Richard Hanano is going very long on Kenny Likitprakong's wines. Hanano, the director of operations at Pure Liquid Wine & Spirits at the Westfield World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan, ordered 20 of Likitprakong's wines for his shop. Many are perfect for Thanksgiving with their light, fresh style and palate-cleansing acidity.
Likitprakong launched Hobo Wine Co. in 2002 after graduating from the University of California at Davis. He chose the name Hobo for his first wine label because he didn't own any vineyards, which has allowed him to explore an exceptionally diverse array or grapes and regions. The Banyan 2015 Monterey County Gewurtztraminer ($15) has a touch of sweetness and notes of lychee, melon and tropical fruit. Gewurtztraminers from Alsace can have overpowering aromatics and excessive alcohol, but this one is light and refreshing.
The Folk Machine 2015 Redwood Valley Valdigué ($25) is made from a grape grown primarily in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France that after being brought to California was called Napa Gamay and until 1980 believed to be a clone of that variety. "This is my answer to Beaujolais for Thanksgiving," Hanano says, and the wine has the bright cranberry and raspberry flavor, acidity and freshness of a Gamay, though with some structure on the finish. Like many wines from Beaujolais, it can take a slight chill.
Staying with a lighter wine, Hanano recommends the Folk Machine 2015 Central Coast Pinot Noir ($22), which like many of Likitprakong's wines is made from grapes grown on fairly cool sites. Hanano likes the light tannins, medium acidity and light strawberry on the palate. "This wine you could drink with anything," Hanano says, and with a chill, it would work even with spicy food, which is unusual for a red.
The Ghostwriter 2014 Santa Cruz County Syrah ($30) has dark fruit such as black raspberry on the nose with bacon fat and a savory quality on the palate and a hint of oak and a smokiness on the finish. This is a terrific wine at the price, and it's one to break open when you've had enough turkey and are ready for a grilled steak.
That steak would also work with the Hobo 2012 Branham Vineyard Rockpile Zinfandel from Sonoma County ($33). This Zin, comparatively low in alcohol at 14.1%, has not only plum on the nose but also a little soy sauce and tomato leaf that make for an entrancing glass of wine.
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