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Dan’s Thanksgiving Wine Picks: Pt. I

Man, I am in no way ready for it, I feel like I’m more behind this year than ever, but the first major Holiday of the season will be here in a few short days. I’ve spent the last six-eight months putting together what I personally feel (but hey, I’m a bit biased, right?) is one of the best wine sets in town, but I haven’t had the time to tell you about them properly. But I figured I’d throw a few out here over the next couple of days that I’m particularly excited about. **Please note: we can work with great stuff in any price range, but here I’ve tried to keep things a) relatively affordable and b) wines that pair well with fairly ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving fare. *** So check it out…here’s our first batch of favorites!

Three Italian Exclusives-You’ll only find these three wines (two lighter, juicy reds and one bright, juicy-and-herbal white) here at your Rockbridge Hy-Vee, as we’ve been working with a couple of our distributors to bring in some really great stuff for your enjoyment!

2018 Falesco “Vitiano” Red Blend-I used to sell this delicious Italian table blend when I was on the wholesale side, but back then it was typically $14.99/bottle. Sadly, the distributor has recently discontinued it, but I picked up all they had (16 cases) and got it at a fantastic price. We’re down to six cases, and this is the only place you’ll find it! A blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cabernet. 90pts Somm Journal

$10.99/bottle with a $.25 Fuel Saver

2021 Monte del Fra “‘Ega” Garganega-The wines from Monte del Fra have sold faster than just about any other Italian portfolio I’ve sold in my tenure in…well…any liquor store. We just can’t keep them in stock! “‘Ega” is comprised of Garganega, which is the floral, brightly fruity grape responsible for the ever-popular Soave! This wine is a perfect pick for those of you who like Sauvignon Blanc but want something a little bit different! It’s bright, immensely fruity, floral, subtly spicy, and bone-dry…so cleansing and refreshing, it’s impossible not to like!

$15.99/bottle with a $.25 Fuel Saver

2020 Monte del Fra “Tenuta Lena di Mezzo” Valpolicella Classico-We did so well with the Monte del Fra white and rose wines over the summer that now that it’s colder outside, we had to give the reds a shot! This wine is bright and zesty, with beautiful flavors of ripe berries, cocoa, Asian spice, and lightly floral notes. It’s medium bodied, and oh-so-easy-drinking, it disappears much faster than it probably should! The best value in ‘standard’ Valpolicella Classico I’ve seen in years!! If you’re not serving it with Thanksgiving, serve it up with pizza or pasta the night after!!

$14.99/bottle (save $8.00/bottle this week!!)

Revealing Rieslings: Ready for Turkey!!-Turkey and Riesling go together like…well…turkey and Riesling! I’m not typically a sweet wine fan, but a semi-sweet German Riesling with gobs of freshness and acidity, along with reasonably low alcohol levels, is one of the absolute best pairings on your Holiday table. The more mineral-driven, slate-rich, firm dry German and German-style Rieslings work equally well, but with a slightly different flavor profile. Three of the four of the wines below can only be found here…they’re some really special bottles that would perfectly complement your feast this week!

2021 Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling (Finger Lakes)-The Finger Lakes district in New York produces some really phenomenal dry Rieslings. While the name might have you expecting something that’s Germanic in style, this is very much New World Riesling…and not just that; it’s Finger Lakes Riesling! Leaner, and more linear than something from, say, Washington State, but with great freshness and vibrancy. So, so good at this price!

$15.99/bottle (save $6.00 this week!)

2015 Reinholt Haart Piesporter Spatlese-Here’s a fantastic deal on a preorder-only Library Release from a fantastic Mosel producer. Haart’s vines are all grown in slate soils on steeply-sloping parcels right along the Mosel. Aged German Riesling is one of the most beautiful wines in the world, and this has plenty of mineral, bright fruit, and acid to counteract the sweetness of the wine. The result is a complex bottle that doesn’t drink nearly as sweet as it is. Delicious stuff!

$29.99/bottle (save $9.00 this week!)

2020 Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Kabinett-This was a one-shot-at-it allocated item from one of our most consistent vendors. This Katinett-level ripeness wine carries the often misunderstood term “Feinherb”, which is basically synonymous with “off-dry”. Delicate fruit, and zippy acidity that perfectly counterbalances the wine’s subtle sweetness make this a fantastic pairing for your Holiday table!!

$27.99/bottle, with a whopping $.50 Fuel Saver!!

2019 Eva Fricke “Kiedrich” Riesling Trocken (Dry)-This one…this one took some serious hunting to find. I’d be surprised if anyone else in the state…ok, well at least in the center of the state…managed to get any of this. Dry, rich, and quite mineral-driven, this is full-bodied, complex, and is a fantastic introduction to ‘serious’ dry German Riesling without breaking the bank! We’ve got a very limited amount. 93pts James Suckling, 92pts Robert Parker

$43.99/bottle (save $6.00 this week!)

