As Thanksgiving rolls around, many in our households are already donning woolens and tweed, eating hearty fare, and taking long after dinner strolls to fill our lungs with the crisp autumn air, walk it all off and warm the soul.
We find ourselves lingering over the dishes simmering on the range or curling up closer to the fire, reaching for bottles that complement the season and the richer foods our bodies yearn to eat.
To better know we who are at The Wine Company and perhaps spotlight some seasonal favorites, we share some wines and cocktails we plan to enjoy this Thanksgiving.
Some birds of a feather overlap on choices and it will become clear that the majority of this ensemble is obsessed with variations on the classic Negroni. What matters most is that all these varied people of varied tastes love to gather together and savor the gratitude of this season all year long.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
As I gather with my family this Thanksgiving, wine and spirits are inevitably the expected offering for me to provide. An opportunity I relish to bring something new, something fun, and of course it has to work with the meal. This year looking far and wide I settled on sharing a beautiful offering from the southwestern Spanish region of Jerez. Vara Y Pulgar is a 100% Tintilla that offers a delicacy while maintaining body. It offers dark and red fruits crossed with minerality, zingy acidity and spices. This wine should accent and work well with much of the Thanksgiving bounty while offering its own hedonistic essence.
As the festivities wind down and we head into the sugar coma of pecan, pumpkin and apple pie part of the evening, I will be stirring a fun fall riff on the Manhattan. Lustau Brandy Manhattan, meet Golden Eight Pear liqueur. I might need to poach some pears in Lustau Pedro Ximenez to garnish these nightcaps. With these libations I might even skip the pie. Who am I kidding bring on the pies, they will go great with this mix of fine spirits.
I’m going to call this a cocktail for these purposes: Bordiga Vermouth Bianco poured over one big Minnesota Ice cube in a rocks glass. Who knew that a glass of Vermouth could make you think—layered, complicated and thought provoking. Also gets the juices and conversation flowing.
For dinner I look forward Domaine de Roche-Guillon, Fleurie for its crowd and food friendly versatility. Ripe and generous with bold red fruit while at the same time not a tannic monster, this single-vineyard Gamy doesn’t break the bank…always a plus.
After dinner I am picturing a Smokin’ Negroni will set everybody straight. 1 oz Cruz de Fuego Mezcal, 1 oz Bodiga Bitter, 1 oz Lustau Red Vermouth. Stir ingredients briefly with ice. Pour over large single Minnesota Ice cube. Garnish with orange.
Headed north with the kids to my childhood home in Duluth. While my parents watch the kids, my wife and I get to prep the Thanksgiving spread… a much needed and therapeutic kitchen session. In the glass we always begin with Lustau Vermut Bianco spritzers while setting up our mise en place… I always go for something light while chopping as to avoid lopping off a digit. Onwards to our meal pairings:
White? Encruzado do Se, a beautifully textured wine from Portugal…. a perfect match for crispy poultry skin.
Red? The ever gulpable Valpolicella Superiore Col de Bastia from Fattori in northeastern Italy to provide a bright and acidic counter to our heavy and soporific spread. Corvina at its finest.
…. by around 8pm I will likely find the 8yr Armagnac from Darroze in my glass.
My cocktail thought is to whip up simple Gin and Tonics as they are a snap, easy to drink and they pique the appetite for the big meal. This year’s have a twist though as we’ll be using Neversink Gin which is apple based and Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic for a little floral lift.
Our chosen Thanksgiving wine will be the 2015 Rose Rock Pinot Noir grown by the Drouhin Family from Burgundy in their estate vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills area of Oregon, the vineyards are certified sustainable by LIVE, a very balanced wine, elegant with flavors of bright red fruits, an age worthy wine, matches with a variety of holiday foods.
