Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Image result for turkey and wine
Hi Wineaux -- I know this is last-minute, but a lot of you have been asking, so I'm putting down my study books and closing my script and ANSWERING YOUR CALL.

Thanksgiving can be a crazy time; figuring out what to drink shouldn't be. There are a few basic things to keep in mind:

1) Lots of Turkey Day food is, well, bland. Potatoes, stuffing, turkey... YAWN. Your wine should provide the PIZZAZ! However, now is not the time to pop open that super-concentrated, oak-aged, dense, intense Cab. It'll overwhelm.

2) You might love and appreciate wine, and Aunt Frieda is definitely a Wineau, but the rest of the fam? Maybe not. Look for excellent values, so when Uncle Fred puts ice cubes and a packet of Splenda in his red, you won't pass out.

3) Acid is always your friend, when it comes to food-and-wine pairing. You might not first think of red wines with turkey, but a high-acid red... PERFECTION.

Let's get to it! (PS all of this goes for the rest of your holiday dinners as well!!)

Yes, this might violate guideline #2, but substitute a good-value sparkling wine made in the Champagne method and you're good to go.
Image result for taittingerWHY? Bubbles! Festive! And its acidity and rich toasty nutty flavors will pair perfectly.
Value -- Lucien Albrecht Crèmant d'Alsace ~$17, Gruet Blanc de Noirs (NM) ~$14 Louis Boillot Crèmant de Bourgogne Rosé ~$20.
Mid-price -- Taittinger Brut La Francaise Champagne ~$38, Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial Champagne ~$38.
Splurge -- Krug Grande Cuvée Champagne ~$160,  Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne ~$75.
Image result for ca montanari lambrusco

DARK HORSE: Lambrusco
Skip the sweeter inexpensive versions and head straight for this herby, dark-fruited Italian bubbly.
WHY: Also bubbles! Rich earthiness and plum/blackberry fruits are lifted by its freshness.
Ca Montanari Opera 02 Lambrusco ~$17, Zanassi La Grasparossa Lambrusco ~$13.

If you're tempted to throw a Beaujolais Nouveau in your cart, I won't stop you. But the mass-market ones are so ephemeral, you'll miss the gloriousness of what a Beaujolais with some oomph and character can give. If you do want in on the fun, ask for a smaller, recommended producer. Non-Nouveau is a different story! And named crus (named regions, like Morgon below,) will cost a bit more, but will definitely deliver, so a splurge here is worth it!
WHY: Gamay (the grape) is bright, fruity, and fresh. Flirty personality, and smooth sailing. And most are under $20-25.
Value -- Ch. du Basty Lantignié Beaujolais ~$12, Pierre-Marie Chermette Beaujolais ~$14
Splurge -- Marcel Lapierre Morgon Beaujolais ~$40

A lighter-style Shiraz/Syrah shpicy crowdpleaser like Charles Smith Boom Boom Syrah (WA) ~$13 (I'm bringing this to our company's TGiving!)
2016 J. Lohr Chardonnay Riverstone 750MLHeavy-duty but real fruity oak-influenced Chardonnay like J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay (CA) ~$11 (This has been my dad's "house wine" for decades!)
A white with savory elements like a dry Furmint (Hungary) like Evolúció Tokaji Furmint ~$12 (I am obsessed with dry Tokaji!)
Or a Grüner Veltliner (Austria) with its white pepper/celery character, yet often with yummy stone fruit like the Weszeli Langelois ~$17
I'm also a sucker for a delish Sangiovese: Villa Sant'Anna Chianti Colli Senesi ~$19 or Antinori Santa Christina Chianti Superiore ~$13. Other Sangiovese wines are Rosso di Montalcino ($20-30 range,) and Brunello di Montalcino if you want to get a bit more splurgy, ask for good (and good-value) producers from your purveyors.
Other high-acid reds to look for: Pinot Noir from all around the globe, Zweigelt, Blaufrankish.

As always, many of these may not be available in your local wine shop; bring this list with you and ask for comparable suggestions! Your wine merchant should be your new best friend, always. This is just the tip of the iceberg; there are so many suggestions, you really can't go wrong... let me know what you paired with YOUR bird!!


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