OUR PICKS FOR THE HOLIDAYS AHEAD
Leading up to New Year festivities we host every sort of holiday gathering inspiring creativity in the kitchen, ambitions at the bar, and generosity from the special corners of the cellar.
To answer one of the questions we often hear this time of year, we went ahead and asked everyone at The Wine Company:
“What are you drinking for the holidays?”
As you might imagine, these answers vary, ranging from specific food parings to certain selections for particular holidays to ever ready recipes and bottles to face whatever may come.
We wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings and wish you all our very best in the holidays ahead
I do American wines for Thanksgiving. Greeting friends and family at the door while appetizing aromas waft from the kitchen requires proffering a wine lively yet attention getting. Paetra Dry Riesling. Some people will surely take it to the table. As to spirits, we will savor an assortment of Calvados.
The Thornphy household will be drinking Dr. Burklin-Wolf Riesling Trocken for the white wine, a perfect pairing with turkey, and for our red, we’ll be enjoying some Prieler Blaufrankisch, a perfect pairing for my Mom’s Killer Bean Hotdish!
No surprise that our holiday cocktail will be mezcal based! A couple ounces (or three…) of Cruz de Fuego Tepextate, about an ounce of Fred Jerbis Amaro (or the Bitter, still workshopping), a halfish ounce of Interrobang red vermouth and a half ounce or so of the Blueberry Poblano Sharab shrub. Maybe add a dash of bitters. The nightcap will be a lovely neat sip of Puni Sole or Two James Grass Widow.
We are drinking Gamling & McDuck 2017 Chenin Blanc now that a little bottle age is revealing what more this mineral wine is capable after a five year evolution. From Mangels Ranch, in the Suisin Valley southeast of Napa, nestled into the southeast corner of St. George Mountian Range, the ripening Chenin gets bay breeze traveling from San Pablo through a gap in the North Carquinez Hills. Wine Co alum come wine grower Gabriel Shaffer tells us, “When you walk this vineyard, the air smells crisp and salty. In 2017 that minerality stuck, and when I drink this, it shines through. It has great citrus notes and feels bright. Not like the sun or daylight, more like a lightness of soul.” After some time in the cellar this will be a perfect wine for Thanksgiving dinner.
OUR HOLIDAY COCKTAIL?
• 1.5 oz J.Carver Straight Bourbon
• Soda Water
• 3-4 dashes – The Japanese Bitters Co – Yuzo
• Ice in Highball glass
• Cranberry to garnish
My wine pick is the 2021 Nigl Freiheit Gruner Veltliner. Exploring the Austrian treats available to us from the Skurnik portfolio has been a real treat for me in the last year and this wine is an absolute showstopper of versatility and value. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
As I’ve been drinking very little lately for health reasons, the Phony Negroni by St. Agrestis has been a lifesaver of interesting complexity. Pop the top and pour over ice with a zest of orange and you can hardly tell it is NA.
Avalanche Pinot Noir 2020 | AOC Valais, Switzerland: I am loving the way this high altitude, Swiss Pinot is showing right now with a bright, wild raspberry fruit profile and delicate little tannins. I plan to lightly chill it in the snowbank out the backdoor of the kitchen and serve it with everything!
Domaine Dupont Calvados Crème de Calvados | AOC Calvados, France: My first run in with this expression was over five years ago and I was haunted by this French delight in the years to follow. After tracking down the new importer for my favorite Calvados producer of all time, Domaine Dupont, I am pleased to introduce everyone to their tasty creme expression. I will serve this chilled with dessert and a cup of coffee but wouldn’t judge someone for pouring it over a slice of apple pie ala mode.
For the holiday, I just want to drink a really good red wine so we chose a Bordeaux at the richer end of the spectrum: the Chateau Chapelle d’Alienor. As an 80/20 Merlot Cabernet Franc blend from the same talents behind the 1er Grand Cru Classe Saint-Emilion Chateau la Gaffeliere, this is a lot of wine for a Bordeaux Superieur and strikes a nice balance between polished ripe cassis and toothsome tannins and savor of Cabernet Franc.
We will be hosting Thanksgiving for the first time in a few years, so I plan on littering the table with bottles that will work with everything. There will be Dopff & Irion Brut Rose, Villa Wolf Gewurztraminer, Pedroncelli ‘Bushnell’ Zinfandel and some of the Left Coast ‘Cali’s Cuvee’ Pinot Noir.
For something festive at Christmas, I’ll be making a few highballs with Ahus Akvavit, club soda and a splash of cranberry (lingonberry if I can find it). It’s a subtle Aquavit and makes for a fun twist on the usual vodka highball.
Once winter fully arrives there will be a homemade spaghetti sauce day. It takes most of the day to do it properly. It’s a BIG batch and lots of people are fed. That will be when I raid the cellar for a bottle (or two) of Felsina Chianti Classico. This is a chianti that is just so much better than the price and really worth aging for a couple years if you can bear to wait that long. It’s entirely possible a bottle of Poliziano Vino Nobile might get opened as well, just in case.
This year, I’m looking forward to sharing Studio Rosé by Miraval. I feel like Rosé is a crowd pleaser and goes with most everything on the Thanksgiving table.
We’ll get the party started with a French 75 made with J. Carver Barrel Gin. Delicious!