Such days of creature comforts call for roasts and savory sides to suit any number of wine pairings but on this special holiday, it will be Kabinett Riesling -and a special one at that: Maximin Grünhauser’s Herrenberg Riesling. From their Sekt to their Abtsberg, everything that comes from the Grünhauser estate is marvelous but this single vineyard Kabinett might be the silver bullet that can carry us all throughout the entire meal and holiday. First planted under vine by the Romans, this gifted Teutonic parcel is a steep slope of red Devonian slate reclining over forty acres facing south over the little Ruwer as it gently meanders its winding way to feed the Mosel.
The 2016 Herrenberg hails from a single vineyard of the same name comprised of Riesling planted over 40 years ago, farmed organically ever since. Medium sweet and weighing in at a modest 8% alcohol-by-volume, it possesses Riesling’s nimble character, luscious fruit, and fragrant appeal along with a salty snap and a dynamic energy that puts a bounding skip in its step despite its balance.
That it earned 92+ points from Wine Advocate might help convince skeptical relatives to try the Riesling variety once again but then again, perhaps this is a secret best kept to oneself. For table talk: way back in the 7th century, when it this estate was given to the Benedictine monastery of St. Maximin in Trier, the wines from this site were made specially for the Abbey’s choirmasters. Later on in history, Herrenberg was for a time owned by the family of Karl Marx in the 1800s -perhaps making this choice a little ironic for a holiday of sharing. The wine is now run by the sixth generation of the Carl von Schubert family that acquired it in 1882 and tend this storied monopol to the highest standard.
After stepping away from the big meal, knowing full well that there is a day of grazing ahead, we’ll need relief and to pace ourselves. When decorum unbuttons its collar and some might loosen a belt notch, our family will shift from wine to relax with restorative Sbagliato cocktails -the sparkling twist to the high octane Negroni we all love but would be fools sip all day long.
The scintillating sibling of the classic Negroni aperitivo, the sparkling Sbagliato follows a tradition that began when a bygone bartender mistakenly substituted Prosecco for Gin. The Sbagliato, translating from Mistake, in Italian was born and everyone discovered they loved the slip and could double their intake without falling into a nap. Fond of the botanical profile from the herbs foraged from the Occitan Alps of Piedmont, Bordiga makes one of the best. Ours will be ¼ oz Bordiga Bitter, ¾ oz Bordiga Aperitivo, 1 oz Bordiga Vermouth Rosso di Torino, with an ounce or more of Il Follo Prosecco to taste and garnished with an orange peel.
I was, for many years and many matters, a real stickler.
Always on the 4th and Thanksgiving American wines were requisite.
On Thanksgiving I’ve relaxed, broadened my wine horizons.
One can imagine that I am extremely grateful for wine and the social grace it fosters in life.
Our dinner is traditional the wine this year will be Chinon.
Maybe Summer is over, but Rose season is NOT! So this year I am bringing the Alexander Valley Vineyards Rose of Sangiovese to Thanksgiving. It was my favorite Rose of 2018, plus I have long thought that Rose is the under the radar perfect pairing for all Thanksgiving fare. Turkey? Check. Cranberry? Check. Stuffing? Check. Whatever weird sweet potato concoction your aunt brings? Check. I can’t lose!!
I am sticking to wine for my Thanksgiving meal this year. However, on Friday morning I will wake up, pour three fingers of Isle of Skye 8year in a pint glass, and fill the rest with my sister in laws famous bloody Mary mix. Seriously, Scotch is the spirit you didn’t know you needed as a base for bloodies, smoky and salty… yum! Who knows? Maybe I’ll pop in Braveheart too. What else would one watch while enjoying a drink called the “Bloody Scotsman”??
Thornphy Manor will be host to lovely friends and family this Thanksgiving. Along with the normal turkeys, stuffings and yams, the buffet will include a wonderfully smoky cocktail that is a play on the classic Negroni that I am calling the Fabulous Armagroni, to honor my band, The Fabulous Armadillos. Instead of gin, I am using Flor del Desierto Sotol, and with the addition of the Lustau Rose vermouth and the Inferno bitter from Saint Agrestis, it is a smooth, yet punchy drink that changes as you sip it!
