At this time of year several of our member wineries will get asked by wine club members and tasting room visitors, ‘What wine do you recommend to serve with Thanksgiving dinner?’
Here are just a few excellent choices for your holiday table:
From Barbara Brown at R&B Cellars:
White wine: Turkey is rich meat and requires a white with a little oomph. As such, Chardonnay is always a great choice. R&B Cellars 2012 Sarabande Chardonnay, from the Russian River, is fermented in a combination of French oak and concrete fermentation vessels. This creates a beautiful wine with lots of depth, great flavors of pear and apple, caramel and delicious mineral tones that come from the time spent in the concrete eggs. Red wine: For a red wine, we would go for Zinfandel. A wine with lots of fruit characteristics and spicy notes, making it a great pair with turkey and all the trimmings. It also is America’s heritage grape making it perfect for Thanksgiving! R&B has a brand new release to offer up for Thanksgiving: 2011 Allegrezza Zinfandel: From the Harris Kratka Vineyard in Alexander Valley. Blackberries, dark black cherries and black raspberries, hints of dark chocolate, exotic spice and eucalyptus. The Improviser is a Zinfandel-based blend. It is a little lighter than a typical Zin making it a wonderful choice for Thanksgiving – About 60% Zinfandel, with Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Barbera, Cabernet and Merlot. It’s our most popular wine. We simply cannot make it as fast as we sell it!
From Caroline Chouinard from Chouinard Vineyards:
Chouinard Vineyards makes a Granny Smith Apple Wine which is excellent with turkey. I add Granny Smith Apple Wine to the turkey gravy and baste the bird in butter and apple wine. An apple, raisin, onion dressing is perfect. For those that prefer a light red, we recommend our two dry and fruity roses-a petite sirah or barbara rosé.
From Justin L Smith, Direct to Consumer Sales Manager at Jeff Cohn Cellars:
2012 Stagecoach Vineyard, Two Guys | Two Barrels, Viognier: The perfect Thanksgiving wine, because of its vibrant acidity and minerality. There is just a hint of peach, apricot, and vanilla to stand up to all the accouterment of the holiday feast! Here’s a little more background on the uniqueness of the wine: In 2012, Jeff was able to convince his friend and famous Rhône producer, Yves Gangloff, that he’d found the perfect site in California to make Viognier. Yves was so impressed with the Stagecoach Vineyard in the Atlas Peak AVA, that he agreed to make a wine with Jeff. The wine was born out of the mutual respect that each of these winemakers has for one another and their love for Viognier. In the end, they created a truly unique, special, and soulful wine! On the palate: lemon and lime zest with a touch of minerals, dried peaches, and fresh apricots. The wine is lush, seamless, and lengthy from start to finish. 2012 Lancel Creek Vineyard, Pinot Noir: Another awesome choice, because this sturdy pinot noir has fresh tannins mixed with scents of dried fruits that will highlight any dish on the table. Thanksgiving is about food, family, and friends, and this pinot will be a thankful addition to the table!
From Margaret Dollbaum at Carica Wines
- What wine goes with Thanksgiving dinner? This is a great question, in light of many complicating factors–the traditional dishes are varied, rich, and run the gamut from piquant to savory to sweet. Thankfully, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one kind of wine! We like to start with a dry, crisp white wine, like Carica 2010 Sauvignon Blanc with appetizers or the first course, and then transition to Carica 2011 Grenache with the main course. Winemaker Charlie Dollbaum recommends Grenache with roast turkey and all the sides, because this medium-bodied wine’s fruit and spice flavors are not overwhelmed by assertive stuffing, deeply flavored roast vegetables, and sauces. The crisp, citrus-y quality of the wine perfectly complements the richness of foods like turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, and vegetable gratin. Don’t forget the Day-After-Thanksgiving Feast! For our traditional after-Thanksgiving turkey molé, the aromatic and savory Mexican sauce of roasted chilis, herbs, spices, and unsweetened chocolate, winemaker Charlie Dollbaum likes to offer his Carica Rhone-style Red Blend, called the ‘Siren’. Here’s why: The classic blend of Syrah, with its intense fruit flavor, plus Grenache and Mourvèdre, with their nuance of spice and earthiness, really complement the savory sauce. Even the classic Day-After Sandwich of roast turkey and cranberry sauce is complemented by a blended red wine like ‘Siren’—bold enough to stand up to the piquant sauce, and mellow enough to let the turkey goodness shine.
