Great Gobbling Grapes

Five Washington wines to go with turkey, stuffing, and Aunt Edna’s cranberry sauce.

By Chris S. Nishiwaki June 5, 2009 Published in the November 2007 issue of Seattle Met

Despite Thanksgiving’s Puritan past, wine is often an important element of the celebration feast. But which wine? Floral white or a fruity red? Maybe a dry rosé instead? Considering the complex flavors of turkey-day trimmings, the correct answer is all of the above. Depending on the size of your crew and the spread on your table, you’ll need an assortment to sate your guests and complement your courses. With this in mind, give thanks that so many feastworthy Washington wines are available for $25 and under.

Naches Heights Vineyard 2006 Riesling, Columbia Valley $16
The Washington wine industry built its reputation on riesling and gewürztraminer, and this is one of the latest and greatest examples. Crafted in the Alsatian style, the balanced, elegant wine has a fruity nose with layers of apricot, peaches, tangerine, and kumquat that lead to sweet honeysuckle and passion fruit. A long, steely, citrusy, pink-grapefruit finish means it drinks nicely with the sweet-potato mash.
George’s Wine Shoppe, 521 156th Ave SE, Bellevue, 425-644-7723;

Ross Andrew 2006 Pinot Gris, Celilo Vineyard $16
Ross Andrew winemaker Ross Mickel initially made cabernet sauvignon exclusively; this is his first foray into white wine. The excellent results suggest the wine is much more than beginner’s luck. Fermented at the famed Celilo Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge AV, its residual sugar levels are slightly higher than normal, so a touch of pleasant sweetness comes through on the palate before the wine unleashes its lip-smacking, zesty acidity. Pour this one when you serve your mother’s cream-based carrot-ginger soup.

Syncline 2005 Pinot Noir, Celilo Vineyard $25
Celilo Vineyard is one of the few sites producing quality pinot noir in Washington, and Poppie and James Mantone capture the beauty of the vineyard in their 2005 pinot. The grapes come from a one-acre block on Celilo’s land that was planted in 1972. An essence of pine needles and mushrooms gives the wine an earthy, forest-foraged appeal; the aroma of cherries hints at the area’s lush, fruit-bearing residents. Served with cranberry sauce, even the kind from a can, Syncline shines.
West Seattle Cellars, 6026 California Ave SW, West Seattle, 206-937-2868;

Howling Wolfe 2005 Zinfandel, Zephyr Ridge Vineyard $18
Thurston Wolfe winemaker Dr. Wade Wolfe is celebrating 20 years of iconoclastic winemaking in Washington. Only a handful of wineries in the state make zinfandel, an all-American wine, and Wolfe captures its fruity nature in this bottle. The big tannic structure of zinfandel pairs nicely with tougher, gamier wild turkey as well as that brussels-sprouts-and-bacon dish the neighbors always bring.
West Seattle Cellars, 6026 California Ave SW, West Seattle, 206-937-2868;

Hedges 2006 CMS Rosé, Columbia Valley $13
With three generations in the grape game, the Hedges family is Washington’s First Family of Wine, and their 2006 rosé is perfect for your family. The copper-colored wine is a blend of 70 percent syrah, 17 percent cabernet sauvignon, and 13 percent marsanne. With strawberries and cherries on the nose and a weighty—for a rosé—midpalate and crisp acidity, it’s a versatile and highly drinkable wine that can complement almost every dish on your table. West Seattle Metropolitan Market, 2320 42nd Ave SW, Admiral, 206-937-0551;

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