Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Seasonal Sipping: Capturing the Flavors of Fall in a Glass

These days, autumn is basically a synonym for “pumpkin spice everything season,” but let’s not forget about the other cozy, delightful fragrances and flavors of fall. Whether you’re enjoying Thanksgiving dinner, relaxing in front of a roaring fire, or rewarding yourself after a long day of raking leaves, you don’t need to venture to Starbucks or a candle shop to get your fix of your favorite flavors. Instead, look for a bottle of wine that captures those characteristics (it will be a lot more fun!).

If you like: Autumn leaves
Try: Red Burgundy
Red Burgundy, made from Pinot Noir, will always exhibit typical notes of red fruitstrawberry, cherry, cranberry, and pomegranate, to name a few—but sometimes the wines from this renowned region will also feature a flavor that is a bit more savory, more wild, and very specific to the local terroir. This can be described as anything from autumn leaves to fresh earth to even wet dog. It may be a bit surprising at first for those who are accustomed to the bold fruit of California Pinot, but it’s definitely worth giving these beautifully complex wines a chance to grow on you.
Our Pick: 2012 Maison Pascal Clément Bourgogne Rouge

If you like: Macintosh apples
Try: Loire Valley Chenin Blanc
Apples are of the most perfect foods for fall—you can enjoy them fresh and crisp on their own, bake them into a pie, or use them to brighten up savory dishes like pork loin or sausage stuffing. Apple is also a common flavor in many wines, particularly in Chenin Blanc, which often smells and tastes like Macintosh apples dipped in honey, and can range from bone dry to lusciously sweet, and from still to sparkling.
Our Pick: 2015 Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Sec

If you like: Baking spice
Try: Oaked Chardonnay
Depending on their place of origin, oak barrels can impart various flavors to a wine during fermentation and maturation. French oak in particular is known for attributes of baking spice or “Christmas” spice. Chardonnay, a fairly adaptable variety, readily displays these characteristics when oak (especially from previously unused barrels) is utilized during winemaking.
Our Pick: 2013 Ramey Russian River Chardonnay

If you like: Caramel
Try: Tawny Port
When wine becomes oxidized, in addition to changing in color (from red to brown, in the case of Port or other red wines), it picks up an entirely new range of flavors and aromas. Tawny port is slowly oxidized through controlled aging in porous wooden barrels. This causes fruit character to pleasingly fade from fresh to dried or stewed berries, and the development of nutty and caramelized notes. These can make for delightful after-dinner wines—try them with a cheese plate or a classic apple pie.
Our Pick: Graham’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port

If you like: Cranberry
Try: Central Coast Pinot Noir
A wide range of red fruit flavors can be found in Pinot Noir from any region, but in the California’s Central Coast, where warm sunlight is tamed by cool breezes, cranberry tends to be a dominant flavor. This bold, tart flavor shows up in Pinots that are marked by moderate to full body and crisp acidity, making for a very crowd-pleasing as well as fall-friendly style.
Our Pick: 2014 Calera Central Coast Pinot Noir

If you like: Firewood
Try: Northern Rhône Syrah
Syrah from France’s Northern Rhône Valley can often be easily distinguished in a blind tasting by experienced wine professionals based on several common characteristics: purple fruits and flowers, white pepper, and smoke—sometimes with a hint of bacon fat thrown into the mix! These wines are bold, warming, and aromatically pleasing—and absolutely perfect for enjoying in front of a fireplace while wearing your coziest socks.
Our Pick: 2013 Jean-Louis Chave St. Joseph Offerus

Thanksgiving Wine Picks

Think it’s impossible to pair wine with all of those turkey day flavors? