Tasting Highlights' wine reviews are fresh out of the tasting room, offering a sneak peek of our editors' most recent scores and notes to WineSpectator.com members.
For francophiles, the third Thursday of November means the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau (Read our 2021 Nouveau reviews and news). For Americans, the fourth Thursday means feasting, family and friends on Thanksgiving. And for wine lovers, the second half of the month is game on! The season offers ample opportunity to open a good red (as if we really need an excuse ... ), whether it's Beaujolais Nouveau or bottles from places farther flung.
Unfortunately, with France's small and late crop this year, many Beaujolais producers will not be sending Nouveau bottlings to the U.S. So what should we open instead of that Thanksgiving classic?
Whether you'll be sipping them on their own or pairing them with turkey, the high-quality reds below share many similarities with Beaujolais Nouveau, and even with Nouveau's elevated counterpart, cru Beaujolais. Altogether, we have selected light- to medium-bodied versions from the wider world of wine, each offering bright acidity and light tannins. Their primary flavor focus is on cherry and berry notes, with herb, spice and mineral accents adding complexity. While all these wines are well-priced options to sip during dinner prep, they will easily translate to the table and Thanksgiving's bounty as well.
DROUHIN OREGON ROSEROCK
Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills 2019
Score: 95 | $35
WS review: This version is defined by a beam of vibrant acidity and tannins that’s framed by refined blueberry and cherry flavors, accented by stony minerality and dusky spiced tea. Drink now through 2031. 6,745 cases made. From Oregon.—Tim Fish
LAMOLE DI LAMOLE
Chianti Classico Riserva 2017
Score: 93 | $25
WS review: A supple, cherry- and plum-flavored red, with hints of flowers, earth and spice. On the elegant side, showing fine balance and finesse, with a lingering finish. Drink now through 2030. 2,667 cases made, 1,000 cases imported. From Italy.—Bruce Sanderson
DOMAINE DU CLOS DU FIEF
Juliénas Tradition 2018
Score: 91 | $25
WS review: Light-bodied, but shows nice power and focus, offering a balanced mix of currant and blackberry fruit, with white pepper, graphite, smoke and dried herb elements and light, integrated tannins. Drink now through 2026. 5,000 cases made, 1,500 cases imported. From France.—Gillian Sciaretta
DESCENDIENTES DE J. PALACIOS
Bierzo Pétalos 2019
Score: 91 | $23
WS review: This svelte red shows a polished profile, with black currant, olive and espresso flavors that are fresh and focused. Underpinnings of graphite, herb and anise cascade onto the finish. Drink now through 2026. 30,000 cases made. From Spain.—G.S.
Barbera d'Asti Lavignone 2020
Score: 91 | $20
WS review: Graphite, blackberry and plum aromas and flavors highlight this juicy red, which is balanced and plushly textured, with just the slightest hint of oak. Drink now through 2025. 18,000 cases made, 8,000 cases imported. From Italy.—B.S.
Zinfandel Mendocino County Wild Thing Old Vine 2018
Score: 91 | $19
WS review: A juicy bomb of fruit, this red is also well-structured, with lively raspberry, toasty spice and roasted sage flavors that linger on a snappy finish. Drink now through 2028. 9,085 cases made. From California.—T.F.
TENUTA DELLE TERRE NERE
Score: 91 | $25
WS review: A mouthwatering and well-knit red, with a pure chime of wild cherry and raspberry fruit. Light, taut tannins provide fine definition, framing the fruit flavors, accents of dried thyme and ground white pepper and minerally hints of iron and smoke that push through on the chewy finish. Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio. Drink now through 2026. 11,000 cases made, 3,300 cases imported. From Italy.—Alison Napjus
Moulin-à-Vent Terre de Thé 2019
Score: 90 | $20
WS review: This polished, herb-laced red shows fruit flavors of wild raspberry and currant mixed with white pepper, graphite and tea. Charming, with balance and freshness. Drink now through 2026. 600 cases imported. From France.—G.S.
Pinot Noir Victoria Farm To Table 2019
Score: 90 | $16
WS review: Focused, with loamy overtones to the cranberry, cherry and raspberry flavors at the core, with matcha and a note of clove, on a supple frame. Drink now. 10,000 cases made, 5,000 cases imported. From Australia.—MaryAnn Worobiec
Score: 90 | $20
WS review: This expressive red offers currant, leather and grilled herb notes, infused with tapenade, rose petal, plum and chalky mineral accents. Shows good focus and freshness. Drink now through 2029. 5,835 cases made, 1,850 cases imported. From France.—G.S.
DOMAINE GRAND GARANT
Fleurie Le Vivier 2018
Score: 90 | $20
WS review: Brambly fruit, violet and peach flavors are focused and appealing in this refreshing red. Underpinnings of savory spice, tea and vivid mineral glide into the finish. Drink now through 2028. 750 cases made, 112 cases imported. From France.—G.S.
1896 California 2018
Score: 89 | $13
WS review: A zesty, happy-go-lucky red, with bright raspberry, smoky grilled meat and pepper flavors. Petite Sirah, Carignane, Barbera, Mourvèdre and Zinfandel. Drink now through 2026. 2,950 cases made. From California.—T.F.
Toscana Poggio Badiola 2018
Score: 89 | $17
WS review: A medium bodied, fruity style, this red boasts cherry, black currant, earth and a touch of spice flavors. Fresh and bright, shows moderate length. Sangiovese, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2024. 21.666 cases made, 6.000 cases imported. From Italy.—B.S.
HERDADE DO ESPORÃO
Alentejano Monte Velho 2018
Score: 88 | $12
WS review: Fresh and inviting, this red offers a citrus acidity that weaves through the wild red berry, dried herb, white pepper and orange peel flavors, marked with a graphite minerality and light tannins. Aragonêz, Trincadeira, Touriga Nacional and Syrah. Drink now through 2024. 465,000 cases made, 50,000 cases imported. From Portugal.—G.S.
Terre Siciliane Red 2019
Score: 88 | $10
WS review: A pure note of ripe blackberry is accented by ground pink peppercorn, anise and fresh marjoram in this tangy, light- to medium-bodied red. A lively sipper. Nero d'Avola. Drink now. 15,000 cases made, 10,000 cases imported. From Italy.—A.N.
Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2020
Score: 86 | $7
WS review: Light-bodied, with high-pitched cherry and Damson notes mixed with sandalwood and red tea hints. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. Drink now. 37,800 cases made, 3,7800 cases imported. From France.—James Molesworth