Affordable Thanksgiving Wines

When it comes to Thanksgiving, you're not just pouring for one. You need to impress with a few well-chosen bottles that won't drain your bank account, but will still delight your guests. 

Avignonesi Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano 2011 $29

"This is a surprisingly elegant wine at a gentle, mid-range price. With almost 500 acres of vineyards, the Avignonesi winery is located just north east of historic Montepulciano in southern Tuscany, and this 100-percent sangiovese is a fine example of the winemaker's craft.

A beautiful, deep, black-cherry red in the glass, this Vino Nobile's nose bursts with dark cherry and red fruit along with glimmers of herb, cinnamon, and allspice. The wine is very well-structured, medium-bodied, and opens with more of that red fruit cut by balanced tannins; there is some earth and spice in the moderately long, smooth finish.

I would serve this wine with a goose, game birds such as turkey, and even red meat; it would also be a perfect beverage for a well-chosen selection of cheeses." — Anne Montgomery, wine columnist

Berlucchi Cuvée Imperiale Brut Franciacorta $16

"It's almost a cliché, but a dry sparkling wine goes with almost any food, and those of Franciacorta, Italy provide finesse at an affordable price. What makes make this an excellent choice is part palate-cleansing bubbles, and part finishing acidity. Many experts agree that Franciacorta is the closest sparkler to Champagne in both quality and elegance, and its use of traditional pinot noir and chardonnay gives both its bruts and rosés flavorful attributes that will match, not overpower, food." — Roger Morris, wine columnist

Bob’s Pinotage Western Cape 2012 $9

"Don't let the price of this bottle fool you. Bob's, which hails from South Africa's Western Cape, is an excellent wine — holding its own with a dry, medium-bodied, fruity flavor — yet really opens up when paired with bold proteins, such as turkey, making it an obvious choice for the Thanksgiving meal. Light tannins and mid-line intensity are joined with hints of earth, mushroom, and cherry."  Amanda Jean Black, Drink Editor, The Daily Meal

Château de La Chaize Brouilly $16

"The light fruitiness of a quality Beaujolais blended with good acidity, but light tannins will match it with most dishes from baked ham to leftover turkey legs — even pumpkin pie. One of the many attractions of good Beaujolais is that its primary grape, gamay, bears some resemblance to the fruitiness and earthiness of the pinot noirs next door in Burgundy. However, the price of Beaujolais, even the upscale Beaujolais Villages, bears no resemblance to that of big brother Burgundy." — Roger Morris, wine columnist

Perticaia Montefalco Sagrantino 2008 $40-$45

"This wine hails from Umbria, Italy and is 100-percent Sagrantino di Montefalco, an increasingly popular grape that was nearly extinct 50 years ago. Touted as the "hidden jewel" of the region, it proved to be a popular varietal, and today more than 70 producers are making high-value wine from its fruit. The Perticaia is aged for 36 months, divided evenly between French oak barrels, steel tanks, and bottles for aging.

Deep red, almost inky in the glass, the wine has a nose redolent of purple plum, blackberry, cinnamon, and a whiff of vanilla. It's well balanced, and the fruit is tempered by oak and licorice on the palate. The structure is interesting due to significant tannins that provide a dry, smooth, moderately long finish. This wine needs aeration — I'd open it several hours before serving, or decant it at least an hour in advance to let it breathe sufficiently before enjoying." — Anne Montgomery, wine columnist

Quivira Fig Tree Sauvignon Blanc Dry Creek Valley Sonoma $22

"Sauvignon blanc, with its great acidity, is a wonderful partner for food. The folks at Quivira have been farming organically and biodynamically for years, which comes out in the purity of the fruit. This one leads with a huge nose loaded with appealing, bright fruit aromas. Citrus, tropical fruit, and fleshy yellow melon flavors dominate the appealing palate. Sour yellow fruits and white pepper appear on the lingering finish. Dry Creek Valley is home to many fine examples of sauvignon blanc, and this is one of the best as well as most consistent." — Gabe Sasso, wine columnist

Rodney Strong Vineyards Pinot Noir Russian River Valley $25

"When treated right, pinot noir is one of the most food-friendly wines in the world, marrying well with a wide array of cuisines, which makes it perfect for the mélange of flavors on the Thanksgiving table. This example from Rodney Strong has a strong sense of its Russian River Valley origins, one of the great places in the world to grow pinot: loaded with varietal character and featuring red fruits, silky tannins and a long, memorable finish. — Gabe Sasso, wine columnist

Rutini Trumpeter Malbec Mendoza 2010 $12

"I'm all about Argentine malbecs from Mendoza — that fixation began with this bottle. It's dense, rich, and full-bodied, a classic example of the variety, with strong tannins and a long finish, which will hold its own at the table, no matter what sides you're serving. Fruity notes complement the flavors of the season with black fruit and plum, as well as hints of spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and pepper rounding out the spectrum." — Amanda Jean Black, Drink Editor, The Daily Meal