Sunday, November 22, 2009
Our Annual Thanksgiving Hit List
I think you've figured out by now that we are fanatics about pairing food and wines and I just love making selections for holiday meals. So what should you drink with all of those sides and mounds of turkey? There are so many answers to that question that sometimes the best choice would be to open a bubbly, white, red and rose, put them on the table and let people chose for themselves! But don’t forget to have Aunt Mary’s bottle of White Zinfandel on hand, because it’s all about personal preference!
Here are a few pairing tips and recommendations from our selection. We’ve picked options at low, moderate and higher price points so there is something for every wallet. The wines will have a special “holiday pick” tag on the shelves and if you purchase any four of these wines for your celebration, we’ll give you a 10% discount. And we’ll be featuring 5 of these wines in our Swirlin’ Dervish Thanksgiving Tapas on November 24th so come in and try them with some holiday fare to see what will best suit your menu!
For the wide array of flavors on the Thanksgiving table, sparkling wines are a no-brainer. Bright acidity, fruit and yeasty undertones make bubbly extremely food-friendly. Especially good are Brut rosé and Blanc de Noir, which can take you from the lox or chevre hors d'oeuvre to the vinaigrette salad right through the turkey and potatoes and onto the pie. The Pinot Noir grapes in these wines provide body, some tannin for texture, red-fruit character, complexity and acid balance. The bubbles from natural carbonation from the yeast, in concert with the wine's acidity, help cleanse the palate for the next course.
Our Pick: Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noir, $16.99; J Sparkling Rosé, $23.99 or Taittinger Brut Rosé, $69.99
White wines with lively fruit and acidity and little to no oak are also versatile. With its aromas and flavors of citrus, apple and pear and zippy acidity plus herbal notes, Sauvignon Blanc pairs with everything from butternut-squash soup to green salad to turkey with a dressing made of briny oysters and herbs. Even notoriously tough-to-pair Brussels sprouts will sing with Sauvignon Blanc. Alsatian and German whites like Rieslings, Gewurtztraminer, Pinot Gris with their tropical fruit, citrus, green-apple, pear and mineral notes combined with thirst quenching acidity, work with almost any Thanksgiving dish except the cranberry sauce.
Our Pick: JanKris Sauvignon Blanc, $12.99; Saarstein Riesling $14.99; Meyer Fonne Riesling, $25.99 or Sineann Pinot Gris, $18.99
"Serious" dry rosés made from Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Syrah or Mourvedre grapes or blended proprietary rosés have acidity to balance the citrus, red and stone fruits and usually sport structure and a long finish but light tannins.
Our Pick: Barnard Griffin Sangiovese Rosé, $11.99; Lioco Pinot Noir Rose, $15.99
Beaujolais, Gamay is a favorite "go-to" pick for Thanksgiving. It brings soft, easy drinking affordability to the table that's perfect for the cornucopia of flavors and large group setting that Thanksgiving entails. It has bright fruit flavors to perk up the milder dishes and enough structure to hold its own with the more robust courses made with sausage and herbs.
Our Pick: Pierre Chermette Beaujolais, $15.99, Domaine du Nugues Beaujolais Village, $15.99
Syrah and Zinfandel have the spice, dark fruit and berries to bring out the best in cranberry sauces as long as the wine has soft tannins and ripe, forward fruit and the sauce is balanced -- moderately tart and not too sweet.
Our Pick: Windmill Zinfandel, $12.99; Five Vintners Zinfandel, $23.99 or Baileyanna Syrah, $19.99
The best single wine to choose for Thanksgiving is Pinot Noir. This versatile varietal has tangy red fruit of strawberry and cherry, with nice acidity to balance and low levels of tannin. With elegance and a touch of earthiness to lend complexity, Pinot Noir will subtly support most things on the Thanksgiving table without overpowering them. Cranberry sauce and dessert are exceptions again, with the sauce too tart and the dessert too sweet.
Our Pick: Domaine Sarret Pinot Noir, $12.99; Wild Rock Pinot Noir, $17.50, Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir, $23.99 or Moises Yamhill Carlton Pinot Noir, $39.99
So there you have it! But remember the most important thing is to drink wines that make you happy with people that make you smile, because that is what it's all about!