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Make a place at the Thanksgiving feast for these nervy California pours

Ellen Bhang for the Boston Globe/Ellen Bhang

Three distinguished Californians — a lively vermentino from the Sierra Foothills, an exuberant zinfandel from Sonoma County, and a head-turning pinot noir from the Central Coast — will be part of this year's Thanksgiving feast. A recent trip to the West Coast reminded us that the Golden State remains a powerhouse of production, accounting for 90 percent of all US-made wine, ranking fourth after France, Italy, and Spain. Thanks to savvy Bay State importers who select for quality, not sheer volume, discovering a trio of special bottles here turned out to be a snap.

These nervy, nuanced pours seem to forge their own path and capture the optimism of the West. No overblown, heavy-handed fruit here, just sunny ripeness and unmistakable craftsmanship.


They'll be amiable guests at your table.

Edmunds St. John "Heart of Gold" El Dorado County White Table Wine 2010 Sleek and lively with stony soil notes, aromas suggest apple blossom, pear, and citrus spritz. Finishes with saline and green herbs. Winemaker Steve Edmunds, who describes himself as an "ex-hippie folk singer/winemaker" vinifies vermentino and grenache blanc grapes together to make this appetizing white. Around $23. At Pemberton Farms, Cambridge, 617-491-2244; Lower Falls Wine Co., Newton Lower Falls, 617-332-3000.

Thomas Henry Zinfandel Sonoma County 2011 Exuberant and generous, this red offers ripe blackberry and toasty oak, supported by bright acidity and fine-grained tannin. We love its finesse. Winemaker Tom Meadowcroft named this line of pours in honor of his father. Around $15. At Lower Falls Wine Co.; Social Wines, South Boston, 617-268-2974.

Folk Machine Pinot Noir Central Coast 2012 With aromas of ripe cherry, scrubby herbs, and freshly turned soil, this pale ruby pour is nuanced and savory. Made by Kenny Likitprakong of the Hobo Wine Co., this is pinot noir with attitude. Around $20. At Central Bottle Wine + Provisions, Cambridge, 617-225-0040; Sudbury Wine & Spirits, Sudbury, 978-443-1300.



Next week, look for pours to please family and friends over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Ellen Bhang can be reached at bytheglass@globe.com.