About The Author:

"Roger, The Wine Guy" is Roger Yazell, CWS. He is a member of the International Wine Guild and has had a long time admiration of wine. After careers in broadcasting, advertising and marketing account management, he explored his love of wine in hospitality, wholesale and retail sales. The intent of Roger's Grapevine is to share stories, history and information that will add to the reader's love, enjoyment and appreciation of wine and sake'.

Questions, requests for topics and comments are always welcome via email: rogerthewineguy@gmail.com.

(Note: The Wine Guy is currently undergoing chemotherapy and this blog will be on hiatus for the duration and into a recovery period. The Wine Guy is planning to celebrate his recovery with a trip to the two wine producing regions in Argentina and that should provide for some interesting new blogs. Meanwhile please enjoy the archives and feel free to email in the interim.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Wines

It’s nice to be back!

The ever delightful and fetching Mrs. Wine Guy and I had a great time in Mexico. We enjoyed some great wines, visited two new wineries and I will be sharing some wine stories and experiences from that trip in upcoming blogs.

However, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, I would be remiss if I didn’t offer some thoughts and suggestions on pairing wine with your Thanksgiving dinner.

Traditionally turkey dinners at Thanksgiving generally call for white wine and without a doubt Chardonnay is the most popular pairing with turkey, It’s always a good choice, offering body and richness without overpowering the mild and subtle flavors of a good, moist capon. Buttery, creamy chardonnays seem to compliment turkey and also tend to pair well with the assortment and variety of side dishes that accompany a Thanksgiving feast. However, in choosing a chardonnay, be careful of overpowering your bird with too much oak.

Among my recommendations would be:
Rombauer Reserve Chardonnay, a California favorite that is full of fruit with light creamy smoothness. Santa Ema Reserve Chardonnay: this Chilean beauty is more affordable than Rombauer and offers alight touch of oak, light creaminess as well as a nice finish.
For those who prefer to avoid oak entirely, look for Razor’s Edge Un-oaked Chardonnay, a well-balanced Australia beauty that is one of my favorite unoaked chardonnays.

There are a variety of other whites that can also pair well. Chenin Blanc is often overlooked and a good choice here is Sebeka from South African. South African Chenin Blancs (they call the grape “Steen”) are uniquely crisp and fresh. For a dry white alternative that offers less tartness than Chenin Blanc, try Guigal Cotes du Rhone Blanc. This is a highly rated blend of Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne (see the Wine Guy’s previous blog on Viognier). If you have a slight sweet tooth, try a good Gerwurztraminer or better yet, go for a great jewel from California’s Mendocino County: Navarro Edelzwicker, a phenomenal Gewurtztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Gris blend.

For a memorable meal, seriously consider a good sparkling wine. It’s festive and fully appropriate for the occasion, not to mention it’s absolutely a wonderful pairing with moist turkey breast and stuffing! I would suggest leaning to an Extra Dry or a Blanc de Noirs as opposed to a Brut and if you can find a good sparkling Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley of France, you’ll be amazed at how well it pairs with turkey. A good value priced wine from an established French Wine-making family that has a winery in Albuquerque, New Mexico is Gruet and they make a great Blanc de Noirs.

Don’t overlook the reds. While you do have to be careful not to overpower the delicate white meat of a roasted turkey with bold flavors and tannins, it is possible to enjoy a good red wine at your Thanksgiving table.

The most popular red at Thanksgiving is Pinot Noir. Be careful to avoid some of the bolder, fuller Pinot Noirs with heavier fruit and spice notes. What you want is smoothness and a slight touch of delicacy on the finish. Domestically, Willamette Valley Vineyards and Cloudline from Oregon are two choices I’d recommend. My personal preference in Pinot Noir would be toward a dry, old-world style Pinot Noir. Two choices would be the organically grown Cono Sur Pinot Noir from Chile and from France, Faiveley Bourgogne. Both offer excellent turkey pairing possibilities.

If you’re not a Pinot Noir fan, go Monastrel, Mataro or Mourvedre (same grape…different name in different countries). It is a full-bodied grape with a smoothness that can still work with turkey. Two great choices would be Spain’s highly rated Bodegas Juan Gil Monastrel or California’s Cline Ancient Vine Mourvedre. A great sparkling red choice would be a Tuscan Brachetto. They offer a touch of raspberry fruitiness, light sweetness and a delicate sparkling finish. Try Banfi’s Rosa Regale either with your dinner or as a prelude to dessert.

Remember, it’s a feast! Don’t be afraid to try more than one wine with the meal and don’t forget dessert. Try finishing your meal with a Juracon from France or a nice Port from either Portugal or Australia.

Hopefully, these tips were helpful. Enjoy your feast and may you and yours be blessed with an abundance of things to be thankful for on this special occasion.

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