Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Some Thanksgiving Wines

I wasn't going to get on the "Thanksgiving Wines" bandwagon, but it seems to be some sort of initiation rite for wine bloggers. Who am I to buck the trend? I try to stay hip and to be relevant, but what are you gonna do? So I might as well try to be helpful. Here are a few things that I keep in mind regarding Thanksgiving wine planning:

A) For many of us, Thanksgiving can be an emotionally loaded time. People may not have seen each other in a while, and they may have had plenty of time stuck in traffic or at the airport to get nervous. Keep the alcohol level in your wines as low as possible. Don't throw extra wood on the fire.

B) You know more about wine than anyone else in your family. Stick to wines with flavors and smells that are easy to access and identify. Don't challenge grandma's senses.

C) This is a celebration - its supposed to be fun. Don't spend too much money, because its no fun to watch your uncle fill his glass to the rim with pricey premier cru Burgundy and then spill half on the table.

Some specific suggestions for wines that meet the above criteria and that are also readily available at most large wine stores:

Sparkling Wine - sure, help folks loosen up a bit over an aperitif. Let's open a fun bubbly with bright and fresh flavors, and in this case, with a lovely raspberry color. And at only 7.5% alcohol...fill that flute up to the rim! NV Renardat-Fache Vin de Bugey-Cerdon Methode Ancestrale, $16 is a bubbly winner. This might be a tiny bit tougher to find than the other wines in this post, but you can do it. Get any Bugey rose bubbly if you can't find this one. The wine is made from the Poulsard grape, one of the classic varietals used in the wines of Jura and Bugey. I know - it sounds like I'm breaking rule B because no one will have heard of these places, but the wine is beautiful to look at, full of fresh berry flavors, and it won't get them drunk before dinner.

Whites - You can be confident that the 2005 Clos Roche Blanc Touraine Sauvignon, $12 will be a tasty and fruity Loire Sauvignon Blanc. The price is right, any good wine shop will have it in stock, and it should go well with whatever is on the Thanksgiving table. It comes in at about 12% alcohol though, and you might want to keep it lower if possible. I would bring any white from Kurt Darting's portfolio. Darting is a newfangled producer of German wine, mostly Riesling. You will see his wines for as little as $15, and they weigh in at about 8% alcohol. If your wine shop has it, I recommend the Kabinett Gewurztraminer from either 2004 or 2005. Piercing flavors of lychee and peaches, with nice acidity and a floral freshness. These are definitely off dry wines, but they go well with food.

Reds - Bernard Baudry's wines are a good match with Thanksgiving dinner. You can be proud to open the 2004 or 2005 Chinon Les Granges, $14, or the 2003 Chinon Domaine, $16. I have written about Baudry before. The fruit forward style of these wines combined with the reasonable 12% alcohol level make them a good choice.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends, whatever wine you drink.


Ben Bicais said...

Brooklynguy, The NV Renardat-Fache Vin de Bugey-Cerdon Methode Ancestrale looks like a fascinating wine. I have heard of that style before, but never tasted it myself. From what I have read, Methode Ancestrale is not disgorged after the second fermentation. I am always up for an obscure style and will definitely look for that. BTW, the Chinon, pate, cheese, and salami from your farmers market lunch looks delicious. Very interesting reading.

Brooklynguy said...

Hi Ben - thanks so much for your comments (and its embarrassing that your comment reveals more knowledge about a wine that I wrote about than I myself have). That was our best lunch in Chinon, btw - the one we put together ourselves and ate on the deck of our hotel. How did you come to this blog?

Take care - Neil

Sean Carter said...

Thanks a lot for your insights...will definitely keep it in mind during this year's celebrations.....and hey if you want more related resources then just visit my Thanksgiving Blog sometime and find out all that i've posted....well visit soon and have a great Thanksgiving!!!!

Dr. Debs said...

That sparkler sounds great, Neil. Will be keeping my eye out for it!

Anonymous said...

I profite of this post to tell you that I discovered a lovefull website with such great wines. I have to try it for New Year's Eve!

You'll find it at www.evinite.com

Joe said...

Hey Brooklynguy, saw you link on the Dok's site. I like your Thanksgiving review - Chinons are not always easy to find, would you be ok with a California or other Cab Franc? I am not a big Pinot fan, but I love the turkey/Pinot combo (1,2). Cheers!

Brooklynguy said...

Hey Joe,

funny, i feel like i see Chinons often, particularly in wine stores (as opposed to liquor shops). i actually don't know of cab francs from outside of the Loire Valley that I like so much, but I haven't tasted many either. actually, i've enjoyed a few from long island's north fork. if you discover a good one from cali or somewhere else, pass on the info! Thanks for stopping by,