The weather has me in a weird mood. Sunny days have me pining for the summer that never was and enjoying two delicious late-season rosés, from southern France and Macedonia. (You don’t abandon rosé after Labor Day, do you? Good - me neither.) And the cool evenings have me hankering for wines with more heft. I’m not good at advance planning (just ask my editor), but the first three wines in this week’s list would be ideal for Thanksgiving. The two from Left Foot Charley - one of my favorite wineries - have two strikes against them: They are unfamiliar grapes, and they come from an unfamiliar region. They are also new to the market, so don’t be shy about asking your favorite retailer to order them. Then stock up for the holiday feast.
l Forge Cellars Classique Dry Riesling 2016 — Three stars
Forge Cellars is a partnership of French winemaker Louis Barruol of Chateau de Saint Cosme in Gigondas in the Rhone Valley with Americans Rick Rainey and Justin Boyette. Their rieslings do not follow the Finger Lakes style of crisp, fruity and citrusy, but they are rather more substantial in body because of long, slow fermentations. A majority of this wine was aged in neutral (used) barrels - a technique that adds body without overt oaky flavors. The result is a rich, spicy wine with flavors of poached pears and ginger. It would be a great wine for your Thanksgiving table. Alcohol by volume: 13 percent.
l Left Foot Charley Blaufrankisch 2017 — Three stars
Blaufrankisch, also called Lemberger or Blue Franc (a proprietary name), is best known for the lush red wines of Burgenland, in Austria. It has long made cameo appearances in New York and Washington states. This beauty from Michigan is silky and lithe, bursting with flavors of black cherries and blackberries, with just a hint of caraway spice (my identifier for the grape, this note can be overpowering if the grapes were underripe). If I can find more, it will go on my Thanksgiving table. ABV: 13 percent.
Kerner is an obscure grape that resembles gruner veltliner, but perhaps with a little more body. I’ve had a few from northern Italy, and David Ramey makes a California kerner for his Sidebar label. This example from Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula grew on me, its flavors and aromas of white flowers, ripe peaches and apricots expanding as the wine shrugged off the refrigerator’s chill. You may have to hunt around a bit to find it, though. ABV: 12 percent.
This blend of grenache and cinsault is a delicious Provencal rosé, with racy flavors of melon and herbs and a slightly tart finish. The importer has sold out of the bottles, but the wine is still available in three-liter boxes, with more on the way. Consider that a nearly 50 percent discount on four bottles. That’s a steal. Keep the boxes in mind for holiday parties, from Oktoberfest through New Year’s. This is fun, food-friendly, delicious wine. ABV: 12.5 percent.
This is an unusual wine, not just because we don’t see many from Macedonia. It is a blend of the white rkatsiteli grape (native to Georgia) and the native Balkan red vranec. The mash-up is delicious - a basketful of fresh-picked berries with a squirt of citrus. ABV: 12 percent.
Note: Three stars means exceptional, two stars excellent, one star very good.
Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.