Thanksgiving Wine - Printable Version

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- joz - 10-22-1999 11:16 PM

Hi, I know absolutely nothing about wine. I am visiting my daughter in November and we are going to her friend's home for Thanksgiving Dinner. The only thing I know about these friends is they are really "into wine". What would be a good wine to take as a gift and can be served with a huge turkey dinner? Thanks

- Randy Caparoso - 10-22-1999 11:28 PM

Bring two wines: A huge, smoky-oaked Chardonnay (goes great with roasted, stuffed turkey), and huge, yet round, opulently flavorful Merlot (a crowd pleaser for red wine connoisseurs). Check with your local wine specialist retailer for recommendations in your price range (anywhere from $20 to $50 for the wines I suggest).

- Jerry D Mead - 10-23-1999 03:44 PM

Randy gave you good advice except I don't think you have to spend quite that much...and would add the ever versatile Pinot Noir for that turkey.

Many people think white wine for the bird, but most serious wine drinkers I know lean toward red (especially those of us who like the dark meat).

- joz - 10-23-1999 06:36 PM

Thank you both very much. These three wines will give me a place to start. I don't think I want to spend as much as Randy suggested, so will probably go with the Pinot Noir.

- Randy Caparoso - 10-23-1999 07:26 PM

Geez, Curmudgeon, now my feelings are all hurt. But not about being mistaken for being non-serious.

Your Pinot Noir suggestion is indeed a great idea. As you probably remember, I drink Pinot Noir with everything. So for between $10 and $14, I can personally recommend the fine and easy Mirassou and Napa Ridge; and for $15-$18, the Robert Mondavi "Coastal" Pinot Noir is a soft, delicate yet fragrantly spiced value.

But what Curmudgeon fails to mention, joz, is the fact that like superpremium Merlots and Chardonnays, the top rate Pinot Noirs actually start at about $25, and easily climb into the $30, $40, $50 plus range. I simply made the mistake of assuming that you were thinking "big" -- especially since you said that your friends are really "into" wine (insinuating that you needed to impress them).

Which is to also say that perfectly delicious Merlot and Chardonnay can certainly be found for below $20. Among California grown Chardonnays, for instance, the Fetzer "Reserve" ($13-$15), Gallo "Stefani" ($14-$16), Heron ($12-$14), and Eos "Astaeus" ($14-$16) are all perfectly serious, round, juicy, smoky edged styles that will go great with bread and sage stuffed turkey. At the lowest range, the Lindemans "Bin 65" ($9-$12) and Rosemount Chardonnay/Semillon ($7-$9) from Australia, as well as the Veramonte Chardonnay ($7-$9) from Chile, are all every bit as good as California bottlings going for twice the price.

Insofar as Merlot, some of my favorites are the Falesco ($10-$12) and Stella ($8-$10) from Italy, the Heron ($10-$14) and Vichon ($9-$11) from France, and the Voss ($18-$20) as well as the Monterra "Monterey Promise" ($12-$14) from California are all extraordinarily lush, smooth, and yes, turkey-friendly examples.

That will be 5 cents, please.

[This message has been edited by Randy Caparoso (edited 10-23-99).]

- joz - 10-23-1999 08:53 PM

Wow, for that answer I'll give you a whole quarter, LOL. Thanks. I really don't even know these people I will be visiting for Thanksgiving. They are my daughter's friends. Rather than try to impress, I would just like to have some good wine to drink with dinner. I don't know one from another, and you have given me some very good choices. Thank you very much. I really appreciate the information. I will let you know what I pick and if we enjoyed it.

- Jason - 10-25-1999 02:33 AM

If one were trying to buy for some cork dorks on Turkey Day, I feel that Gewurztraminer should really be on the list. Add that to the Pinot and you're in good shape.
Extra credit would be Rose Champagne as an apertif.

- Tabby - 10-25-1999 04:37 AM

I second the Gewurztraminer. And how about a juicy Beaujolais - always a favourite of mine with turkey.

