Friday, November 21, 2008

Gobble & Glug

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 10:31 PM

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With just 5 shopping days until Thanksgiving it is time to think about wine.


The first rule - the only rule, really - is, "Don't stress about it."  It is sort of like a wedding - you expend a tremendous amount of energy thinking about exactly which water glasses to use and whether your sister walks before your cousin or after and whether your 3-year-old nephew should wear a white rose or a blue carnation in his lapel  and the bottom line is:  It just doesn't matter.  No one remembers the glasses, the order of bridesmaids or the ring bearer.  People remember whether you had fun, whether they had fun and whether Uncle Bernie hit on your college roomate (again!).


Keep the same thing in mind for Thanksgiving.  Family holidays are....well, they are not exactly what Hallmark would lead you to believe.  They are high-stress, high-travel, high-expense gatherings.   If you are fortunate enough to be the one hosting Thanksgiving you have to clean, cook and manage expectations. You want a beautifully set table, perfectly prepared food and a fun and relaxing day.  When it comes to wine, just do not stress yourself out by trying to find the absolute best wine possible to match with dinner.   It's a crapshoot anyway.  Who knows what Cousin Gerty is going to bring this year.  Last year it was that fluffy green pudding.


Here is a list of a few wines that will go well with Thanksgiving this year.  They are all accessible and reasonably priced and will make you a very happy host or guest.



Gruet NV Brut ($13-$18).  Nice sparkling wine with tons of tiny bubbles.  Yeasty, nutty aromas with the same plus berries on the palate.  Really nice sparkling wine for under $20.  Great way to kick off the meal...and get everyone out of the kitchen.



L'Ecole No. 41 Semillion ($14-#18) (a white wine) which has amazing aromas of toasted bread, pear, and butterscotch and very similar flavors.  It will match really well with River Road Recipes side dishes and smoked ham or turkey.  L'Ecole No. 41 also makes a FANTASTIC merlot that is trickier to find and runs about $40.


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Sokol Blosser Evolution ($11-$15)

Ever changing blend of 9 white grape this is a smooth slightly sweet white wine.  Excellent with Asian cuisine but can stand up to heavy gravy, Spinach Madeline and your grandmother's pork roast.


Clos du Bois Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California ($10-$13)

This is a simple and good California Chardonnay with lots of aromas of apple, pear and a bit of citrus.  The palate has toast, spice and butter with rich apple flavors.  It is a smooth, creamy wine with a long finish.



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Adelsheim Pinot Noir ($28-45)

Oregon Pinot Noir with black cherries, raspberries and strawberries on the nose.  The palate is spicy and silky with lots of fresh fruit (typical of Oregon Pinot Noir).  It has a long and lively finish that makes it refreshing and enjoyable over a looooong Thanksgiving dinner.



Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 ($45-$50)

The less expensive cousin of Chateau Montelena Estate which runs about $100 more expensive than this bottle Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Cabernet is an outstanding value though it is expensive.  It is dark black ruby colored and has aromas of berries, oak, licorice and chocolate.  The palate is smooth and full-bodied with lots of berries and spice. Again, this is expensive but it is REALLY good.



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Beaulieu - BV Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 from Napa Valley CA ($15-$17)

Approachable Cabernet Sauvignon with a dark ruby-black color.  Aromas of dark chocolate,  black cherries, cassis.  This wine is medium to full bodied but has berries and fresh jam and well balanced tannins.  This is a great Cabernet for the price and will pair well with meats especially game or lamb.



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Matanzas Creek Merlot - Sonoma County, CA ($25-$35)

15 years ago Matanzas Creek was really expensive and difficult to find.  Not so much anymore.   The downside then is that old wine snobs will turn their snobby noses up at it.  The upside is that you have years and years of experience behind creating a really good and well balanced merlot.  This wine is rich garnet red with an herbaceous, cherry nose.  The palate is full of clove and pepper and has well balanced tannins.


Red Truck Winery, Red Truck 2006 from California ($8-$10)

This is a blend of red grapes (Syrah, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc, Malbec) that is spicy and jammy and is a well priced and  full bodied inexpensive red wine.




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