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Saturday, November 18, 2017

(Courtesy of Royal Wines) There’s a snap in the air, the fall wines are in, and according to Gabriel Geller, there’s much to be thankful for in this season’s cornucopia of intriguing releases.

The prominent wine critic and blogger says this year’s options are truly outstanding. He also points to California and Israel for deliciously sophisticated selections at a great value.

Geller recently recommended some best bets to complement a hearty Thanksgiving meal—or to amp up the gratitude at any occasion, large or small. Read on for Geller’s top picks.

Celler de Capçanes Peraj Ha’abib Pinot Noir, 2015 (Spain) (SRP $29.99)

From Catalonia’s Capçanes Winery comes a new kosher varietal that’s “not just any wine; it’s a Pinot Noir.” The 2015 vintage brings hints of black cherries, green olives, freshly turned earth and leather to a medium-bodied, deeply flavorful wine. While an ideal match for turkey, Geller also suggests pairing this Pinot with lamb.

Noting that the people of Catalonia recently voted to secede from Spain, Geller added, “If and when that is enforced, Catalonia will be a new country with its own wine region, not just an appellation of Spain. It should be fascinating to watch this wine evolve over the coming five to 10 years.”

Flechas de Los Andes, Gran Malbec, 2015 (Argentina) (SRP $24.99)

One of Argentina’s most celebrated Malbecs, this kosher wine is a loving venture between the distinguished Rothschild and Dassault families. It’s more than worthy of both families’ reputation for excellence, says Geller, “a flamboyant New World wine with the class and elegance more often associated with Old World wines.” Bold and full-bodied, it carries notes of berries, roasted meat and vanilla. While it’s ready to enjoy now, he predicts that the 2015 will age and evolve beautifully over the next few years. Serve it at the Thanksgiving table or pair it with a juicy, rare T-bone steak.

Herzog Variations 4 Cabernet Sauvignon (California) (SRP: $24.99)

Geller reports some good news from California: Despite the intense heat wave and devastating wildfires, “Royal Wineries and their suppliers in Sonoma and Napa Counties are still operational, and they are expected to produce lovely wines for years to come.”

One of those wineries, Herzog, produces a Variations series of five high-quality wines, each made to highlight particular characteristics and educate consumers about important factors such as the source of the grapes and the winemaking techniques.

The French Oak and American Oak Variations are the result of one single wine separated into two batches, each aged in a different type of oak barrel for the same amount of time. This showcases the impact of American oak versus French oak on wine.

Variations 3, 4 and 5 grapes each come from a different vineyard within California’s renowned wine areas. These Variations illustrate how fruit grown in specific types of soil and elevations make a difference.

Herzog Variations 4 Cabernet Sauvignon is a medium- to full-bodied wine featuring notes of red cherries, cassis, sweet spices and vanilla. Geller suggests marrying it with roast beef in a savory mushroom gravy.

Teperberg Essence Chardonnay (Israel) (SRP: $29.99)

The Essence series is one of Teperberg’s higher-end lineups of wines. Grown in prime vineyards located in the Galilee and Judean Hills, these wines are meticulously crafted to reflect their varietal characteristics while retaining the winemaker’s signature. Geller describes the Essence Chardonnay as “a luscious white wine with notes of baked apples, lemons and stone fruits with an elegant roasted almond finish.” He enthusiastically recommends pairing it with roasted turkey, oven-baked salmon, asparagus in
béchamel sauce or creamy pumpkin gnocchi.