Wine With Family - Your Thanksgiving Wine Pairings
As an inveterate lover of poultry, cooking, feasting, and entertaining, I’ve always loved Thanksgiving. Sure, it can be a lot of work, but when done right it is also a wonderful occasion.
It is also a good time for wine lovers.
In my opinion, festive, family gatherings are greatly improved by wine. Thanksgiving is no exception.
Wine and food pairing is to a great extent a personal and individual matter. That is, when it comes to pairing wines with your Thanksgiving meal, there is no perfect pairing.
As to selecting wines, be generous and think in terms of the overall menu and crowd, not just specific dishes. When in doubt, provide guests with multiple options.
Here are some lovely wines to consider:
Château Guiraud, Le G de Guiraud, (kosher edition) Bordeaux Blanc Sec, 2017 ($37): A 50/50 blend of organic certified Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc, this is medium-bodied, intense, bone dry, and fabulously balanced with terrific tension from the vibrant acidity. The robust, complex nose is full of cedar, ripe passion fruit, wax, orange blossom, honeysuckle, grapefruit, eucalyptus, stone fruit, lime and gooseberry. The comparatively restrained, but no less delicious palate offers lime, pear, citrus zest, lychee, stone fruit, gooseberry, and, in the backdrop, a lovely, subtle and restrained slightly sweet honeyed note from the Sémillon.
Abarbanel, Lemminade, Gewürztraminer, Vin D’alsace, Old-Vine, 2015 ($23): This is a beautiful, bright, vibrant, somewhat rounded, yet refreshing and very slightly sweet Gewurtz with tingly acidity and wonderful aromas. It has flavors of white peach, lychee, and wild flowers, with notes of ginger and cloves. Serve only slightly chilled.
Pacifica, Evan’s Collection, Riesling, Washington, 2017 ($19.99): This is fun, easy-drinking, tasty, off-dry yet crisp, with a nice pleasing hint of residual sugar, enjoyable lush citrus fruits and earthy mineral notes and great balancing acidity.
Vignobles David, Le Mourre de l’Isle, Blanc, Côtes du Rhône, 2017 ($16-19): This dry, light-bodied, balanced, floral, crisp, and refreshing blend of 40% Roussanne, 30% Viognier, and 30% Grenache blanc offers aromas of acacia flowers and peaches, with strong notes of white-fleshed stone fruits on the palate, as well as some lovely mango, citrus and apricot amid a slightly earthy yet floral backdrop. This invigorating, generous and tasty wine is both serious and seriously delicious, and is something of a new favorite I keep getting drawn back to. Not to be missed.
Cantina Giuliano, Vermentino, Costa Toscano i.g.t., Tuscany, 2017 ($19; non-mevushal): This is crisp, fresh, and refreshing, and really lovely with a nose of honeysuckle, white pepper, apricot, citrus, almonds and gooseberry, and flavors of white peach, under-ripe apricot, citrus, guava and perhaps a little under-ripe pineapple. With palate-tingling acidity and enticing minerality, it hankers for good light food, and should make for a fabulous aperitivo at your feast.
Shirah, Bro Deux, Vin Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, 2017 ($25): This fabulous, flinty, floral, grassy and green Sauvignon Blanc offers lovely notes of passion fruit, lime, stone fruits, freshly cut grass, and induces a nice great-outdoors vibe. This is well-balanced with agreeably refreshing acidity. The finish offers a mouthwatering lime zest tartness.
Vignobles David, Le Mourre de l’Isle, Rosé, Côtes du Rhône, 2017 ($16-19): This dry, refreshing, and altogether lovely salmon-colored blend of 80 percent Grenache and 20 percent Syrah offers delicate notes of melon, raspberry, strawberry, and citrus with a little subtle spice.
Camuna Cellars, Barbera Rosé, Clarksburg, Calif., 2017 ($20): With wonderful balance, sporting clean, vibrant, dry, and tart fruit notes of strawberry, cherry and under-ripe pear, this is fun and interesting, with an earthy, minerally quality.
Covenant Winery, Mensch, Zinfandel, Lodi, California, 2016 ($20; mevushal; available online directly from the winery with limited retail distribution): This budget-priced, value-driven wine from the consistently great Covenant Winery is rich, yet softly textured and fruit forward. It is practically bursting with clean and lovely black cherry, raspberry, and boysenberry. It also has notes of cocoa and hints of rosemary and black licorice on the finish. Very tasty.
Alexeli Vineyard, Pinot Noir (Kosher), Willamette Valley (OR), 2010 ($24): Light, breezy and tasty, yet with enough depth to hold more serious attention; offering pleasing aromas and flavors of raspberry, cherry, and pomegranate, with green tea, vanilla, and black pepper hitting mid palate, all lingering nicely on the finish. With time, the cherry becomes darker and richer, and the fine tannins become more noticeable, though subtly so. Overall very nice, light, and thirst-quenching.
Uva, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, Limited Edition, 2014 ($27.99): This is clean, fresh, tasty, and alluring with tart cherries, freshly crushed blackberries, purple plums, tobacco leaf, a decent earthiness, a smidge of licorice, and hints of savory herbs. This wine offers some subtlety and delicacy to those seeking it, but enough simple, up-front pleasures to satisfy the thirsty masses. Enjoyable on its own, but really made to wash down good food despite comparatively low-acidity. An excellent value for the price.
Kishor Vineyard, Kishor, GSM, 2016 ($28): This is a delicious light-to-medium-bodied Israeli blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre, exhibiting a rich and herbal bouquet of wild dark fruits and a lovely, clean palate of cherry, raspberry, black currant, a little spice, and dollops of dark chocolate. There is also some very subtle but much welcome smoke. Well-balanced with good acidity, nicely integrated tannins and a pleasing, refreshing, flesh-craving finish. Fabulous now, and should remain so over the next two to three years.
Hajdu, Sangiovese Eaglepoint Ranch, Mendocino (CA), 2016 ($50): Concentrated ruby red with a bouquet of fresh, still ripening plums, near perfect rainier cherries, and with a little herb and spice, leading through to savory flavors of sour cherry, some prunes, tobacco, dried oregano, some lovely white to black pepper notes, and hints of herbs de Provence. With lovely structure, bright acidity, and ever present yet soft and smooth tannins, this is a complex yet wonderfully quaffable beauty that hungers tasty food. It’ll reward some near to mid-term cellaring, if you can resist its present charms long enough. An awesome example of the organic, high elevation, Eaglepoint Ranch vineyard in Ukiah (Mendocino County). Really very yummy. L’Chaim!