Sunday, November 12, 2006
Thanksgiving and Wine, Part 2: Some Specific Recommendations
If you haven't already bought your wines for Thanksgiving, you're probably starting to think about it right about now. This is a great week to make some decisions and purchases, because the crowds haven't yet started to build and the shelves are still relatively well-stocked. What follows are some specific, fruit-forward, budget-friendly recommendations of wines that I think would go well with the Big Meal. (vintage image from Caaren Charles)
I've had all of these wines sometime during the past year, and kept tasting notes for them (long before I started blogging here) so I've checked to make sure that those listed are still available.
I broke the recommendations into three categories (whites, reds, and sparkling wines) and indicated a general price range so you can figure out which are best for your budget. The range is based on prices I found on Wine-Searcher. Of course, prices in your area may be different from those indicated here.
2004 Hugel et Fils Gentil ($5-$10): A very good gewurztraminer with crisp apple notes and a sweet impression. Pale straw in color, with appealing apple and floral aromas. Will be excellent with a traditional meal, or with a meal where there are spicy side-dishes.
2005 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc ($10-15): Pale, almost translucent in color, with grass, melon, and grapefuit on the palate. Not as fragrant as some sauvignon blancs, it is still more complex and interesting than most at this price point. Zingy enough to cut through the heavy foods, but not at all acidic.
2004 Voss Sauvignon Blanc ($10-$15): A nice sauvignon blanc, if a bit one dimensional, with predominantly pink grapefruit aromas and palate. This wine has a little bit of herbal freshness, so will go well with meals that use traditional spices (thyme, parsley, sage). Clean and crisp.
2004 Sollner Danubio Gruner Veltliner ($10-$15): For a full tasting note, see my earlier post.
2004 Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc ($10-$15): Pale straw color, lemony upfront then a sweet undertone that keeps it brisk and fresh. Would be particularly good with spicier sides and smoked turkey.
2003 Rutherford Hill Chardonnay ($15-$20): Pale straw color, with a very faint aroma of lemons and pears. On the palate, citrus and mineral notes with a tiny bit of butter around the edges. Crisp, clean chardonnay with no bitter or oaky flavors to cause problems with all those flavors on the table.
2004 Sineann Pinot Gris ($15-$20): Delicious. Like biting into a golden delicious apple, tart and sweet at the same time. Appley rather than lemony, it's not entirely characteristic of the varietal but it works. No bitter edges, so its easy to pair with a wide range of foods.
2002 Georges Duboeuf Fleurie ($10-$15): Extremely good beaujolais wine. Light and fruity red, with raspberries and some depth as a result of the bottle age. Most gamay wines are for drinking straight away, but this one has staying power due to the excellent vintage. Perfect for roasted turkey, dark meat turkey, mushroom dishes, and robust holiday foods.
2004 Castle Rock Pinot Noir Monterey ($10-$15): Richer and more nuanced than most pinots at this price point, this ruby wine had earthy and berry flavors and a good finish that was spicy and drew you back for more.
2005 Mark West Pinot Noir Central Coast ($10-$15): This was a juicy, fruity pinot noir. When you first open it, the aroma can be hot and alcoholic, so open it before the meal and let those aromas blow off. After 20 minutes or so, it will smell like red raspberry with a tiny bit of underlying red currant. Crushed raspberry in color, the wine's palate was silky and raspberry as well. A bit of meatiness in the finish made it linger. Not as spicy and rich as the Castle Rock described above.
2005 Pierre-Marie Chermette Beaujolais ($10-$15): For a full tasting note, see my earlier post.
NV Lazy Creek Vineyards Red Table Wine ($20): 100% pinot noir grapes, blended from a number of vintages to yield a rich and flavorful pinot noir. Loads of red fruit and a little bit of earthy funkiness in the aromas. It's a little less silky than the very best pinots, but an excellent drinking wine to go with a wide variety of foods.
NV Cavit Lunetta Prosecco ($10-$15): For a full tasting note, see my earlier post. This wine would be good with any course, from hors d'oeuvres through to dessert.
NV Santa Margherita Prosecco Brut ($15-$20): A bright, crisp prosecco. Not at all harsh or bitter, this is appley and lemony. Would be best with hors d'oeuvres or the main course. Surprisingly rich and complex for a prosecco.
NV Domaine Chandon Extra-Dry Riche ($15-$20): For a full tasting note, see my earlier post. Would be best with hors d'oeuvres, dinners that use lots of spice, and dessert as it has a definitely sweet impression on the aromas, even though it drinks dry.
NV Piper-Hiedsieck Brut ($20-$25): Light, lemony, and crisp with medium bead and a bright finish. Best with the main course, since it's a robust champagne.