Loosen your belts and let out a sigh – Thanksgiving week is finally here. As for wine, we all have our opinions (some very strong, I must say) and we’ve compiled our favorite selections (all in stock!) below.Thanksgiving is upon us…
Some insist only on white wine with the bird, but even they’re divided among full-bodied and crisp and clean. While some think that only red can wrestle that fat, domesticated fowl, but then these red accolytes are divided among the full-bodied camp to conquer the feathered mammoth while others simply wish pleasant complementary accompaniment to the domestic version of what Old Ben wanted as our national symbol (we went with an eagle — how original). And then why don’t we start the evening off with some bubbly? Why not, right?
It’s just all so overwhelming!!! No, not really. Let’s break it down for you nice and simple:
- For the lighter, low-tannin side of the red equation, we’re looking at Beaujolais (the Gamay grape) and Pinot Noir. For Beaujolais, we’re depending on the French (yes, just like we did with Lafayette, and don’t forget that nice statue we have in our harbor). For Pinot Noir, we are suggesting the following picks from France (Burgundy), California (Sonoma Coast and Monterey), and Oregon (Willamette Valley).
— the Beaujolais is covered by our elegant, spicy Julienas, our break-the-stereotype Terres Dorees, which manages to drink like a nouveau in terms of fruitiness, but with structure and spice. Lastly, the Beaujolais-Village Anthony Thevenet is our big-bodied, fruit-forward Gamay.
— for Pinot Noir, Mercurey and Domaine Ninot Rully are our picks for Burgundian wines, with the former being a minerally, spicy masterpiece of Michel Sarrazinet Fils and the latter a Cote Challonaise that is fuller bodied, lightly oaked, with bright berry flavors. The California Pinot Noirs include the elegant light Formation Pinot Noir from Monterey and the structured, lean Cep from the Peay Vineyards of Sonoma Coast. And then we suggest two Willamette Valley gems, Avarean, and a higher-end Ken Wright. These Oregon labels are ironically bigger Pinot Noirs than the California ones, yet within the elegant realm of nuance of the Pinot Noir.
— Ok, one outlier that is essentially a Pinot Noir and isn’t French or American. It’s Austrian — Prieler, which is 100% Blaufrankisch. This wine holds up to the best Burgundy Pinot Noirs.
- For full-bodied, heavier tannins, dark fruit red, we’re looking at Cabernet Sauvignon, and we have American and American and American. If you want really big oak, well, let’s compromise. Too much oak, no good for the bird.
— We have a medium/full-bodied Johnson Family that has your oak, but structured with rich, ruby dark fruit.
— Sebastiani is also medium/full-bodied, with well-rounded tannins and a long finish, also rich, dark cherry fruitiness.
— Oracle, again, is medium/full-bodied, but much bolder, with an in-your-face full-dark fruitiness that leaves the tannins trailing behind.
- Our Chardonnays go in two different directions — big and medium. For the former, let’s go with our American selections and the latter with our Burgundy selections:
— Chalk Hill is very big white that is not afraid of oak, but stays elegant (by the way, we have an older vintage, too, if you want to really impress the in-laws).
— Johnson Family prefers to stick to their nature in producing a big wine that does not feel big. A lot of attention has been given to keeping the tannins, fruit and oak structured.
— You will taste oak with the Macon-Chaintre, but it also manages to be fuller-medium-bodied and crisp and clean with a hint of apple on the finish.
— Macon-Fuisse is trying for right up the middle medium body, with a hint of oak on the palate, a full mouth, and a crisp apple-pear finish.
- Come on, let’s get some bubblies up in this Thanksgiving house. Start out joyfully, why don’t we:
— Prosecco: let’s go Sicilian, organic, dry. Ziobaffa. It’s even fun to say.
— Champagne: yeah, we know it’s expensive, but you can impress your guests without breaking the bank with Pol Roger. Look up the famous quote by Winston Churchill and remind everybody that the Brits serve it as their main champagne at the royal wedding (after toasting with an English sparkly. Go figure.
— Other French bubbly: We suggest the Collin Cremant de Limoux of Southwest France where a revival in winemaking is in full bloom. Chenin Blanc is added to Chardonnay to add a creamy taste to this sparkling jewel.
— Cava: Don’t be fooled by the deep rosey hue; it’s a real cava. Refreshingly light with fine, delicate bubbles and the aroma of wild berries. This is a really fun addition that will stick out pleasantly on the Thanksgiving table.
— Lambrusco: If you want to keep it fun, go the Pederzana route. It’s a rich purple, but deceptively dry. Or be serious with Vecchia Modena, which because it is of the Sorbara Lambrusco varietal it is actually rose in color and is very acidic — expect bone dry and serious.
So hopefully we took the “overwhelming” out of pairing wine with your feast. This holiday is supposed to be relaxing and for ALL of us. Drink whatever you want; we just want you to have a really happy Thanksgiving.
By the way, this Thanksgiving article first came to Amaro customers as an e-mailed newsletter. If you want to sign up for our newsletter going forward, you can do so at the bottom of our Home page. We promise not to spam you. Just one email a week with what we’re tasting that weekend.
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