the forefront of sustainability and guardianship of the land.  Tonight they’re hosting a seasonal farm-to-table dinner; much of the meal comes from the winery property.  There’s a biodynamic garden, and it’s not just for the winery.   Quivira grows produce for several local restaurants.  There’s also a chicken coop, beehives, and pigs.  Plus there is a creek, Wine Creek, that runs through the property.  Quivira has been committed to restoring the habitat for steelhead trout for years.   The wines are delicious and quite interesting.  Have you ever heard of using acacia wood barrels?  Or how about co-fermenting Grenache and Zin or Grenache and Petite Sirah?  This is what you’ll find at Quivira.  This is the first release of these 2 wines and they…