Thanksgiving is quite easily my favorite holiday. Sure, Christmas is great, but it's expensive these days; Halloween hasn't been anything worth getting excited about since I was like 10; Easter has kinda lost its charm since this lapsed Catholic has realized all the various ways in which he is damned. Thanksgiving, though, is perfect -- all the gluttony and overindulgence, without the crassness, and costumes, and guilt about going to hell and junk. But with all the prep work that comes with preparing for family, it's understandable for one to forget a detail or two. For those of you who left wine till the last minute this year, I've got a couple of quirky all-American crowd-pleasers that pair well with practically any meal.
David Hill Farm House White -- Non Vintage, Purchased at MacArthur Beverage for $13.99
David Hill is a small, 140 acre farm winery based out of Willamette Valley, Oregon. This humble field blend -- a mixture of Semillon, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Sylvaner -- pours a pretty, pale straw yellow. This wine gives up plenty of muscat grape, pear and golden delicious apple on the nose, along with tropical undertones. The attack is slightly sweet and a bit minty, leading on to more grape and some zesty lime, and ending with a pleasant dry finish. This combination of sweetness and high acidity is unusual in a wine of this price, and makes this one a winner with everything from appetizers to dessert.
Edmunds St. John "That Old Black Magic" -- 2006, Purchased at Ace Beverage for $19.99
The Berkeley-based Edmunds St. John is one of the few domestic producers to specialize in Rhone varietals, and they make some really novel, food friendly wines. This blend of Grenache and Syrah offers lots of complicated autumnal scents on the nose, featuring overripe apple, curry spice, and dark berry fruit. Chewy tannin and dark plummy fruit lead into a medium-bodied, bold, velvety mid-palate, and a lengthy, fruit and curry flavored finish. This spicy treat would match well with any of your traditional Thanksgiving foods, and according to the label, is "Cellared and Bottled by Wayward Pilgrims of the Vine," making it an all but a perfect pickup.
But of course, Thanksgiving is about more than just gluttony -- we Americans have plenty to be thankful for, and owe a lot to the people that protect us. If you find yourself in the Georgetown neighborhood in the next few weeks, take a swing by the Starbucks at 3122 M St., and pick up a coffee for our troops. Apparently, the US Army's 1st Cavalry Division is short on coffee, and one thoughtful Starbucks manager has decided to do something about it. When you pay for your latte, you can also pay for a few packets of Via -- Starbucks' new coffee concentrate -- which they will ship to our troops stationed in Baghdad. The thought of going through a day without caffeine makes me slightly sick; I can't even imagine doing so under the constant physical and mental stress inherent in combat. Though a cup of coffee might seem insignificant, to someone so far from home, undergoing such deprivation and hardship, even the smallest comfort can make a huge difference.