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Good wine makes the perfect diversion when dinner conversation turns tense

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The Thanksgiving feast is a two-to-five-hour affair, and political sparks are inevitable when you have red relatives and blue relatives sitting at the same table.

It has become something of a Thanksgiving tradition to remind people that wine can save the day when political arguments fester.

Wine as a peacekeeper? If you have some interesting choices on the table, it can make a great way to steer the conversation into less heated, but engaging territory.

If you, for instance, swoon over a wine with a couple of juicy details, everyone will shift their attention to the delectable wine and endeavor to get another pour to weigh in.

Here’s a list of striking bottlings to get you started:

Anaba, 2015 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay at $36. A lovely chardonnay with pitch perfect balance. Notes of lemon custard married with citrus and mineral notes. Bright acid. Finishes crisp. Smart.

Donelan, 2014 Cuvee Moriah, Sonoma County Red Wine at $50. Cherry, cranberry and pomegranate aromas follow through on the palate. This tart Rhone red is a blend of grenache and mourvedre, and it has racy acidity. A touch earthy. Well crafted.

Siduri, 2017 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir at $25. This is a lovely pinot noir with layered flavors of currant, forest floor and tobacco. Great balance. Spot on.

Benovia, 2016 Three Sisters Vineyard, Russian River Valley Chardonnay at $50. An elegant chardonnay with generous fruit. Complex, with layered notes of apple, toast, mineral and a hint of tangerine. Well crafted.

Amapola Creek, 2016 Sonoma Valley Vineyard Grenache at $48. This is a grenache with a great tangy red fruit — strawberry, raspberry and cherry. Crisp, upfront acid makes for great balance. The Amapola Creek has bright fruit that’s elegant as opposed to jammy. This grenache has a refreshing quench, which makes it a tasty food wine. A standout.

You no doubt have plenty of impressive wines to add to this list. Be sure to assemble the best you can afford because tensions can run high in the aftermath of the election. It would be a shame to waste that amazing oyster dressing in a food fight.

Wine Writer Peg Melnik can be reached at 707-521-5300 and peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com.

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