A guest post by Doug Bryant, owner of Sherlock’s Wine Merchant
The cooler days of fall have arrived and it’s time to start thinking about the holidays. America’s most food and table-centered holiday, Thanksgiving is a time for sharing and recognizing the many blessings in our lives. And with the multitude of flavors found on any given table on Thanksgiving Thursday it’s no wonder folks often come to us with the query: Which wine do I serve for Turkey Day?
Right off the bat, we’ll offer this disclaimer – while Grandmother’s turkey may be too dry, your wine should not!
To begin, select something sparkling and light - with some fruity overtones that will cleanse the palate and begin things deliciously (this wine could also be poured throughout the remainder of the meal should you so desire). Our choice: Clairette de Die ($20), a natural sparkling white wine from the Rhône Valley region in France. This zippy blend of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and Clairette is characterized by peach and apricot flavors with rose and honeysuckle aromas. Serve chilled with a variety of first courses including oysters on the half-shell, crab, salad with dried fruit, lobster or pumpkin bisque or an assortment of cheeses.
In the still white wine department, there are two varietals worth seeking out - Oregon Pinot Gris and classic Alsatian Gewurztraminer. Both offer nice acidity along with a fruit presence (not overbearing or sweet) to accompany turkey and the side dishes typically found at Thanksgiving including sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, green beans, dressing, etc... These wines come to the table with fruit up front and a little bit of zing on the finish. Chances are, to the trained palate, they will taste more expensive than their price tags. Cristom Pinot Gris ($20) from the Willamette Valley in Oregon or Trimbach Gewurztraminer ($20) are both good choices.
Riesling is also a good alternative in the still white wine category. The Selbach Oster ($23) Riesling Spatlese is an excellent choice. While most people think of Riesling as a sweet wine, this one is dry and has a delicate texture with apple, lime and spice flavors. Balanced and vibrant, on the juicy side, with a mouthwatering finish, it is a perfect counterpoint to turkey!
If you typically consider red wine to be the hero of Thanksgiving dinner, lots of good options await. Traditionally, Beaujolais, with its jammy Gamay grape (not to be confused with Noveau Beaujolais, its younger cousin) or Pinot Noir- the classic “food wine” make excellent selections for Thanksgiving. Our picks include a fantastic value from American-born French winemaker Alex Gambal Cuvee Les Deux Papis ($25.99) or an import of Gamay from Morgon under our house label J. Sanders (a steal at $15). Both wines present good body and fruit to compliment without overpowering the assortment of flavors on the plate. Another great choice would be the Banshee Pinot Noir ($20) from Sonoma County. Pinot is a truly versatile food wine and will go with just about anything. This sexy number from two great Sonoma County growing regions (Russian River and Petaluma Wind Gap) will accentuate bold flavors without stealing the show.
And speaking of stealing the show – we thought we might throw in a little dessert action to put things over the top. A noteworthy hostess gift, or contribution to the sweet ending of the meal can be found in a bottle of Sauterne. Classic dessert wine, it exhibits nuttiness, ripe peaches, apricots and perfectly complements pecan, pumpkin or apple pie. The Chateau Suduiraut (a splurge at $50) is a perfect example and will complete the Thanksgiving feast on a high note.
For more information about Thanksgiving wines, or to consult with a wine expert, please contact us at Sherlocks.com – and Happy Holidays!