Rounding the table
WHICH WINE FOR THANKSGIVING?
Whether it is the time-honored family Thanksgiving or some freeform Friendsgiving with chums, gathering around any heavily laden table calls for wine -and given the seconds and thirds we are sure to return for, this means lots of wine. Seasoned members of the wine trade, we have tried everything over the years and while a fair number of wines work with the turkey and all its trimmings, some work better than others.
Some wines also play better with others in terms of people which is another factor to consider when friends and relations run the spectrum of taste, interests, and knowledge but no matter your extended family, one sure way to enjoy tried and tested Thanksgiving wines is to ask your friends at The Wine Company what they will serve this Thanksgiving.
From all of us at The Wine Company, we give thanks in everything -not least to you and the love we share for all that is small and beautiful.
WINES FOR THANKSGIVING
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.
So, I was listening to Jancis Robinson answer this same question over the weekend, and JANCIS says when you have a mixed mob of people descending on your home for a banquet of flavors like Thanksgiving you cannot get better bang for your buck (and value matters with a big group) while also impressing all comers than by pouring Muscadet for your white and Beaujolais for your red. “Perennially undervalued wines which have never been better” to quote a woman who knows a lot more about wine than I do.
But, I do not have a mob descending on my table (there will only be five of us, and Graham still drinks a lot more milk than he does wine…). Also, my centerpiece will be a Ribeye Roast (sorry, I’m just not that into Turkey). So for a small, non traditional dinner of thanks we will be starting with the Pierre Callot Blanc de Blancs (great with cheese straws, and my mother LOVES Champagne), moving onto Bethel Heights Willamette Valley Chardonnay (because I flat LOVE both this wine and the Casteel family), and finally the White Rock Napa Valley Claret. The Claret is an absolutely fabulous bottle of wine! The added impetus for this choice though is that the White Rock winery burned down in the Atlas Peak fire last month. It’s a very real opportunity for me to reflect with my family on how lucky we all are, how much we have to be thankful for, and look for ways to support those who are not as fortunate as we. AND, did I mention it is delicious?!
Thanksgiving wine? Petite Gallee Coteaux du Lyonnais Vielles Vignes du Clos 2015. My brother is a great grill man, and he’ll be preparing our Thanksgiving turkey over an open flame. To match, I’m going to need a sturdier red, but I’m also obsessed with Gamay. Out of luck? No way! The Petite Gallee Coteaux du Lyonnais is Gamay grown closer to the northern Rhone than the Crus of Beaujolais, and it shows. It possesses more density and overt mineral qualities than most Gamay, while still offering all the fruit and florals you want. Tense and pretty, this is a fascinating new entry in The Wine Company portfolio!
This Thanksgiving I’ll be drinking Ecker Zweigelt for its chillable side. This peppery and punchy juicy red does Austria proud and is as quenching as it is food friendly. My other selection is another wine that’s able to adapt to any side dish: Domaine de Menard Cuvée Marine -a crisp, aromatic white blend of Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gros Manseng from the heart of the Bas Armagnac in France’s Gascony.
Hosting for the first time this year, I am excited for Thanksgiving to warm our house this year. We will start with a large charcuterie and cheese board to both nosh and pique all appetites for a proper sit down dinner which will feature all the traditional fare. For this I am going with nimble wines that can refresh the palate between salty cured meats and rich and weighty cheeses but also pull their chairs up to the table -covered with all the usual suspects from roast turkey and stuffing to sweet potatoes, gravy and the like. While each dish on its own is an easy match, to pair up with everything and all in the family, I am planning on the 2013 Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee. This is a sparkling blend of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay from the Green Valley of Russian River Valley, made in the same method as Champagne, with all the charm one could wish to find -yet with the body and complexity to match up to any bite.
For Thanksgiving dinner I usually reach for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Beaujolais but because Thanksgiving is our all-American holiday I’ll serve domestic wines. From Napa Valley, the Chardonnay from White Rock. From Oregon’s Eola-Amity Hills, Bethel Heights’ Æolian Pinot Noir. Then as the allrounder and what I predict will be the wine-of-the-day, from Deb and Andy Cutter’s little two-acre estate, the Gamay from Duxoup.
Thanksgiving is all about home, family, and friends, so this year we will be celebrating with the happy results of the quest of our friends Gabrielle Shafer and Bill Hooper. Both of these amazing and awesome folks were part of The Wine Company family, but left us to show that making great wine is even more fun than selling great wine.
While the bird is in the oven we’ll putz about in the kitchen, drinking Bill’s Paetra Winery Riesling “Elwetritsche”, as thrilling a dry riesling as you will ever find in Oregon (and maybe Germany too).
At the table we will pour Gabrielle and Adam’s “Gamling & McDuck” Dry Chenin Blanc – it’s world-class and it’s from California, not Savennieres – and Hoop’s Paetra Pinot Noir – his first vintage and it’s so good I wonder what he can possibly do for an encore.
I like to bring several different bottles that complement the wide range food and flavors on the table.The bright & balanced acidity of Fritz Haag Estate Riesling with its lively forward fruit plays so nicely with the gravy, stuffing, potatoes and cranberries. Lang and Reed Cab Franc is so delicious – I’ll be keeping this on my end of the table! The structure is amazing with so many layers and flavors, the soft tannins allows it to pair well with the bird and all those other dishes. Perry’s Barn Owl Farmhouse Cider is also coming to dinner. The acidity and brightness of this English farmhouse craft cider makes it a perfect match for all those rich sides.
