By Jason DeRusha

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s the time of year we start popping corks, looking for the perfect wine to go with our Thanksgiving turkey.

But holiday entertaining is a great time to shop for new wines to drink before — and during — the turkey dinner.

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“I think you want [a wine that’s] easy, a crowd-pleaser, that’s soft,” said Annette Peters, the president of Twin Cities-based wine importer Domaines and Appellations.

You can find her wines at shops all over Minnesota, including Solo Vino on Selby in St. Paul.

“We’re going to these farms, we’re tasting these wines at the kitchen table, we know these families,” Peters said. “There’s a lot of frog kissing to find a prince.”

Annette and Solo Vino owner Chuck Kanski want you to go beyond your go-to Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir and try bringing some Spain to your Thanksgiving table.

For example, Lagar de Cervera Albarino is from Rias Baixas, Spain, it’s usually around $20 a bottle.

“It’s Riesling-like in its aromatics,” Peters said.

The Rioja region produces wines that are great to buy for the holidays, because the vineyards do the work for you.

“They age the wine, usually in barrels, until it’s ready,” Peters said.

When I visited La Rioja Alta in Haro, Spain, I saw lots of American oak barrels, including some oak which comes from Minnesota.

These wines are ready to rock: right when you buy.

Rioja Wines labeled Crianza are aged for at least two years; 1 year in in oak.

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“There are crianzas that are 2013 or 2014 that are drinking marvelously,” Kanski said.

Rioja Reserva is aged for 3 years; at least 1 in oak. Gran Reserva wine is aged for 5 years, at least 2 in oak.

Vina Alberdi is a killer Rioja Reserva, made at La Rioja Alta in Haro, Spain, with 100 percent tempranillo.

Vina Ardanza is a step up, with tempranillo and garnacha. Ardanza is aged in oak for 3 years, in the bottle for 5.

“That’s the real reason you drink these wines, the texture. It’s silky,” Peters said.

Solo Vino’s Thanksgiving Wine Recommendations:

Spain
Pere Mata Cava $17.99
Lagar D Cevera Albarino 2015 $19.99
La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi 2010 $21.99
La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza 2007 $40

Budget Buys:

Spain
Camina Tempranillo $9.99
Camina Verdejo $9.99

Portugal

Paixas Lisboa Branco $10.99
Paixas Lisboa Tinto $10.99

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Solo Vino Wines is located on 517 Selby Avenue in St. Paul.

Jason DeRusha