For wine, it will be the Red Label Pinot Noir from Le Cadeau. I fell in love with this wine the first time I tasted it last year. It is lush, bright and dare I say, delicious as all heck and the perfect turkey pairing. On the white side, we will have Paetra Pinot Blanc. While not the usual for the holidays, this wine is uber fresh, with fantastic citrus notes and just the smallest hint of sweetness.
Knowing that I’m going to be supplying a good bit of wine to family that doesn’t drink a lot of it and expects it to have some sweetness to it presents some challenges. Remarkably the 2018 Villa Wolf Gewurztraminer is perfect for the occasion with both the ham or the turkey and all the fixings. It fits the budget so I can bring extra. I will also bring some Argyle Reserve Pinot Noir for myself. This is almost always the ‘hidden gem’ in Argyle’s lineup that I collect most years. Unfortunately a couple relatives have learned to watch what I’m drinking and immediately start drinking that, so I now have to bring a few bottles instead of just one.
After all the family, food, crazy kids and holiday drama I will get home and pour myself two fingers of Penderyn Legend Single Malt in a Riedel DSG Neat glass to unwind from all of it. This is whisky from Wales. There really isn’t anything else to compare it to. Don’t think peat, think bright, light, sweet malt and smoother than you’d believe. A light chill on the whisky is all it needs, an ice cube if you must. It’s entirely possible after all the family fun I will need a refill.
Thanksgiving is about gathering together with family – enjoying some wine, good food and each other’s company.
But with so many different palates to please – how best to choose a wine for all to enjoy? One wine that is sure not to disappoint is Green & Red Chiles Canyon Zinfandel. It’s relatively soft tannin will help to moisten even the driest turkey and it’s flavors of cinnamon, clove and vanilla will put you in the right mood. (relatively high alcohol helps too!)
As one who hails from Wisconsin, we are definitely enjoying cocktails on Thanksgiving and for my love of tradition this year will be what I call the OLD FASHIONED – THANK WI. Lustau Solera Reserva Brandy 2 oz, Sugar – 1 tsp., 2 dashes Angostura bitters, 6 Brandied cranberries, and an orange twist. Muddle sugar, bitters, and 3 cranberries in mixing glass. Add Brandy stir with ice. Strain over large ice cube in Riedel DSG Rocks Glass. Garnish with 3 to 6 cranberries.
Duxoup Gamay Noir such a lovely way to show California wine from an infinitesimally small production perspective, and of a grape that isn’t expected from the Golden State. Grown on the 1/2 acre vineyard immediately surrounding their Deb and Andy Cutter’s home, they make this with the most attentive eye for every detail and the results are charming.
As to cocktails, we’ll roll with a number of them to be sure but one to debut at our house will be the “Golden Carver Side Car” – 2 oz J. Carver Island View Brandy, 0.75 oz Golden Eight Pear, 0.5 oz J. Carver Sevilla Orange, 0.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice, 0.5 oz Simple Syrup. To build the cocktail, shake and strain into coup glass with granulated sugar rim, garnish with fresh lemon twist and 2 drops of Orange Bitters.
My wine selection is the Domaine de FA Beaujolais En Besset 2016. Domaine de FA is produced by one of my all time favorite wine making families in France, brothers Maxime and Antoine Graillot, of Northern Rhone Crozes-Hermitage fame. This wine is made from fruit coming from their five hectare vineyard Beaujolais named “En Besset” which is located somewhere in between Saint-Amour and Julienas. The tiny five hectares are comprised of a pedigree mash up of regular old Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages, and one parcel (less than one hectare) of Saint-Amour cru. Domaine de Fa En Besset 2016 is unfiltered, traditional, with wild delicious red fruits and a hint of carbonic.
