Spirits of the Season 2014: Exquisite Thanksgiving Bargain Wines From Spain, Chile

Spirits of the Season 2014 will bring you the hottest new recipes, spirits and wines from the coolest distilleries, vineyards, restaurants and bars from all across the globe!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to relax with the family and friends and shop for and plan for a magnificent feast. The time compression and stress can be alleviated with having a tasty glass of wine to accompany the chopping, stirring and sauteing. Thanksgiving meals deserve tasty wines that complement the food, and more importantly, do not bankrupt the host or guest who brings a gift.

If you’re looking for unpretentious high-quality, robust red wines and crisp whites to usher in the fall, Spain (and Chile) are great places to begin your search.  People love to drink wine with the entire meal. For the turkey, I prefer serving red wines, full bodied, fresh and elegant reds and a variety of Spanish and Chilean wines will work well. The whites have to be chilled at the ready and on hand for the red haters and for appetizer courses too.

The countries offer considerable quality and value with very good wines for $10-20 or so. The Spanish cavas are exquisite and pair nicely with dessert courses, and beyond the wines, the regions themselves, mostly rugged and mountainous, are rich in breathtaking beauty.

Oro de Castilla Verdejo:  (SRP: $14.99)

oro de castilla
Sexy and subtle notes, this is a fantastic wine. Oro de Castilla is a wine made by Bodegas Hermanos del Villar in the Rueda DO region. The bright, fresh and mineral flavors of the Verdejo grape, this wine has been called “a textbook Verdejo” by renowned wine critic Josh Raynolds of Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. Ripe grassy, fresh, citrus aroma and melon on the nose, with subtle ginger and chamomile qualities adding complexity. Smooth and underscored with honeydew and tangerine flavors that become more tangy as it oxidizes. Displays very good focus on the close, leaving lively citrus zest and floral notes lingering on the palate.  The flavor profile is similar to Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, except that with Oro de Castilla there’s also a firm minerality that recalls the best examples of Sancerre.  This is a fabulous wine to pair with fish, grilled chicken, turkey of course and savory vegetable heavy casseroles, or soft, ripe cheeses.  In wine connoisseur speak, it’s lover-ly.

2012 Bodegas Angel Rodriguez Martinsancho Verdejo Rueda: (Around $16)


The 2012 Martínsancho offers attractive aromas in a vibrant, light yellow wine. Pungent, mineral-accented notes of lemon and green apple, with subtle herbal and floral qualities adding complexity for a ripe and flavorful finish on the palate. This wine offers a good acidity, viscosity and freshness on the finish making this a highly rated (over 90 points) Verdejos out there for you to purchase.  The emergence of Rueda as a prestigious white wine region is the story of a unique grape called Verdejo. Martínsancho is Angel Rodríguez’ 17th-century vineyard responsible for the preservation of Rueda’s indigenous Verdejo grape. Angel Rodríguez actually saved the Verdejo grapes through his careful agriculture and knowledge of the 17th-century vineyard, Martínsancho. For his life’s work, he was officially honored by King Juan Carlos.  Lovely and light, this is the chilled wine you serve the white wine lover who hates a heavier red or oakier Chardonnays.

2012 Anderra Carmenere: (SRP $10.99)

anderra carmenrene

This is one of those OMG moments. For the money, it’s a home-run must-have must serve wine.

Ripe, saturated, oak tinged aromas of blackberry, leather, blueberries, blackberries and a broad tannin finish are incredibly alluring. This is a fruit-forward, youthful, elegant wine that renders huge in the mouth, with lemon-citrus underscored oak that yields to notes of coffee, toast and smoky flavors finish for a truly bargain textural experience and character.  Holy crap. Unpretentious, Highly quaff-able. Great gift. Buy a case.

2012 Anderra Cabernet Sauvignon: (SRP $10.99)

anderra cab sauv

A complex intense ruby red vibrant fruit, full body and smooth tannins experience that makes a fantastic addition to the holiday buffet.  Made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.  Anderra Cabernet Sauvignon delivers an aromatic bouquet of spices and ripe red berries, such as black and red currants, and is hand harvested from select vineyards in the most distinguished areas of Central Chile—Maule, Maipo and Rapel Valleys. The grapes are grown at relatively high altitudes, between 1,600 and 3,200 feet. The Bordeaux vinification method guarantees a subtle balance between fruit freshness and more woody notes.

