Here are four wines and a cider worthy of your dinner table anytime, including Thanksgiving. Last year, I recommended the sparkling Norton from Casanel Vineyards in Loudoun County, Virginia. If you can get out to the winery, the current vintage is worth the trip. But here is a sparkling shiraz from South Africa that is also extremely food-friendly and surprisingly good—surprising because it doesn’t fit any paradigm. You could also go with the Lambrusco from northern Italy I recommended earlier this year.
Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red Lot Number 66
Year after year, this is one of California’s best values. Based on zinfandel, this savory, stylish blend is so good it may distract you from your meal. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Valravn Old Vine Zinfandel 2015
Sonoma County, California, $20
This zinfandel from some of Sonoma’s older vineyards is spicy with raspberry and cranberry fruit flavors, plus hints of clove and pepper. Pull the cork an hour or two before dinner to give the wine a chance to develop. ABV: 14.7 percent.
Mt. Defiance Farmhouse Style Hard Cider
Middleburg, Va., $16
Mt. Defiance is one of several Virginia cideries to emerge in the past few years, part of a national wave to bring back traditional-style hard cider. It’s a great bridge in style between beer and wine, with the benefit of low alcohol. This cider is clean and fresh, with just a hint of earthiness, not the funky quality European cider can get. ABV: 6.9 percent.
Lumos Logsdon Ridge Vineyard Pinot Gris 2015
Willamette Valley, Oregon, $19
Rich, mouth-filling and relatively low in acidity, with some baking-spice notes, this pinot gris is more in the Alsace style than Italian pinot grigio. That makes it a nice partner for rich foods like the Thanksgiving feast. I’m looking at you, candied yams with mini-marshmallows! ABV: 13.5 percent.
Stellenbosch Vineyards Four Secrets Sparkling Shiraz
South Africa, $16
Sparkling red wine is admittedly odd, but when it works it can be fun, tasty and food-friendly. The Four Secrets offers spicy red fruit and bramble flavors. It may just be the partner for your cranberry sauce. ABV: 12 percent.