I just read someone's Thanksgiving wine recommendations at MSN News and would like to use that person's suggestions to redirect my readers to what we have in the store. The truth about Thanksgiving dinner is that the traditional meal has so many different constituent flavors that it is pretty hard to go wrong no matter which wine you choose. However our suggestions here should safeguard against the few outlier options that just might be the one that sinks the occasion.
Here are the six MSN suggestions:
1. Demi-Sec Champagne. The reasoning here centers on the sweet character of the meal itself, therefore why not choose that aspect of the meal to complement with your wine choice. I agree with that reasoning completely. However I also love bubbly for bubbly's sake on holidays and it's that aspect of this suggestion I would emphasize. In the store at this time we have sparkling French Burgundies priced under thirty dollars and while they are dry, they are less dry than Champagne. Under twenty dollars we have Proseccos which are generally even less dry. The best we have in bubbly is Billecart-Salmon Champagne at $55/btl.
2. Chardonnay. The recommendation from MSN is unabashed California Chardonnay replete with oak and high alcohol. I disagree. I don't think the typical over-the-top California style Chardonnay is the best choice for this meal. Pronounced oak and alcohol make this style of wine a better cocktail for lovers of Chardonnay. Moderation in oak along with a heightened acidity to cut the grease and fat in the meal are more in line with what we envision here and Shea Vineyards Chardonnay from Oregon in the mid-twenty dollar range fits that bill. Of course we have all kinds of other options for Chardonnay priced in the teens and we have White Burgundies in the thirty dollar range.
3. Gewurztraminer. On this one we agree 100% with the MSN writer who suggests Alsatian and northern Italian Gewurz which we both have in stock. These wines feature the sweetness and acidity mentioned above and spiciness to complement that aspect in the meat and dressing. If you hear the term "turkey wine" in the media in the next couple weeks, that is a reference to Gewurztraminer.
4. Rose. The writer suggests specific New York State Roses which seems like "home cooking" to me, like maybe his brother-in-law has an investment there. Roses, in general, are safe bets as dinner wines with most any meal notwithstanding Thanksgiving dinner. We have three from Provence priced in the mid-teens, Spanish examples, and, believe it or not, Greek Rose! All would work just fine on Thanksgiving Day.
5. Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc. This is a "creme de la creme" suggestion for a larger category of wines currently dominated by the popular White Grenache grape. Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc runs upwards from sixty dollars a bottle. We have white Rhones in the thirty dollar range but the true find in the store is a lovely Rhone from Guyot at half of that price. We also have Garnacha Blancs from Spain at bargain prices.
6. Pinot Noir. This is my choice in a red wine because of its lightness and acidity. Pinot at any price is suitable for most of our American meals that don't require a stronger wine and turkey dinner is an ideal pairing. Our best include California and Oregon Pinot Noirs along with Burgundies in the thirty dollar range. Lately we have found bargains in Italian Pinot and the Nouveau Beaujolais arrives this week at under twelve dollars a bottle. Nouveau is technically not Pinot but rather Gamay from southern Burgundy but that grape is related to Pinot and can be made into wine on a par with Pinot Noirs in the twenty to thirty dollar range.
7. Vouvray. There was no seventh suggestion from MSN so this one is mine alone. The grape here is Chenin Blanc but the key information is the place of origin, the Loire Valley of France. What Vouvray brings to the table is acidity and moderate sweetness but in particular, it brings finesse (fineness) in a harmoniously complex format.
As I said at the beginning, this is a meal that is wide open as far as pairings go, so have at it, have fun, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Don't be too frugal on this selection, by the way. This is too important of an occasion not to provide something special.
By the way, we'll be tasting here as usual on Friday the 21st and on Friday the 28th, Black Friday, the day after the holiday, so join us for that one too.