Serve this one with red meat with rich sauces, grilled steak, pastas with meat sauces or hearty stews. It’s genius for making mulled wine and glogg too.

Vaza Crianza 2011: (SRP $15)

vaza 2011

This lovely red is produced in Solar Viejo, a winery found on the shoulder of Laguardia in Rioja Alavesa. Med entirely of Tempranillo grapes aged in American and French oak barrels for at least 12 months, thsi moderately priced Spaniard is a ruby-red, smooth operator with underscored notes of vanilla and anise giving it a depth and interesting linger on the palate. It’s quite a punch of flavor, with a positive note of tannin and a medium acidity. Serve this one with cheeses, red meats and richer, saucy casseroles.

Valdubón Cosecha 2012 (SRP $15)

valduburon 2012

Valdubón is part of the notable Heredad Collection of ultra-premium wines, and include Reserva, Crianza, and Cosecha.

Valdubón Cosecha is made solely from Tempranillo grapes, known locally as Tinto del País. Other authorized grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Garnacha. Although Albillo, a white variety, is authorized, it is used only as a blending grape in DO wines since only reds and rosados (rosés) are authorized.

Ribera del Duero wines are in great demand due to limited production.  What we get with this lovely Spaniard is an intense morello cherry red mouth burst, in a fragrant garnet hue with a nose of fresh fruit aromas of strawberries, plums and blackberries. The palate shows low tannins, perfect for a holiday meal, and is bright initially from its acidity.  Balanced in length, finishing with crisp red fruit flavors. This is a perfect pour with dinner. And it’s cheap for the high quality you get.

Recent accolades:

88 POINTS – 2012 Valdubon Cosecha: “Dark violet, blueberry and earthy black plummy fruit greets the nose along with streaks of licorice and medicinal spice. Tight, focused and just a bit tart on entry, this open nicely on the palate featuring soft, almost plush fruit underpinned with firm, slight rustic tannins. There’s some nice fruit here, blueberry and plum toned, but the emerging savory nuance adds attractive complexity. It’s a pretty well behaved wine showing a hint of sophistication yet retaining the rugged character of Ribera.” - Snooth, March 2014

Segura Viudas Brut, Extra Dry, Brut Rosé, Gran Cuvée Reserva

Dessert wines, or with appetizers, we loved these three cavas. For the holiday table, we recommend:


segura brut

The Segura Viudas wines come from the renowned Penedès region of Spain just outside of Barcelona.  Segura Viudas hand crafts distinctive, artisan méthode champenoise sparkling wines according to Cava traditions begun over 100 years ago. Brut is a palatable option with aromas of citrus, tropical fruits, and underscored with light floral notes. The palate is exquisite, complex and full of flavor, with good acidity and notes of lime and pineapple. It is dry and long on the finish.  Steeped in rich Spanish heritage and situated on an estate that dates to the 11th century, Segura Viudas uses modern winemaking techniques to create sophisticated yet approachable cavas. Extraordinary wines built for everyday consumption, their flagship line includes Brut and Extra Dry, fruity and aromatic cuvées resulting from an elevated percentage of Macabeo, and the dry, berry-driven Brut Rosé.

Extra Dry

segura extra dry

Segura Viudas Extra Dry is just lovely, not too sweet. and possesses a good intensity in fresh aromas of fruity and floral notes well integrated with yeasty aromas, developed during the aging time in bottle. The palate is fruity and elegant, with just a touch of sweetness and acidity making it the ideal companion to many desserts. Segura Viudas cavas are all created from a blend of reserve and non-vintage wines.

Brut is a cuvée of Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo grapes grown in the renowned Penedès region of Spain. The wine is vinified according to méthode champenoise technique and is aged in the bottle for up to 2 years.
I always serve this cava when there is company coming over.

Brut Rosé

segura brut rose

Segura Viudas’ dry, berry-driven Brut Rosé is a genus cava with bright, light strawberry pink bubbles with hints of salmon and a pale fine, abundant and consistent mousse. It looks sweet but is really sophisticated and on the dry side. Youthful fruit aromas of strawberry, redcurrant and grenadine. Refreshing on the palate, with tinges of black cherry and a lightly acidic finish on the palate gives a lovely approachable balance to this very drinkable cava.  Lovely and what a wonderful wine for the money. Buy cases of the Segura Viudas cavas and serve them fearlessly over the holidays. You can find all three of these cavas for under $20 if you shop good sales at Total Wine or BevMo.




Elsewhere on the Web