- Thomas - 10-25-1999 06:34 AM

If you do not know the people, Beaujolais and Gewurztraminer are the ones:

The first will likely have no problems pleasing most people, and at a reasonable price; the second will wow a few people (but not all) and it will show what that wine and slightly gamey meat can do together.

- anna - 10-25-1999 08:01 AM

Any specific recommendations for the Gewurtz? That sounds *really* intriguing (and yummy!). Does the gewurtz have to be of the bone dry variety or would an off-dry (like Fetzer) work?

- Thomas - 10-25-1999 01:09 PM

Good question, and my answer is bound to be subjective because I dislike so-called off dry Gewurztraminer (Fetzer's is sweet to me). I like dry, bold Gewurztraminer with my turkey, with intense varietal character and high alcohol to make up for high ph and low acid. Alsatian gets my vote, but if you happen to be close to NYState or can get your hands on a dry Gewurztraminer produced by Prejean Winery or Vinifera Wine Cellars (both Finger Lakes) go for it--good wines and at better prices than good Alsatian stuff.

While we are at it, Pinot Gris or Pinot Blanc can also match turkey, provided they are made in an Alsatian style, and let us not forget that a good Rose D'Anjou is even a candidate.

- Jerry D Mead - 10-25-1999 11:52 PM

You guys are really weird...I'd rather have Randy's oaky Chardonnay with turkey than Gewurztraminer...

- Tabby - 10-26-1999 04:40 AM

Ah, no, Curm, 'tis you who are the weird one. [img][/img] I never pass up the chance to open a bottle of Gewurztraminer...

- Thomas - 10-26-1999 07:48 AM

Hey Curm, I didn't even bother to comment on the oaky Chardonnay--talk about weird...

Try Gewurztarminer with dark meat, which of course is the only part of the turkey I even consider eating. I am not much of a fan of the big bird anyway.

I once again persuaded my family to let me do the Thanksgiving cooking and they have accepted the idea, plus the sweetbread dinner I have planned. Last year I served them Osso Buco. Such a miscreant am I.

- Scoop - 10-26-1999 03:01 PM

For the past several Thanksgiving dinners, Zinfandel has been my main choice -- to very good effect with the wide range of dishes (and flavors) assembled (like Deloach's 1994 Gambogi Ranch, Topolos'Rossi Ranch, St. Francis, Ridge Lytton Spring). You wouldn't want to go for one of those "California Ports", but there are plenty of approachable and reasonably priced Zins out there that would be a wonderful companion to the feast. Rabbit Ridge, Burgess, Rosenblum and Rancho Zabaco are some consistent producers of affordable, tasty Zins.

Hey, more than any other variety, Zinfandel, despite its murky Adriatic origins,is considered an American grape, something very appropriate for this quintessentially American holiday!

But if patriotism (or red wine )doesn't do it for you, go with the Gewurtztraminer (the Lucien Albrecht 1998, Alsace, is dry, classic, nicely balanced and about $11)!



- Jerry D Mead - 10-26-1999 10:03 PM

Not to muddy the waters...but dry roses go pretty good with the old bird and all the strange fixings we put on the table...I mean,cranberry relish and candied yams are not the easiest foods to match with one wine...or any wine for that matter.

- Bucko - 10-26-1999 10:11 PM

Dang, the Curmudgeon actually comes up with something worthwhile on occasion! [img][/img] Rose wines go very well with Thanksgiving and do not get their just due.

Here are some of my notes for recent Roses. Give them a try, you won't be disappointed:

1998 Iron Horse, Rosato, Sonoma County, $14, 377 cases. 62% Pinot Noir, 38% Sangiovese. BF in 5 & 6 year old barrels, no MLF. Clean, crisp, refreshing, with hints of strawberries and cherries. Great summer drink out on the deck with burgers.

1998 King Estate, Vin Gris, Oregon, $10, 400 cases. 100% Pinot Noir, all stainless steel, no MLF. A perfect summer wine for the deck. Melon and cherry flavors, soft tannins and crisp acidity predominate. Refreshing.

