Thanksgiving wines! It’s that time of year, again…

Tomatoes shriveled on the vine

Thanksgiving is one of the toughest meals to pair with a single wine. At a traditional meal you have savory elements (stuffing/gravy), and sweet elements (cranberry dressing), as well as a good amount of fat (flavor) but also delicate white meat.

In addition, throw in some items that are hard to pair with anything (Brussels sprouts, turnips) and you have a challenge on your hand.

 Challenge accepted!

First off, Thanksgiving is really about your loved ones, around the table, and you should serve wines that your family/friends enjoy drinking.  Secondly, the food is really the star, and in my opinion wines should take a backseat.

 Safe Bets for Thanksgiving if you can only serve ONE wine… Continue reading

#Super Bowl XLVII- BEER vs. WINE

I rarely drink wine at live sporting events.
Wine doesn’t taste great in plastic bottles and cups.  And it just doesn’t feel right.

In the privacy of your home you should drink what you want, but wines are sometimes a better match with food. Try it for yourself, beer vs. wine,  with your favorite Super Bowl dishes.

 If you normally drink lager beer…

(Budweiser, Corona, Stella Artois), you are drinking beers that are light bodied, bright and crisp.

Similar white wines would be Pinot Grigio (from Northern Italy), or Sauvignon Blanc (try the Loire Valley, French version). Drink with Chips and Dip!

If you want to try some reds look for low tannin, fresh acid wines like Barbera or Beaujolais (not Nouveau, please). Great with Doritos!

Summer ale (Sam Adams) or Belgian White (Blue Moon) is your thing?

Try white wines with more aromatics like Albariño (Rías Baixas, Spain) or Torrontés (Argentina).

For a slightly more aromatic red you may like a chilled Tempranillo (Rioja/Ribera del Duero), or unoaked Sangiovese.
All great with nachos or chili!

Hefeweizen (wheat) beer fan?

For whites, try Gewürztraminer from Alsace, France. Gewürz (guh-vorts) for short, is spicy and can be dry, or have a little sweetness. Perfect with asian flavored chicken wings.

Another option is Zweigelt, a funky, spicy, but floral red from Austria.

IPA (hop) head?

You might want to try the New Zealand (Marlborough) style of Sauvignon Blanc, grassy with Juicy Fruit (the gum) flavors. Another white wine option is Chenin Blanc (French, not South African) if you want a fuller bodied wine.

“Go to” reds could include Cabernet Franc or Carmenere from Chile.
Also great with chili!

For traditional Ales/Stoudts…

Since they are full bodied there are only a few whites for you, Viognier (northern Rhone, France) or oaked Chardonnay (Burgundy, France).

On the red side, go big or go home! You would probably enjoy full bodied reds like Aglianico (Italy) or Australian Shiraz.
Save these wines for the main course…

For some of my other “Super Bowl” favorites see previous recommendations:

Super Bowl XLV

Super Bowl XLVI

 

As always, please let me know what you think…

Beaujolais- you should be drinking it more than once a year…

“Introductory” Beaujolais is labeled Beaujolais Nouveau. All Beaujolais is made from 100% Gamay grapes, but Nouveau (which means new) is specifically produced to be drunk young (within a year of release).

Hint: If you buy Nouveau make sure it has the current vintage year on the bottle, older is definitely not better with this wine!

What many don’t realize is that Beaujolais is actually part of Burgundy (where all those great Pinot Noirs are grown). Pinot lovers should give them a try!

The wines of Beaujolais are produced in levels- the lower level vineyards produce generic Beaujolais and Beaujolais Nouveau. Next up in elevation, and quality of soil is the Villages designation. These wines are better, although often mass-produced. At the top of the hierarchy are the Beaujolais Cru wines.

For serious, food worthy, and age worthy wines, look for one of these Cru regions on the bottle: Moulin-A-Vent, Chenas, Julienas, Morgon, Fleurie, Saint-Amour, Cote-de-Brouilly, Chiroubles, and Regnie.

Because Gamay is fruity and lower in tannin, these are great wines for white wine drinkers switching over to reds.

Georges Dubœuf is probably the king of Beaujolais wine producers, these wines are a good value, well made, and easy to find.

Here are a couple (both under $15) I can recommend for your Thanksgiving table…

Georges Dubœuf Morgon Jean Descombes

 

 

 

 

 

Georges Dubœuf – Moulin-à-Vent Domaine des Rosiers

 

If you have a quality wine shop near you, the best Beaujolais are brought in by the following importers: Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, Louis/Dressner, Alain Junguenet, and Kermit Lynch-look for their names on the bottle (usually on the back).

American Thanksgiving wines- “Red”, White, and Orange?

Everbody has their opinions about which are the “best” wines for the Thanksgiving table. I love Old World wines (Spain, Italy, Germany, France) but this is an American Holiday, so my choices for Thanksgiving are usually all-American.

