Red wine fans: Here's a holiday boost

A pinot noir can be a nice choice A pinot noir can be a nice choice for a Thanksgiving meal. Photo Credit: AP

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Happy Thanksgiving -- and have you started holiday shopping yet?

Maybe a digestif will brace you for what's coming up. But wine drinkers are easily satisfied with a good bottle. Here are some choices to get your work done early for red wine fans.

Robust and refined: the 2009 Paraduxx Z Blend Napa Valley Red Wine ($48; $24 for 375 ml.), a very satisfying, versatile wine, best with hearty beef dishes and stews.

Rhone via America: the 2010 Joel Gott Alakai ($30), a bright, peppery red blend, mostly grenache, and a partner for roast duck, turkey and chicken; barbecue, burgers and steaks.

"Sideways" revisited: the 2010 Cambria Clone 4 Pinot Noir ($52), a smooth, spicy pinot from Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley, heady with red berries and cherry.

Washingtonian: the 2010 Ponzi Willamette Valley Aurora Pinot Noir

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($100), meticulously made, slightly floral, with suggestions of dark-cherry, berry and anise, leading to a long finish.

Star power: the 2008 TF Cabernet Sauvignon ($65), as in Tyler Florence, with the Michael Mondavi Family Estate, is a rich, balanced varietal. Cassis-laden, and a match for grilled steak and roast lamb.

Mega-merlot: the 2009 Duckhorn Napa Valley Three Palms Merlot ($85), rife with red fruits and the vineyard's textbook mineral notes. Expect it to age gracefully. For immediate imbibing, decant this one.

Big: the 2009 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars CASK 23 Cabernet Sauvignon ($210), a terrific cab, complex, concentrated, generous with red and black fruit, depth and subtlety. It will mature for a decade-plus.

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