Ten Affordable Thanksgiving Wines

You have the turkey, the stuffing, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes -- but what about the wine? Consider this a break-down of tasty selections that will please your picky friends and that will satisfy those who only indulge on special occasions, like this Thursday.

The Bubbly

Conde de Caralt, Cava Brut NV, Spain, $8.99

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This Spanish gem boasts flavors of green apple with a finishing touch of very light sweetness. If sparkling isn't your thing, add a splash of orange juice to create a mimosa, but this unique and medium-bodied flavor is best left unmasked; salud to its amicable bubbly personality.

Mailly, Brut Reserve, Grand Cru, Champagne, France, $34.99

Who says real champagne has to dent your paycheck? You'll be the star of the night when you introduce this elegant Grand Cru to your guests. Wine Spectator, which gave it 89 points, says, " A broad attack signals red berry, honey and underlying citrus flavors, then gathers itself with firm acidity and a chalky texture. This finishes on the dry side, with a lingering honey accent."

The Whites

Whalebone Bay, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ., $11.95

The wine associate at a Crown Liquors we visited described the flavors of this refreshing wine as "lemon zest, green grass and lychee." Sounds exotic, huh? Though Sauvignon Blanc is usually a fish-friendly food, this one has a well rounded disposition, not too tangy, not too sweet - just right with Thanksgiving dishes.

Solena, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2010, $19.99

Pinot Gris is Pinot Grigio - it just uses the French spelling instead of Italian.  A white mutation of the pinot noir grape, Pinot Gris is an ideal white to pair with turkey. With 4% Gewurztraminer, 5% pinot blanc and the other 91% pinot gris, this is a harmonious blend. Perfect to liven up your taste buds after a mouthful of dry white meat.

Sancerre, Loire, France, 2009, $19.99

This tastes like "wet stones," agree the wine associates of the Total Wine store in North Miami. But in a good way, a really good way. A crisp, strong minerally backbone springs to life after the first chilled sip. Made from sauvignon blanc grapes in the Loire valley of France, this confident wine will surely give your senses a whirl; goes great with a fresh piece of turkey with a slab of cranberry sauce on the side.

Rosé (Dry)

Dom Fontanyl Rose' de Provence, France, 2010, $12.99

Presented in a feminine curvy bottle, this soft pink wine has a seductive split-personality. It's easygoing with notes of dry strawberries so it can be enjoyed at a picnic in the park or as a stand-alone gift for a romantic anniversary. Either way, this French lady is crisp, sophisticated and very Thanksgiving worthy.

The Reds

La Delizia, Pinot Noir, Italy, $5.99

This underrated lush red and dark berried wine goes down smoothly. Because of its simple fresh fruity flavor it can be matched with that mysterious stuffing your aunt always makes, actually complimenting it.  The large 1.5 liters are $9.99, which I recommend because this is such an easy drinking red, before you know it the bottle will be empty!

Third Wheel, Red Blend, California, $8.99

This lush blend of cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel, merlot and petite sirah is perfect for those picky friends who say, "I don't like wine." Pour them a glass of this and they might just change their minds. It's an agreeable wine for dis-agreeable people. It's more fun than sophisticated, but because of its melody of different grapes its taste is one of a kind. The Zinfandel steps out as the dominant juicy flavor.

Solena, Ponot Noir Grande Cuvee, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2009, $29.99

This serious pinot should only be shared with close family and friends who appreciate fine wine. Bursting with flavors of candied cherries and mixed with a blend of six different single vineyard pinot noirs, this red is sure to get some serious nods of approval. It's mild when going down your throat but does not compromise on body. Pinot Noirs are ideal Thanksgiving wines "because of they're medium bodied well balanced food wines," say a representative of the Solena winery, who happend to be pouring this wonder. Only 4,000 cases are made of this flavorful wine. Wine Enthusiast rates it 90 points.

Dessert Wine

Domaine L'Ermitage, Le Muscat, France, 2010 (500ml) $14.99

Plump figs, apricot and honey are the first three words that come to mind when describing the flavor profile of this decadent after-dinner wine. Serve chilled and pour in small amounts. Sure to be a crowd favorite for those who have an insatiable sweet tooth. Would pair exceptionally well with a nice warm peach pie.

Most of these wines I found at Total Wine & More as well as Crown Wine and Spirits. Inquire with your local wine store for availability.

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