My cocktail? Lustau Oloroso Sherry Flip. This cocktail is like chilled custard in a glass with sweet, nutty sherry flavors and a silky texture. Jerry Thomas, in his 1887 version of How To Mix Drinks, describes the sherry flip as a “very delicious drink” that “gives strength to delicate people.” 2 oz Lustau Don Nuno Oloroso Sherry, 1/2 oz simple syrup, 1 organic egg, Grated nutmeg for garnish. 1.) Add all of the ingredients except for the nutmeg in a shaker without ice. 2.) Shake vigorously for 30 seconds. 3.) Add ice and shake for another 30 seconds. 4.) Strain into a chilled Riedel DSG Nick & Nora glass. 5.) Grate nutmeg over the top. Dana Bonelli | Thanksgiving 2019
Ben’s first submission was for ”Beaujolais Nouveau because somebody’s gotta drink it.”
Alas, we sold and drank every bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau to sustain our thirsty Minnesota populace on the third Thursday of November so that would not do. By the by: Joseph Drouhin’s Beaujolais Nouveau was repeatedly the market’s favorite judging by all the feedback and side-by-side tastings so kudos to the Drouhin family!
So we didn’t have any Beaujolais Nouveau for Ben but we thought we’d do our man a solid and pull a bottle of Beaujolais a cut above and double down on the Domaine de Fa which Dana chose for the glowing reasons which can be read above. Three cheers for Gamay!
Thanksgiving is about family, friends, acknowledging our blessings and wearing adjustable waisted pants.
I prefer to drink lighter whites to accompany the feast and Gamling & McDuck Chenin Blanc is the perfect fit.
This wine is crisp, balanced and the wine makers are originally from Minnesota, can’t go wrong with this little gem!
Did you know that Gabrielle Shaffer, the Gamling in this team, used to work with us as a Sales Rep at The Wine Company? We even witnessed her firsthand take a deeper fancy to the wines of the Loire during a Wine Co trip across France.
Even though I don’t have the Thanksgiving menu set, I do know that at some point I will be opening a bottle of Domaine des Baumard Anjou La Calèche 2017. This is the newest wine from this storied producer (going back to 1634) and is a blend of 50/50 Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. It is not only the most affordable wine from Baumard, it is actually more like two wines in one bottle: depending on the shape of the glass from which I drink this wine, one of the varietals makes itself more known, more pronounced, thus allowing me to choose whether I want a Chenin or a Chard with my meal (or both…!) It is dry, fresh, minerally, fruity, delicious, and versatile enough be paired with most anything… à votre santé and happy Thanksgiving!
My Thanksgiving wine will be the Failla “Lola” Pinot Noir 2015. I’m a huge fan of all Failla wines and have always felt a special connection to the Pinot Noir’s they produce. I appreciate the texture, nuance, fruit tones, and subtle earthy expressions of what Eheren Jordan is making. I hope I never get over how impressive their Sonoma coast blend is and how dynamic their single vineyard wines are.
I chose one of their estate vineyard wines, LOLA. It caught my attention as it is the new addition to their estate vineyard selections and I when I first pulled the cork and tasted it I was struck by it’s versatility. I thought the food pairings possibilities were endless, making it the perfect wine for array of cuisine served at Thanksgiving. Additionally this wine had a special sentimental value for me, I was fortunate to have met my Father’s birth mother Lola this year and shortly after she passed away. Enjoying this wine that shares her name is a way for me to remember and honor her warm and kind spirit.
My cocktail? the Brooklyn Ferrari. Amaro has become a spirit that is almost always involved in any great meal I have for its variety of styles and benefits as an aperitif or digestif. For my cocktail I combined the element of an aperitif amaro with a digestif amaro to create the “Brooklyn Ferrari”. For me, St Agrestis is one of the most exciting and relatable spirit producers in our portfolio. This 50/50 cocktail will be perfect to consume after enjoying the Thanksgiving feast and give me and my appetite the boost to enjoy some Buttermilk cream pie for dessert.