From Shauna Rosenblum of Rock Wall Wines:
Thanksgiving is a fantastic time to restock the wine collection and maybe include a few wines that you might not usually purchase. An instant go to is barrel fermented Chardonnay, as it pairs well with the richness of turkey but offers acid to make it refreshing as well. Rock Wall does a Russian River Chardonnay which is fermented in French oak, with half malolactic, so it keeps the fruit and acid in tact while maintaining a French vanilla and angel food cake finish. Plus the minerality from the Russian River terroir is a nice juxtaposition to the rich buttery flavors. A fun “other white” is Rock Wall’s Sparkling Blanc de Blancs. This fruity, but
dry blend of Chardonnay and splash of Muscat Canelli helps keep things festive and helps cleanse your palate while you’re digging into bite after bite of heavy turkey, dense gravy and green bean casserole. Whatever other family tradition dish your family might have, I bet it has butter, and the Blanc is professional at refreshing your tired taste buds…and it’s dang good with pumpkin pie too!
Pinot Noir or something with a lighter body is a great red pairing. Big Cabernets can overwhelm the softness of the flavors of turkey and stuffing, and don’t generally compliment cranberry sauce so well. However, something lighter can co-star alongside all of your Thanksgiving meal, and play up the buttery and rich flavors that are so prevalent in Thanksgiving meals. Rock Wall’s Russian River Pinot Noir is a beautiful Thanksgiving go-to, or if you’re in the mood for something more off the beaten path, the Super Alamedan is “super.” Super Alamedan is a blend of Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a splash of Zinfandel which does the same trick as Pinot Noir by offering a lighter body, easy drinker, and this one is a fun conversation piece as well.
From Dashe Cellars:
We have two great wines to pair with turkey. One is the 2013 Dry Riesling, MacFadden Farm from Potter Valley. Made in the style of the dry white wines from the Alsace region of France, it has a great depth of flavors: earthy, mineral, floral, and pear, apricot, and peach fruits. Its lovely texture and balance finishes extremely smoothly, with crisp acidity. This lovely wine is made from organically-grown vines in the mountains of Potter Valley, on the east border of Mendocino county. These 30-year-old vines grow in the white, chalky soil of the McFadden Farm, tucked up against the cool hillsides of the east side of the valley—a perfect environment for this kind of grape. The other is the 2013 Zinfandel ‘Les Enfants Terribles” Heart Arrow Ranch from Mendocino County. It is one of our favorite—and most unusual—wines, from one of the most pristine biodynamic farms in Mendocino County. The Heart Arrow ranch is a completely self-contained farm ecosystem: they not only grow grapes, but they have a large vegetable and fruit-tree farm, and raise pigs, cows, lambs, and chickens which fertilize the plants. The farming creates a site- specific terroir of the vineyard, which makes this wine different in aroma, flavor, and structure; almost more like a European wine than a classic California Zinfandel. Because of the way the grapes are grown, and because of the techniques we use to make this wine—fermented with the native yeasts on the grapes; aged in older French oak barrels; unfined; and bottled with low SO2 levels—we felt that it deserved to be labeled with our other wines in the Les Enfants Terribles (the “Wild Children”) series, which are made in a more Old World style. It deep red color holds flavors of wild strawberry, black raspberry, earthy and mineral, velvety mid-palate—quite balanced with a long, complex fruit finish and round tannins.