All of this years interesting selections came from a recent visit to the North Fork of Long Island, New York.

THE “RED”
2010 Shinn Vineyards- Anomaly. White Pinot Noir? Yes, you can make a white wine from a red grape. Just like champagne the reason this wine is not red is because the juice is not fermented with the skins (which would give the wine a pink/red color).
http://www.lenndevours.com/2009/05/anthony-nappa-wines-2008-anomaly-.html

THE WHITE
2007 Lenz Winery- Gewürtztraminer- often referred to as Gewürz which means “spice”. It is a pink-red grape which produces a white wine that goes great with white meats, like turkey, as well as Asian food!
http://www.lenzwine.com/Home.htm

THE ORANGE
2010 Channing Daughters, Ramato- “Orange Wine”-made from Pinot Grigio or “Gray Pinot”- wines produced from this grape vary in color from a deep golden yellow to copper and even a light shade of pink. All grape juice is clear, but this particular wine is called “orange” due to the color it picks up from from being kept in contact with the skins.
https://www.channingdaughters.com/wine_order/index.php#2010%20Ramato

By the way, the “best” Thanksgiving wine is whatever is on the table with family, friends and food.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Top Thanksgiving Wines from the USA

Because Thanksgiving is an American holiday I only included wines from the good ol’ USA. I have had all of these wines and I recommend them all. Click on the links to find them near you.

Here are my top 4, in order…

#4. Zinfandel

Zinfandel can be high in alcohol (a moderate amount is under 13%. Zin can be 15%+). No wonder many refer to it as “whiskey in a wine”. It can also be “jammy” and spicy, like fruit concentrate mixed with pepper. Any wine that is too high in alcohol will NOT go well with turkey. However, when Zinfandel is done well it is a cornucopia of flavors, many of which match the fruits and spice on the table. Although the grape is originally believed to be from Croatia it is considered by many in the wine world to be uniquely American– from the soil to the American oak barrels!

Tolerant Taster approved:
1. Dashe Cellars Dry Creek -A solid Zin that is widely available
2. Cline Cellars -for a real bargain.

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#3. Sparkling Wine

Hey it’s the holidays, let’s have some fun. Besides, sparkling wines are very food friendly and don’t have to be expensive. Most sparkling wines are made with Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir so they are grapes you already know and love. To add some additional color to your table try a Rose!

Tolerant Taster approved:
1. Gruet -produced in New Mexico born in France
2. Chandon -Brut (from Moet & Chandon) grown and produced in Yountville, California.

#2. Pinot Noir

Pinot is so appealing because it has finesse. It is low in tannin, so it is not bitter or drying and it contains a good amount of red fruits (strawberry, raspberry, cherry), spice or even cola flavors. With a good amount of acidity it is a very food friendly wine. It is probably the best choice if you are only serving one red wine on Thanksgiving.

Tolerant Taster approved:

1. A to Z Wineworks -a family winery in Dundee Oregon.
2. Adelsheim -another great pinot from Oregon,  (try to get past the dated looking label-they are changing it.) Had it last weekend with crabcakes!


#1. Riesling

One of the most food friendly wines (and still not given proper respect) Riesling should be the wine you introduce to your friends. Many still think of it as a sweet wine, which can be true, but it can also be bone dry. Though it contains more residual sugar than some wines it has acid to give it balance. You might not drink sugar water but I bet you love lemonade! Lower in alcohol because it grows best in cool climates, so drink up.

Tolerant Taster approved:
1. Chateau St. Michelle Eroica -A collaboration between the famous Dr. Loosen (of Germany) and Chateau Ste. Michelle in Washington state.
2. Dr. Konstantin -from one the New York Finger Lakes pioneers,

Let me know what you are having on your table…

*all photos are from the producers websites.

Wine of the Week-Early Fall Red

Beautiful warm weather, early fall day after apple picking…. what to drink?
I have the perfect suggestion…

Wine of the Week- any Bob Dylan fans?
Le Terrazze Praeludium- around $12 retail if you can find it.
Perfect for early fall/Thanksgiving

Praeludium-Fattoria Le Terrazze

When the weather turns cooler I think red wine. However it is still early fall and we have been blessed with 70 degree weather. Now I am thinking light to medium bodied, slightly fruity, red.

You might think I went for Syrah or Beaujolais (Gamay grape)?

Nope. Rosso Conero (Montepulciano grape and a dollop of Syrah) from Le Marche (lay MAR-kay) which is located on the back of the Italian boot (top of the calf). The wine is made by Bob Dylan fanatic Antonio Terni of Fattoria Le Terrazze. Several of his wines have received the Tre Bicchieri (three glasses) award which is the highest Italian honor for a wine to receive.

At my local wine shop they were trying to Continue reading