I have discovered in these last few months that one of my favorite ways to cook is with an iced glass of Lustau White Vermut garnished with a twist of orange in my hand. I find that it completely scratches my “let’s have some cocktails” itch while still leaving me cogent enough to avoid scorching the soup if I decide to have a 2nd or a 3rd. As Thanksgiving is the longest and most enjoyable day of cooking in my year I plan to kick off the afternoon with a well garnished glass or two… This will also be my chance to introduce my co chef and mother to the joys of this refreshing drink at the same time.
My mother’s natural interests, however, lie firmly in the world of Champagne, and so the payoff for helping me cook all day and trying other beverages I insist she taste will be a bottle of Gaston Chiquet, Blanc de Blanc d’Ay which I’m completely smitten with in the current disgorgement. My mother, like me, is a Blanc de Blanc nut and this is a chance to show her a delicious version surprisingly grown in the land of Pinot surrounding the town of Ay. Sante!
Since we’re both transplants we’ve been fortunate to spend Thanksgiving with some (new) wonderful friends – and they also share a love for wine! One of my favorites this year is Chateau d’Angles Blanc Classique La Clape! I have a couple of things in common with wines from La Clape. We’re both super dry, and incredibly hot. The Blanc is a blend of Bourboulenc, Grenache Blanc, and Rousanne that’s going to set the stage for the pounds of potatoes I’m going to consume. Fresh and crisp, without a ton of acid – for the potatoes. La Clape has a little something old & new – Languedoc’s first ever AOC in 2015 but a history dating back to Cesar. Traditional, modern, and unique…..this wine basically is myself.
For cocktails? The Jelly of the Month Club. I started inspired by a Boulevardier and ended up closer to a Manhattan. I love the nose on Ransom’s Rye, Barley & Wheat. There is a weight to the whiskey without being overly complex or hot. I will also find any reason to put Bordiga products near me. The Maraschino adds just a touch of sweetness. The perfect end of the night cocktail to drink while I trick my better half into watching Christmas Vacation.
2014 Causse du Vidot Cahors will be on our Thanksgiving table – This is a project by the three gentleman who produce Altos Las Hormigas. It is part of their Proyecto terroir in search of Kimmeridgian Limestone terraces. They are naturals when it comes to producing beautiful Malbec, so why not Malbec from Cahors? This is organically farmed from a single estate. It is bright and intense with fantastic minerality and herbal notes that will drink well on it’s own or pair beautifully with Thanksgiving dinner. (I use lots of fresh herbs and love the idea of pairing the garrigue with herbs, minerality and acid with turkey, gravy and all of the butter….this would even pair well with my Chocolate Bourbon Pecan pie.
For cocktails we’ll be sipping Old Tom Turkeys made in the Riedel DSG Rocks glass: 2oz Ransom Old Tom Gin, .5 oz Massenez Gimembre, ¼ lime twist, Club soda. Mwah!
Speaking of Old Tom Turkey…
Dopf & Irion Crustaces: Like Indiana Jones himself (admittedly not as good looking) I have been on a quest for a grail of an item. A white wine from Alsace that is both delicious and affordable. For years I have been able to find the former but I have been hard pressed to find the later.
Then, like a monkey shot from space, comes this wine which is a delicious blend of Silvaner and Pinot Blanc from Alsace, and my quest is at an end. I’d say it was a bit anti-climactic but then I drink this wine and realize the excitement all over again. Bright, fresh, zippy and perfect for Thanksgiving or Tuesday with Netflix.
When one thinks of Thanksgiving it is hard not to think of cranberries and it’s hard to think of cranberries and spirits and not go to one of the simplest drinks of the face of the planet, the Cape Cod.
This is my twist on a classic drink that even Grandma can make.
THE CAPE ODD:
2 oz Valentine White Blossom, 1/4 oz Massenez Creme de Ginger, Dash The Japanese Bitter Co. Yuzu Bitters, and Cranberry Juice. Mix all ingredients over ice and stir. Add a dash of the bitters when stir is finished.
