Villa Gemma 2015 Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Rosé – This rosé is made from one of my all-time “just drink it” grapes, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. (Cerasuolo is the town near where the grapes are sourced.) It’s considerably darker in hue than most rosé. In the bottle, the wine could easily be confused for a lighter red, like a Chianti. It pours bright ruby red with a medium weight body and flavors of cranberry and cherry. Despite the fruitiness, it’s quite dry and somewhat acidic on the finish, which would make it practically ideal for a varied table. $12.
Les Dauphins 2014 Côtes du Rhône Réserve Rouge – This is a solid, round, lightly tannined red. Rustic plummy flavor and aromas with a little smokiness towards the back. A lasting finish with very nice balanced fruits and tannin. I thought this was a great all-purpose red. There’s enough of that French earthy backbone to be interesting yet not scare off casual red wine drinkers. It would basically pair with anything roasted – turkey and pork would go very well, but you could pull it out for something like roasted fish in a darker sauce or even a beef tenderloin. Super flexible, which is what you’re looking for. $13.
Marina Cvetic 2010 Merlot – Instead of the Supertuscan blends one might expect, this wine’s made from 100% Merlot. Rather than a domestic fruit bomb, the blackberry and plum flavors are much more restrained within a framework of Old World earthiness, coupled with some background minerality from the terroir. The Sweet Partner in Crime thought this was a little too big for her, but I thought it was a pretty nice wine. I appreciated the fuller body without overwhelming fruitiness. Considerably better with food than on its own, this would be an ideal wine alongside something cheesy, like a casserole that uses gouda or sharp cheddar to hold things together. About $25 a bottle, which makes it a little pricier than I’d usually use for Thanksgiving, but if you have a small gathering of red wine drinkers and you want to provide something a little on the upscale side, it’s a solid option.
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