1998 Preston, Vin Gris, Dry Creek Valley, $9, 517 cases. This is a blend of 69% Cinsault, 28% Mourvedre and 3% Grenache. A tasty, ripe rose with strawberry flavors and just a hint of pepper. A nice summer sipper.

1998 Gabrielli Sangiovese Rosato, Redwood Valley, $14, 500 cases. A lovely rose with cherry and strawberry fruit that is perfect for a picnic or enjoying on the deck this summer.

1998 Preston Gamay Beaujolais Rose, Columbia Valley, $10. Another fine Rose to enjoy on the deck with that BBQ hamburger. Slightly sweet, with lovely strawberry fruit and nice acidity.

1998 Simi Rose of Cabernet Sauvignon, California, $10. Worth the hunt to find this refreshing wine. Lots of strawberries and cranberries, with just a hint of sweetness. A great summer sipper.

- Thomas - 10-27-1999 06:53 AM

Not to blow my own horn, but I did mention Rose D'Anjou a few posts back. Guess you missed it amidst my mad Gewurztraminer and sweetbread comments.

- Randy Caparoso - 10-27-1999 08:29 PM

Now that we've thrown a dizzying array at poor joz, please allow me to attempt to sort things out by food preparation, based upon my own vast experience:

Turkey with buttery bread/sage stuffing: Chardonnay (especially if turkey is roasted in smoker -- woodsmoke and sage connect with smoky oak and sage-like fruit of Chardonnay)

Turkey with sausage stuffing (especially with fennel, paprika and other spices in pork sausage): Gewurztraminer (dry or off-dry) or German Riesling (the crisply acidic quality of Riesling cuts through fatty pork, and Gewurztraminer's lychee-like fruitiness mingles nicely with mild sausage spices)

Turkey with mixed mushroom stuffing: Chardonnay again, or Pinot Noir (both varietals like earthy flavors)

Turkey stuffed with raisined fruits (or chopped apples), nuts and bread: Beaujolais, soft Pinot Noir, or dry or slightly sweet rose (fruity on fruity flavors)

Turkey with fresh fruit (plums, stone fruits in general, etc.) stuffing: Juicy, jammy red Zinfandel, watermelony, off-dry White Zinfandel, or Grand Cru Beaujolais (especially those with the broad, lush, floral, black and red fruit flavors like those of Chiroubles, Regnie, Fleurie, and Saint Amour).

Turkey with Chinese seasoned stuffing (star anise, ginger, lup cheong sausages, etc.): Riesling (acidic fruit cuts through fat and amplifies seasonings), tropical fruit style Chardonnay (especially Western Australian), or sandalwoody/pepper/clove-like spiced, softer styles of Syrah (like Qupe "Central Coast" or Fess Parker from California, Carchelo from Spain, or St. Joseph from France)

Turkey with oyster/bread crumb stuffing (or "Rockefellered" with spinach, cream and/or bacon): Lighter, crisper styles of Chardonnay (like those of Santa Barbara or Oregon, and Macon or Chablis from France -- but not fatter styles from Southeast Australia, Sonoma or Napa Valley)

Cajun style deep fried turkey: German Riesling, or Pinot Gris from Germany or Oregon (need crisply acidic edges to cut through all that oil)

Does this make more sense?

[This message has been edited by Randy Caparoso (edited 10-27-99).]

- joz - 10-27-1999 09:22 PM

Hi all! Thanks so much for all the advice. It was a nice thread going. I think even after I have read everything I am going with the Pinot Noir. I saw it mentioned several times and I can spell it [img][/img]

I also liked the description of the Preston Gamay Geaujolais Rose, Columbia Valley (hope this was all one wine, cause this is the way I wrote it down) as far as the strawberry and fruit flavor. That apealed to me, being a novice wine drinker as well as wine buyer. Back in my day Blue Nun and Riuniti were all the craze. A child of the 60's and a Mother of the 70's. It is time to grow up, huh? [img][/img]
Thanks again and you all have a Happy Halloween and Happy Turkey Day.