My pick for this Thanksgiving is Thibault Liger-Belair Bourgogne Les Deux Terres 2015. It’s approachability and easy drinking Gamay and Pinot Noir blend between the crus of Beaujolais and Bourgogne from the Cote d’Or hence the name Les Deux Terres (the two lands) is the perfect balance of fruit and saline minerality with notes of granite. This as a standout for me on my trip to France with TWC as the cellar was one of the coldest in France. I consider this wine to be a crowd pleaser without breaking the bank!
For cocktails I’m mixing up Browntown Negroni: equal parts Liberator Old Tom, Bordiga Bitter, and Bordiga Rosso Vermouth, stirred with ice until well chilled and then strained into a Riedel DSG Rocks glass filled with the rocks cube from MN Pure Clear Ice and garnished with an orange peel.
This year I’m serving Liger-Belair’s Les Deux Terres. I always serve a Gamay and a Pinot Noir but this unique blend has it covered. He chooses Pinot from good terroir in Burgundy and blends it with Gamay from Cru Beaujolais. The result is an elegant wine with all the notes of black raspberry and cherry that finishes this meal.
My cocktail is a spin on a French 75. I’m loving barrel gin so I’ve used Ransom Old Tom and combined it with ginger beer and sparkling apple juice for a little less alcohol. Then I’m topping it off with a bit of lemon juice to perk it up, simple syrup and a sprig of rosemary for the season!
This year I’m excited to share Vietti Roero Arneis with my family and friends. I have always loved this wine and feel that with all of the delicious flavors offered, this wine will complement the meal nicely. It has the acidity to hold up to everything, yet the roundness to not get over powered.
I always love being able to enlighten my guests with a wine that they might not be familiar with and I’m certain that most will not know of Arneis.
I love telling the story of how Alfredo Curado, from Vietti, was mainly responsible for reviving this indigenous grape variety from extinction in Piedmont!
For cocktails, I’m making Patty’s Bees Knees using 2 oz. J. Carver Barrel Gin, 3/4 oz Lemon Juice, and 3/4 oz Ginger, honey, simple syrup. In a cocktail shaker, combine Gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice. Shake vigorously until chilled. pour into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.
2017 Hiruzta Txakolina Tinto – It’s a little bit Cab Franc-y [they’re related], a little bit Zweigelt-y, and all delicious!
A Basque [Spain] red of the grape Hondarrabi Beltza, Hirutza Tinto is bright, fresh and all-too-easy to drink.
The red fruit and lightly vegetal flavors will contrast the savories and complement your cranberry sauce, and freak out your in-laws!
$tuart Turkeylinks will mix things up on the cocktail front. 2oz Massenez Poire Eau de Vie, 0.5oz Bordiga Maraschino, 0.5oz Massenez Creme de Gigembre, 0.5oz Lemon Juice, Dash Peychauds. Combine ingredients and shake em up, serve in Nick n Nora glass.
Cline Small Berry Mourvèdre will set the table this Thanksgiving. From a 100 year old parcel of Cline’s old Big Break vineyard, the head pruned, own rooted Mourvèdre is dry farmed in sand which not only keeps phyloxera at bay but also maintains low yields of small clusters of tiny grapes. Concentrated with a vibrant intensity, this wine is awash in plum, sweet curing tobacco and a lifted minty eucalypt note from the eucalyptus trees that border this block of vines. For all its ripeness this is balanced by an acidity that keeps all the fleshy fruit in textured frame of fine tannins -making for a nice Thanksgiving wine.
Our holiday cocktail will be the Cranberry Bourbon Hot Toddy: 1.5 oz Cranberry infused bourbon, 1 tablespoon honey, 2 oz boilling water, Garnish with orange wedge pinned with clove, Combine bourbon, honey and boiling water into a to Toddy mug. Push 3-4 whole gloves into orange wedge, float in Toddy. Infused Bourbon: 2 cups fresh cranberries, 8 oz bourbon, zest of half large orange, 2 teaspoons sugar. Combine and let infuse for three days.
