Thanksgiving: Give These Wines a Whirl
If you are the designated Thanksgiving wine buyer think about this: food and wine experts agree that at least a dozen varietals complement roast turkey, with its white and dark meat, savory stuffing, candied yams, rich gravy, and cranberry sauce.
I realize this may be less than helpful news, so my first suggestion is that red and white wines share the table this season. Your eyes may start to ache, and you may be jostled by the hordes when you are standing amidst the crowded wine shelves, so keep these general concepts in mind. Avoid wines that are too tannic, oaky or acidic. In most cases that rules out aggressively oaked
Forget the Sauvignon Blancs; they’re too lean for the typical Thanksgiving fare. Instead, try an Alsace Riesling which has the advantage of being complex and interesting for those who appreciate wines, and is likely to be appealing to your grandmother’s palate. Speaking of family, every one has at least one non-wine imbiber so to bridge the gap pick up a bottle or two of a non-alcoholic cider. (see www.thevirginiacompany.com)
For your red varietal consider an American pinot noir. A pinot's bright red fruit flavors and slight gaminess seems well suited for turkey. The following wines fit that description and are, with one or two exceptions, are widely distributed in the greater
And please note, quality is important, but so is quantity. No one wants to drive to the liquor store during dinner. With your average family you’ll get about six glasses of wine from a standard bottle. You should figure on at least a half bottle per person as a safe bet.
Loudoun Valley Vineyards Monte Bianco 2001 (Virginia): A lovely aperitif made locally. Mowed hay aromas open up to chrysanthemum, honey and grapefruit flavors in this blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Moscato. ($tk)
Willm Vin d’Alsace Riesling 2000: An off-dry wine with grapefruit mineral and flint aromas, grapefruit and blousy honeysuckle flavors. ($10)
Gérard Neumeyer d’Alsace Riesling 1999: Burnt sugar and orange blossom aromas with melon and vanilla, caramel honey flavors. Enough minerality and density to make it a delicious food wine. ($9)
Benton Lane Pinot Noir 1999 (Oregon): Enticing lush, rich aromas of chocolate, mint and cherries, and bracing acidity, delicate mouthfeel, sour cherry flavors. To add to its charms there’s a long cherry finish. ($19)
Saintsbury Carneros Garnet 2001: A clean bouquet of strawberries and sweet vanilla, less fruit in the nose, this wine is appealing with turkey in the way that cranberry sauce is. Hint of root beer, mere suggestion of oak and vanilla and long finish. ($20)
Cristom Vineyards, Marjorie Vineyard (