Last year I brought something that wasn’t Paetra K Riesling and the aunts let me know how disappointed they were. Good old Catholic guilt. My uncle has learned to look for what I’m drinking and so I’ll have to bring an extra bottle of 2015 Argyle Reserve Pinot Noir as well as a couple bottles of the 2014 Gaudet Morgon Cotes de Py.
Sparkling and rosé bring people together and whet the appetite so we will start with Argyle Brut Rosé which, let’s be honest, could just as easily carry on through dinner and all day long but for the fun of it and for a bit more variety, we’ll be sipping on Fritz Haag Riesling because it might be the most food friendly of all wines ever. We all want red though and something domestic because this is an American holiday so we’ll tuck into Goldeneye -a richer, gratifying Pinot Noir from the cooler climate of Anderson Valley in Western Mendocino.
So I have always loved our Burgundy portfolio but in this 2015 vintage you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a winner. That being said, I am loving the Chateau Chamilly Aligote and the Domaine Bourgogne-Devaux Haute-Cotes de Beaune “La Dalignere”. The very epitome of yummy and still super Burgundian. With lovely acids and beautiful textures, they will make a fine meal even finer and for that I am truly thankful.
This seems like a great year to give thanks with not only great American wines, but wines that have some connection to Minnesota. We will be starting off with Argyle Brut. Might have to have a second bottle of this because not only is it a great way to start the festivities but also is a fantastic food wine. Riesling always seems to be a great choice at the Holiday table and I can think of no better than Paetra K Riesling from the fantastic Bill Hooper. A red wine is a must at the table and what better then friends Gabe and Adam’s Gamling and McDuck Cabernet Franc. I can’t wait to share these with my family.
Almost anything goes. Almost. IMHO a huge red wine would be no bueno. Neither would a dairy and oak riddled white, which we couldn’t provide anyway. That leaves a lot from which to choose. So, from that embarrassment of riches I’m serving Empire Estate Dry Riesling 2016. New to WineCo from upstate New York, it displays the magic alchemy we seek…fruit and acid balance along with bell-tone purity. It should satisfy all the wine geeks at the table (only me) as well as my dear fruit-loving family members.
As we prepare to say goodbye to a dearly beloved, immensely important member of our family, we’re keeping things regional this Thanksgiving with the wines of Alexis Bailly Vineyards—specifically that bright and balanced GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Marquette). We know of Nan’s love of all things Loire—this wine shows off Nan’s affinity for the Rhone Valley as well.
While watching the Vikings smoke the Lions, we will be sitting back and enjoying our new Perry’s ciders.
As this is the first Thanksgiving away from my grandmother’s Lake City table in over a decade, this year will be a little different. If the airlines and Moroccan border patrol permit it, the wayward portion of my family will be sipping the sparkling wines of Moussé Fils and Drappier as these deeper, Pinot based champagnes make just the match to the savory tagines we expect to find among the Moroccan cuisine -and these also echo the long standing relationship between Magnifique Maroc and La Belle France. We’re giving thanks for both and so many more things besides!
The best wine on Thanksgiving is the one I share with my wife during meal preparation in the morning…..usually a light bodied Pinot Noir. This year I’ve chosen the Failla Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir for this special occasion.
MARK “NORDY” NORDSTROM
Bloody Mary’s for breakfast with a beer chaser.
Pre-Dinner, Argyle Brut and…
For dinner Alexander Valley Vineyard Rosé and St Pierre Sancerre
Since I will be having crab for Thanksgiving, and I REALLY like bubbles, Racauderie Vouvray Brut will be my go-to wine this year. 100 percent Methode Traditionelle Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley is so versatile and delicious! For my red wine choice I am going to stick close to home and support a winery that was all but lost to the horrific wildfires in California. White Rock Claret it will be! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
In gratitude for having had the opportunity to experience Willamette Valley, it’s people, and wine, never mind the fact I’m hosting an SJU football player from Dayton, OR, our family and friends will enjoy the following: Argyle Brut Rose, St Innocent Freedom Hill Pinot Blanc, Ponzi Pinot Gris, Paetra Riesling, Left Coast Truffle Hill Chardonnay, Bethel Heights Estate Pinot Noir, DDO Pinot Noir, AND must include Hedges Red Mountain blend to trigger my memory of the fun had there.
Mountain Dew all day every day.
Our 2017 Thanksgiving wines pay tribute to the many families affected by recent forest fires in California. MacRostie Winery and Vineyards’ Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir are perfect for the main course. Fruit for these wines are sourced from a handful of small & prominent family owned vineyards. Also suitable for the gathering are two wines from Frog’s Leap Winery: Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel. More of a creamy, tropical style, the Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect aperitif, while the Zinfandel pairs with any bolder foods that you will enjoy. Cheers!
I like an assortment at our table for Thanksgiving. Chenin Blanc and Riesling are my favorite for whites. This year I’ll pour Bill Hooper’s one-of-a-kind Paetra K Riesling and Gamling McDuck’s intense Chenin Blanc. I like something spicy for reds so I’ll have the tangy cherry spice of Lang & Reed’s Cabernet Franc and the fresh and snappy Ecker Zweigelt. Cheers!
This year I am looking forward to sharing the Quinta da Raza Alvarinho/Trajadura with my family. I have a wide spectrum of guests coming from wine savvy to novices and I think all the great characteristics of this wine from the slight pétillance to the lovely floral flavors, will appeal not only to my family but to the food, as well. I love when I can share something that very few of my guests will know! I know it will be a winner, because everybody we ever taste that wine with loves it!