Keep it simple

 

While sitting here, creating a Thanksgiving wine list to help my fellow novices, I came across a blog I follow. www.Grapefriend.com has summed up everything for me: “Drink whatever the (beep) you want!!” You are so right!!! I am a believer in that for all meals; drink whatever you like. However I do get asked, often, on what wines to pair with what foods. Now, I have taken the class so I know technically how wines pair with food. But, I am also in the mind set of just drink whatever wine pleases you.  Yes, artichokes and asparagus can make your wine taste more acidic/metallic (*hint, you can lesson the hassle by adding additional fat or sweetness to mask the acidity of asparagus and artichokes), but if you love your California Cab and want to drink that with an artichoke pasta, then by all means do it.

So there you go, I am not going to list every single wine to drink with your Holiday meal. I will give you my favorites for this holiday, but to quote Grapefriend again “Drink whatever the (beep) you want!!”

1. Bubbles (refer to my past blog) – these would be perfect to start the night off with. However, they can pair nicely with most of the food groups you will be consuming.

2. Chardonnay– I would suggest an unoaked chardonnay. But that could be just me. I am not a fan of overly oaky, buttery chards. A clean, crisp chardonnay will taste brilliantly with anything that has butter, cheese, crab/lobster (if going the unconventional route of Thanksgiving), turkey and vegetables.

3. Riesling– Another versatile wine that will pair nicely with most Thanksgiving menu items. I know it’s an America holiday, but a nice German Spatlese, Austrian Riesling or an Alsatian wine would taste lovely!! If you go with a sweeter Riesling, save that for dessert. (PS German and Austrian Rieslings tend to be lower in alcohol, so you can keep your wits about you if you drink too much of it!).

4. Pinot Noir – This red wine is light (although can be full – bodied) and has a nice complexion of fruit, minerality and alcohol to complement your table. I prefer a Burgundy, however my bank account doesn’t always agree. Check out California (especially from Carneros) and Oregon. Or take a walk on the wild side and grab a New Zealand Pinot Noir. I was pleasantly surprised with the one I tried!

5. Cotes De Rhone- A medium-bodied, French Rhone red that I think would be a hit at your gathering. It has some dark fruit on the palate and moderate tannin structure. Will go nicely with white meat dishes as well as vegetables, cheese and mushrooms (think earthy foods).

6.Beaujolais Nouveau – Ah, yes the coveted Beaujolais. The wine everyone clamors for during this time of year. Yes, pick up a bottle and yes enjoy it with your Thanksgiving meal. Not my favorite, but many of my friends love it. And it seems nostalgic….

7. Zinfandel – especially a fruity one. Zin’s can actually be a very versatile wine, because of it’s spice, berry and pepper flavors. Most meats pair perfectly with this wine.

8. Port, bubbles, Eiswein, Sherry, Muscat – all perfect dessert wines to end your perfect night. For the pumpkin pie – do with Port or Sherry.

 

** Don’t forget the bubbly water, cucumber water and coffee for guests who need a wine break!**

There you go.. a simple list. Stick with two or three of these wines and you will have a happy crowd (just don’t forget to pick up the beer for your non-wine drinking brother)!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

PS check out Grapefriend’s blog. It’s fantastic! http://www.grapefriend.com

 

 

 

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

The holidays are fast approaching. And while I would love to continue my summer fantasies, reality has hit. I am sitting here in a coffee shop, wrapped in a scarf, sweater and tall boots; trying to warm up with a latte. Out the window is drizzle and bare trees. In Seattle, this means the holidays are near. So instead of longing for those summer nights, I am buckling down and focusing on one major thing, wines I will be drinking this holiday season. It all starts with Thanksgiving and pairing the perfect wine with this gluttonous holiday.

What I love about Thanksgiving is the time I spend with my family and friends; eating, laughing, telling stories and shopping the next day. And of course, I love the wines we will open for this dinner. For the next month, my blogs will focus on wines for the holidays. Those to splurge on, those case-worthy and those that will pair delightfully with all your holiday meals.

When in doubt, bring on the bubbles…

Let’s start with Champagne, Cava, Prosecco, Sparking wine, bubbles… etc. Whatever you call it, these little effervescence’s of love taste delightful with many holiday meals, particularly Thanksgiving. They are festive, cleanse the palate and versatile. Because we eat a variety of foods on Thanksgiving, Sparkling wine is a great go-to because it tastes delightful with all stages of the meal (even with the pies).

Bubbles can vary greatly in price. I am a true believer that you can find a perfect Bubbley bottle for $20-30. While Champagne has the glamorous the reputation, there are many other Sparkling wines that are just as tasty and easier on your wallet.  Here are a couple options.

**If you need a little refresher course on all the different types bubbles, refer to my past blog on 9/19/2010 – Too much wine? It’s explains the definition of Cava, Champagne, etc.

Splurge: Eric Rodez Cuvee des Crayeres, Grand Cru Brut – (a Growers Champagne)

Around $50.00, The Grape Choice

For many this is a splurge, others it is a steal. According to my pocket book, it’s a splurge… but a delicious, smooth, dance in your mouth one at that! This Chardonnay/Pinot Noir Champagne has notes of honeysuckle and pear and is simply decadent; a crowd pleaser. He also makes a Rose Champagne as well, that’s just as amazing. If you are unable to find an Eric Rodez Champagne, ask your local wine shop for other Grower Champagnes. If I am going to throw down the cash for a Champagne, I always search for a Growers Champagne. These Champagnes come from smaller, local vineyards in the region of Champagne, France. They are described more as artisanal wines. The vineyards are usually independently owned around a single village (as opposed to Moet et Chandon who buys grapes throughout the Champagne region). I am a fan of small, local businesses, which is probably why I am pulled towards Growers Champagne.

Thanksgiving Splurge

Thanksgiving Splurge

Steal: Domaine Carneros – Napa, California

$28.00-100.00

I have talked about Domaine Carneros before and I will say it again, they produce marvelous Sparkling wines. Founded by Taittinger (a Champagne), so they know exactly what they are doing. For the “steal” I would pick up a bottle of their Domaine Carneros Brut Vintage ($28.00). This is one of my standard go-to wines (it helps that I belong to their wine club; I receive a shipment every other month). It is vibrant and fresh; hints of lemon zest, pear and mineral. This wine will add a spark to any holiday meal. I have been able to find this wine in most wine shops and markets. You can also make a purchase through their website http://www.domainecarneros.com/.

Domaine Carneros Le Reve

Domaine Carneros Le Reve

*This is a picture of their Le Reve, which is a splurge at $99.99. This is my Thanksgiving contribution though. This Blanc de Blanc is made of Chardonnay grapes and aged 6 years before release. This will be my first Le Reve and I am beyond excited! I will let you know if it’s worth the price!

Other Options:

If you are concerned about price, look into Prosecco’s and Cava’s. While I often find Prosecco’s slightly sweet on my palate, they are easy on the budget and will likely be a hit with everyone. Just today I saw a great deal on Prosecco at Trader Joes. Cava is also another fantastic option.

Whether you splurge for that $50.00-100.00 bottle of Champagne or go for the $9.99 Trader Joe’s Prosecco, Bubbles are the hit wine for Thanksgiving.

Gobble Gobble my friends!

Carolyn