Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, in case that fact has slipped anyone’s notice. Whether host or hostee for a Thanksgiving soiree, it is not too late to select a wine for the hungry masses or a little gem for a special host thank-you.
Drum roll, please. For the first time in almost 15 years of writing this column, I am about to do something startling. I am about to recommend a box wine. Wine snobs can now pick themselves up off the floor.
If wine is needed for a crowd, a box of La Nevera, a red blend from Spain, just might be the ticket for Thanksgiving or other holiday gatherings.
The box contains the equivalent of four bottles of a red blend composed primarily of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano. It is priced at $28 per box (which comes to $7 per bottle).
I tasted this wine at a trade show in September, where most purveyors to my delight were touting the virtues of and pouring their top pricey wines.
Reluctantly, while joking about the proper glass for box wine, I accepted a pour from a box of La Nevera. I, along with fellow tasters, was taken aback by the quality of this wine.
It turns out there is a reason for this. La Nevera is made in the region of Rioja, but "Rioja" does not appear on the label. La Nevera is also offered in more expensive standard glass bottles carrying the geographical "Rioja" indication, but the regulatory council of Rioja does not allow the name "Rioja" to be connected with any box wines. Omitting the name "Rioja" on the box allows Nevera to pay a lesser tax on the wine and hence pass that savings along to consumers.
For a box wine, this is a fairly limited production. Made from organically farmed grapes and aged in stainless steel, this is a lighter red wine with pure fruit flavors, making it ideal for Thanksgiving fare. If not entirely consumed with the Thanksgiving meal, it will last three to four months in the fridge. The wine is vacuum sealed and dispensed through an airtight spigot that keeps oxygen from getting to the wine, thus giving it a longer shelf life.
Locally, it is available only at Tyson’s Fine Wine and Things in Anniston, where owner Janet Tyson Prosser is offering customers complimentary pours from the box throughout the holiday shopping season.
Other holiday wines
For those reluctant to appear at a holiday gathering with a box of wine under their arms, one might conceal the box in a pet carrier — or check out some of the following gems that will offer a festive note to most holiday menus:
Marenco Pineto, Brachetto d’Acqui. $22.75 at Tyson’s. Marenco is the producer. Pineto is the region. Brachetto d’Acqui is the grape
Sourced from the Piedmont region of Italy, this is a light, slightly sweet, fizzy, muscatty, low alcohol (only 5.5 percent by volume) delicate wine. Great for those who infrequently drink wine or those just becoming acquainted with wine. Especially good as an aperitif or with berry desserts.
Graham’s Six Grape Reserve Port. Available in three different sizes at Tyson’s, ranging in price from $9.75 for a 187ml bottle to $27.25 for a standard size bottle. This is an unctuous, ripe berry, syrupy sweet wine. Port should be served in small quantities because it is fortified. This particular wine is 19.9 percent by volume.
Pair with toasted pecans or walnuts, pears, chocolate and most cheeses.
Champagne. No guest with a bottle of Champagne is going to be turned away. True Champagne comes only from the Champagne region of France, so always look for the country of origin when selecting your holiday bubbly.
The least expensive true Champagne I have found is Costco’s Kirkland Signature Champagne Brut, which sells in the $20 range. Tyson’s offers a moderately priced (for true Champagne) Lallier for $44.25. Moet & Chandon Brut is currently on sale at Publix for $44.99, and prestige cuvee Dom Pérignon is $149.99 at Publix.
Contact Pat Kettles at firstname.lastname@example.org.