Nan Bailly and I have been friends for 40 years, ever since David Johnson – one of The Wine Company “Originals” – took me down to Hastings to visit the Alexis Bailly Vineyard in 1977, the year Nan’s father David launched Minnesota’s first commercial winery. Nan says that I am an honorary member of the Bailly family and I’m proud to say I feel that way too.
Every Thanksgiving my family is invited to join the whole Bailly clan at the winery and we all share a feast together at one very long table wedged in between the barrels of sleeping Minnesota wine.
The room is filled with laughs and stories, kids and dogs run about, and the table groans with the weight of the favorite dishes and favorite wines that everyone contributes.
I plan to bring the 2016 “Cote Est” Pinot Noir from Le Cadeau, made by Tom and Deb Mortimer who left their native Minnesota two decades ago and followed their dreams to the Willamette Valley, where they cleared a virgin hillside to plant Pinot vines in the volcanic rock of the Chehalem Mountains. Their Pinot Noir checks all the boxes to pair with the range of flavors that is a traditional Thanksgiving spread – it is savory and sappy, with the quiet depth to match the turkey dark meat (my favorite) yet sleek and juicy enough for the white meat. This Pinot has a dark side too – a note of forest floor bramble and wild herbs that should set off the dark giblet gravy and stuffing.
I’m hungry already.
For cocktails, I have envisioned The Jamaican Donkey, a cocktail built on rum comprised of 5 thin slices fresh ginger, 1 ounce fresh lime juice, 1/2 oz Massenez Gingembre ginger liqueur, 1 1/2 ounce Mosswood Day Rum, 1/2 ounce Doctor Bird Jamaica Rum, 6 oz Cock & Bull Ginger Beer, In a large mug, combine the lime and ginger liqueur. Add the fresh ginger and muddle with gusto. Let macerate, then strain. Add the rums and crushed ice. Fill with ginger beer. Stir.
I will be drinking various sparkling wines this Thanksgiving in memory of my aunt Eileen, who always had several sparkling wines open at family gatherings and especially Thanksgiving.
And much like Eileen’s parties, once I start drinking bubbles I have a hard time stopping.
In the tradition set by Eileen who loved to explore new sparkling wines every year, I am popping into the Aubry Rose Brut Champagne.
A Grower Champagne highly regarded by the renowned wine importer Terry Theiss, this rose comes from Jouy-les-Reims tended by the very family who grow the grapes that ultimately wind up in this bottle -a rarity in Champagne.
As a tribute to Eileen it’s all the better for this being the newest addition to our enticing list of Champagne offerings.
Thanksgiving to me has always been about taking the time to slow down and ponder all the wonderful people and relationships in my life that I am eternally grateful for. In my world, my love and gratitude are shown by making dinner for those closest to me. Actions, not words! Every little thing at our Thanksgiving table is always made from scratch, of ingredients produced with respect for the Earth. I will be serving Lingua Franca Estate Pinot Noir this year, as it is also embodies those same traditions. Organic/ dry farming, hand harvesting/ sorting, and pigeage a pied bring forth a wine that is truly reflective of these coveted Eola-Amity vineyards. I find it endlessly complex, with loads of both red and dark fruits framed by an upright tannic structure that I so enjoy when the weather gets cold. Cheers and love to you and yours!
My Thanksgiving calls for a special cocktail: THE HERETIC – which requires 2 oz Sweet Dram Escubac, 3/4 oz Bordiga Vermut Rosso, 1/4 oz Bordiga Maraschino Liqueur, and a generous amount of zest of a preserved lemon. How to build this cocktail? 1.) Call a dear friend late at night and discuss politics for two hours. At some point during this conversation you will need to mix a stiff drink. 2.) Grab your trusty Riedel DSG Rocks glass. Slice a large piece of PRESERVED lemon zest. Using the preserved lemon ‘makes’ this drink: it lends a little saltiness and spiciness to the cocktail. Rub the zest on the rim of the glass. 3.) Add sufficient ice and build ingredients over ice. Stir generously, place the preserved lemon zest into the drink and sip away. You’ll feel better.
