Drinks Wine

Thanksgiving Wine Guide

Pairing wines with a holiday meal freaked me out before I studied wine. To be honest, pairing wine and food in general still makes me a bit nervous. Some ideas sound amazing in your head, and when you try them together you quickly ask yourself, WTF was I thinking?

Now, I believe that if the food is good, and the wine is good, you’re going to have a good meal. I pay less attention to pairings, but ultimately strive to find wines that are lower in alcohol, higher in acidity, are fruity and both earthy. You know, those delicious wines.

Thanksgiving menu is the hardest to pair. It’s not because of the turkey, because all wines go with turkey. Okay. It’s because there’s a ton of different kinds of food on the table. You have turkey, but you also have cream-laden mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetable sides, pecan pie, stuffing, and green beans and mushrooms.

I just returned from a trip to Oregon where I bought a lot of wine, so those bottles will be gracing my dinner table this year. Oregon is usually where I turn to first for Thanksgiving pairings, because this is ‘Merica. This year, I’m also adding a few wines from France, because, well, France makes some really sexy, delicious juice. The kind of juice you want to hoard all for yourself and not share with anyone because deep down you’re a really terrible, selfish person.

Having a sparkling, a dry white, a subtly sweet white, and a red usually hits the mark. Here’s what I’m pouring this year, along with some honorable mentions from other areas of the world.

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Wine: NV Champagne Roger Coulon Heri-Hodie Grande Tradition Brut

Grapes: 50% Pinot Meunier, 25% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay

Region: Champagne, France

One of my best friends is now a distributor of Rosenthal wines here in Texas, so I’ve had access to some really delicious stuff through her lately. This is one of those bottles. It’s easily becoming one of my favorite Champagnes. It’s floral, fruity, but still full bodied and fun. If you’re looking for a bottle of bubbly that is more affordable than those coming out of Champagne I love Cremants. They’re sparkling wines made in other regions of France. If you like the bubbles it’s quality juice for much less money.

Honorable Mentions: Louis Bouillot Cremant de Bourgogne “Perle de Aurore” Brut Rosé, Andre Clouet Brut Grand Reserve Champagne, Carmina Prosecco Extra Dry, Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rosé.

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Wine: 2014 Brooks “Amycas” White Wine Blend

Grapes: Blend of Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Muscat

Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA

What I love about Brooks more than anything is they take aromatic varietals like Gewürztraminer and Muscat and give them a good acid structure so they finish crisp and bright, and not flabby and flat. This has a small amount of residual sugar, which makes it a great match for foods with a little bit of sweetness and spice. It’s a crowd pleaser that is delightful and delicious. New York Times agrees, listing it as one of their favorite Thanksgiving Wines.

Honorable Mentions: Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Leistenberg Kabinett Riesling, Domaine Huet “Le Mont” Vouvray.

DSC_0528Wine: 2014 Maysara “Arsheen” Pinot Gris

Grape: 100% Pinot Gris

Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA

If you have green things on the table (read: vegetables) it’s good to have a wine that can bring out those flavors. This totally fits the bill. This is concrete-fermented and has a really lovely texture and great acidity. One of my very favorite Pinot Gris coming out of Oregon right now.

Honorable Mention: Elk Cove Pinot Gris, Nikolaihof Hefeabzug Grüner Veltliner, Franck Millet “Insolite” Sancerre.

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Wine: 2012 Brooks Sunny Mountain Pinot Noir

Grape: 100% Pinot Noir

Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA

Pinot Noir is on my Thanksgiving table every year. Wanna know why? Because it’s awesome, that’s why. It’s delicate, expressive, and Oregon reds marry fruit and earth beautifully together. I think wines from this area are the gateway to the old world. This wine has tart cranberry and cherry flavors which makes it an ideal match for Thanksgiving day fare.

Honorable mention: ALL THE CRU BEAUJOLAIS (go on, get it, get it), Failla Pinot Noir, Sandlands Trousseau, Château de Fonsalette Cotes du Rhone.

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Digestif: Averna Amaro

Region: Caltanisetta, Sicily

Averna is an amaro (which means bitter). It’s a digestif that is steeped with herbs, citrus rinds, and roots that is later sweetened with caramel. It is sweet, thick and has a gentle herbal bitterness. After a heavy meal like this one, it’s a great thing to sip post-slice of pie on the rocks with an orange wedge. It’s also awesome in cocktails.

What wines do you plan to drink this holiday season?

 

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