Gewurztraminer and Nouveau 

This is the one time of the year I can convince people to try that wine with the crazy name—gewurztraminer. With its unctuous texture and hint of spice, it can be a bit off-putting, but the panel took that into account when picking their favorites. This is one of the most appealing and varied groups of gewurztraminer wines around. It's more reserved than most, but with all the character that makes this grape a great Turkey Day match.

2007 Cono Sur Gewurztraminer, Vision, $12.99

This wine made my list of cool weather whites a few weeks back. While true to the Alsatian roots of the grape, Chile's Con Sur has dialed down the spice element and offers floral, lychee and baked cinnamon apple pie aromas on the nose. The flavors are dominated by different layers of citrus with blood orange up front, backed by ripe ruby red grapefruit and finishing with sweet lemon and lime. Impeccable acid balance makes this a great food wine.

2006 Lucien Albrecht Gewurztraminer, $20

Classic Alsatian gewurz—a bit richer on the nose and in the mouth than the other two wines. It opens with enticing aromas of honeyed spice, Asian pear, butter-laced lychee and rose petal. Round and rich on the palate, it offers creamy stone fruit, orange zest and crisp acidity that blends nicely with the sweet spice finish. This is a wine for those more familiar with this variety.

2007 Ross Andrew Meadow White, $16.99

A ringer from Oregon that's an intriguing blend of pinot blanc, gewurztraminer, riesling and pinot gris, the 25 percent gewurz definitely comes through in this wine. It has mineral, melon and mango aromas with just a light touch of spice on the nose. This is an elegantly structured wine, with bright citrus fruit that is completely refreshing and has, again, just the softest bit of spice. It's a great choice to open your Thanksgiving celebration.

Nouveau Beaujolais is Coming

It's something of a tradition (or maybe just a clever marketing ploy), but in the world of wine the third Thursday in November marks the release of nouveau Beaujolais. This year that third Thursday falls on the 20th, and for all the hype, nouveau does have a certain appeal. OK, this is just barely wine—the grapes were hanging on the vine a few months back—but it is a fun and fruity quaff. Think of it as the red version of the oh-so-popular New Age, and coming from this year's harvest, it makes a good addition to the Thanksgiving Day table. Along with the usual suspects (Drouhin and Dubouef), a new entry should be available at your favorite wine shop. Mommessin comes in an environmentally friendly plastic bottle that leaves a much smaller carbon footprint than glass.

This week's panel: David Kirkpatrick, Boise Co-op Wine Shop; Cindy Limber, Bardenay; Karen McMillin, Young's Market; Kevin Settles, Bardenay; Leslie Young, Boise Co-op Wine Shop.

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