Perfect Pinot Noir-Who says you can’t do svelte, silky red wines with poultry. Of course you can, especially when it’s Pinot Noir! And here we’ve got an absolutely unbelievable selection of Pinots that we’ve carefully curated. That’s right, you’re not gonna find the majority of these anywhere else! And what’s that, an allocated, single-vineyard Burgundy from one of our favorite producers? Yup!!

2017 Domaine Anderson Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley)-I used to sell this on the wholesale side (along with Carpe Diem, Roederer Estate, Scharffenberger, and other fantastic items from Bordeaux mastermind, nay, legend Christian Moueix). For supporting the portfolio so faithfully, I was offered a single case of the 2017 on closeout…the only one the distributor had. Deep and full-bodied, ready to drink now! 94pts Tasting Panel, 94pts Somm Journal, 92pts Wine Enthusiast, 91pts Robert Parker…a steal at this price!!

$29.99/bottle on sale (regularly $44.99…we got the only case available!!)

2019 Tembo Pinot Noir-It is almost impossible to find Pinot Noir under $20.00 that actually tastes like Pinot Noir or hints at what the grape is capable of. This is one of the few that we’ve found, and we sell a ton of it! Delicate-yet-rich, with beautiful varietal typicity, it’s no wonder we cannot keep this on the shelf!

$16.99/bottle with a $.35 Fuel Saver!!

2018 Maysara “3 Degrees” Pinot Noir-Here’s another one that a) really flies under the radar and b) delivers real “Pinot” purity and class for under $20.99. In this case, this is the ‘entry-level’ wine from the Maysara label, a family-owned operation that has built a formidable reputation on all-organic and all-biodynamic farming. Dark, finely-poised, and slightly earthy, this is a entry-level Oregon Pinot Noir with Burgundian flair! 90pts Wine Enthusiast

$18.99/bottle (you save $6.00 this week!)

2017 Lumen Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara)-Y’all have been asking me for Santa Barbara Pinot Noirs, and here’s a hard-to-find, highly-rated example that’s lush, svelte, and delicate, but with enough stuffing to stand up to food. From winemaking female trailblazer Lane Tanner. Beautiful bottle, beautiful wine, excellent price! 93pts “Editors’ Choice” Wine Enthusiast

$30.99/bottle (you save $6.00 this week!)

2018 Guy & Ivan Dufouleur Nuits-St-Georges “Aux-St-Julien”-You know me, I had to put some Burgundy on here, since we’ve spent so much time cultivating a presence in the market! This producer has impressed us…big time! This comes from a tiny vineyard (just over 1 acre) with vines that are 65+ years old. 100% Pinot, aged for 12 months in French oak, 1/3 of which is new. 93pts Wine Enthusiast. There’s the age-old argument here about whether to decant young Red Burgundy or not…all I’ll say is, open the bottle and decide for yourself! This was an allocation-only bottle, and not widely available!

$52.99/bottle (you save $7.00 this week!!)

Zen-fully Zesty Zinfandel-It doesn’t seem to make sense at first…Zinfandels are often big, bold, spicy, moderately tannic, and alcoholic…but there’s something about the brambly, berry-and-spice character of Zin that makes it pair perfectly with turkey. This is for the more adventurous ones among you who just have to have a bigger red with Thanksgiving!

2019 Pedroncelli “Bushnell Vineyard” Zinfandel-The Bushnell Vineyard has been central to winemaking and Zinfandel at Pedroncelli for a long time, and it always produces big, brooding, yet never heavy wines. It’s spicy and full, but not heavy, and hides its rather substantial alcohol very well. Not a spice bomb, nor is it overly jammy…it’s really rather elegant for its size! From a winery that’s been family owned and operated for over 90 years, and still going strong!

$20.99/bottle (you save $4.00 this week!)

2021 Scar of the Sea “Lopez Vineyard” Zinfandel-Talk about old vines! Lopez Vineyard was planted way back in 1918 and is now certified organic! The old, gnarled vines are dry-farmed and minimal sulfur is used at bottling. Aging was done in well-aged French oak, and only 240 cases of this wine were produced. What a treat! 92pts “Editors’ Choice” Wine Enthusiast

$31.99/bottle (you save $8.00 this week!)

2020 Oakville Winery “Oakville” Zinfandel-We’ve just recently brought in the wines (Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc) from the Oakville Winery, but the quality they offer at the price (where else can you get Oakville juice for under $25?!) is fantastic. Sweet fruit, with plenty of spice and supple tannins. Give it a try!

$23.99/bottle (you save $4.00 this week!)

I would love to get a “Part II” of this list out to y’all tomorrow (we’ve got a bunch of lovely new bottles coming in) but with how today’s gone…we’ll see. I just wanted to put a few picks out there for y’all that we’ve carefully cultivated for our collection over the past few months. That’s the difference you get shopping at Rockbridge…we’ll always have something new and fun for you, and oftentimes you won’t find it anywhere else locally!




One thought on “Dan’s Thanksgiving Wine Picks: Pt. I

  1. Do you have this bottle of wine or ever get it? Had it at big cedar and it was very good for a smooth, not as sweet, Moscato for my wife.


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