Pedroncelli Zin Rose has had a firm spot on our Thanksgiving table for several years. It’s so good and versatile – fits in nicely with all the different dishes on the table and all the different wine drinkers that sit around it. I will also enjoy the delicious Roco Wits’ End Pinot Noir. I have great memories of touring the Wits’ End vineyard with Corby and Rollin, looking for those vineyard gnomes!
For a cocktail I will make the Mule Motivator – this needs 1.5 oz Valentine White Blossom, 1/2 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice, 4 oz Ginger Beer, 1 Grapefruit Wedge. Combine Valentine White Blossom Vodka and fresh grapefruit juice in a copper mug or highball glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with the grapefruit wedge.
Thanksgiving will be marvelous not only for all the family time together but in large part thanks to Pedroncelli Bushnell Zinfandel -because it’s SO FLIPPING GOOD! I’m on my third case of it and I cannot get enough. Argyle Brut Rosé is my other Thanksgiving wine because I love the crispness, beautiful rosé fruit and its light cherry flavor. So fresh and inviting, Argyle Brut Rosé is a sparkling wine everyone can agree is fabulous.
Around the holidays drinks generally flow further/faster for obvious reasons and whom am I if not prepared. So for Thanksgiving I am stocking up with all the ingredients for a cocktail we’ve come to call “What’s in my purse?” It’s simple: 1 ½ oz Valentine White Blossom Vodka and 6 oz Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic Water. Rim a high ball glass with lemon. Fill glass with ice. Add 1 ½ oz vodka. Fill with tonic. Squeeze lemon in glass. Drink in the kitchen while you mash the potatoes.
Saint Pierre Sancerre is just the ticket for Thanksgiving at ours. Sancerre’s special soil and climate makes the St Pierre Sauvignon Blanc truly unique. For many generations the Prieur family has worked the most prized terroirs of Sancerre. All their vines are planted to the most renowned grands terroirs: Monts Damnés, Cous de Brault and Chêne Marchand… From some 30 parcels planted over the generations of this long line of winemakers, this Sancerre expresses an ideal south-southeastern exposure and the result is arguably the best value in Sancerre and therefor a perfect Sancerre for serving with varied foods to various guests whose wine palates vary widely. It is snappy and bright yet rounded and polished, fruity in terms of citrus and apple, fragrant and yet mineral throughout -a perfect foil to so many food pairings.
As for cocktails, now that Fall is in full swing, we’re making Spiced Apple Margaritas made from 2 oz Trianon Reposado Tequila, 2 oz Apple Cider, ¾ oz lime juice, 1 tsp honey simple syrup, and a dash of Cinnamon with Cinnamon/Sugar/Salt for the rim on the glass. Easy.
Choosing wines for Thanksgiving so often ends for most people with the turkey and all the trimmings but I’m stocked up on Rieslings, Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel so this year I am making sure to remember the pies. Thanksgiving is the pie holiday after all with more than we could ever finish weighing down the sideboard. Pumpkin, pecan and spiced apple pies will all call us back to the table after the traditional R & R that follows dinner… but which wine to serve with pie? Pies varying in sweetness, richness and spice?
Lucky us, we have the perfect wine to pair with pie: Lustau PX Sherry San Emilio. Slow fermentations of sun-dried Pedro Ximénez grapes concentrate and preserve all the flavors of figs, dates, raisins. 12 years of aging in cask in Jerez de la Frontera bring all these charms together into a velvet expression of luscious sweetness to complement every sliver and slice of each and every one of the pies of Thanksgiving -even if you toss chocolate into the mix. Happy Thanksgiving everybody. You’re welcome.