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2003 Domaine Saint-Amant 'La Tabardonne' Beaumes de Venise

November 16, 2005|S. Irene Virbila

This Viognier is a beauty. It carries a scent of white peaches and flowers. It's all silk in the mouth, soft and lush with a bright point of acidity that keeps things interesting.

It comes from Southern, not Northern, Rhone, specifically from the Cotes du Rhone Village of Beaumes-de-Venise, better known for the sweet Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise than for Viognier. But this remarkable Viognier "La Tabardonne" from Domaine Saint-Amant blows most Condrieu -- the famous Viognier of the Northern Rhone -- out of the water.

Ours is not to wonder why, but to drink and enjoy. This is the richer (and slightly more expensive) of the estate's two Viogniers and should hold its own against the Thanksgiving meal. An added bonus: It tastes much more expensive than it is -- who's to know that you found this bottle for less than $20?


Quick swirl

Region: Rhone Valley

Price: About $17

Style: Smooth and lush

Food it goes with: Drink it as an aperitif, with Asian seafood dishes, roast birds -- and Thanksgiving dinner.

Where you find it: Du Vin Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood, (310) 855-1161; Mission Wines in South Pasadena, (626) 403-9463; Silverlake Wine in Los Angeles, (323) 662-9024; Topline Wine & Spirits in Glendale, (818) 500-9670; Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454 and (800) 76WINEX; Woodland Hills Wine Co. in Woodland Hills, (818) 222-1111.


2002 Stoller Vineyards Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir loves birds. That's a given. This juicy Pinot from Stoller Vineyards in Oregon's Willamette Valley is no retiring violet. With enticing aromas of berry and earth, a firm acidity and lush velvety fruit -- think blackberries, plums and blueberries -- this Pinot should make beautiful music with the Thanksgiving turkey. The finish leaves an impression of sweet spices. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, it's dense and chewy enough to stand up to the myriad flavors in a full-tilt Thanksgiving dinner.


Quick swirl

Region: Willamette Valley

Price: About $40

Style: Rich and velvety

Food it goes with: Roast birds, braised and roasted meats, pretty much everything.

Where you find it: Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463; Red Carpet Wine Merchants in Glendale, (818) 247-5544; Vendome Liquors in Beverly Hills, (310) 276-9463; the Wine Cask in Santa Barbara, (805) 966-9463; the Wine Country in Signal Hill, (562) 597-8303; the Wine House in Los Angeles, (310) 479-3731.

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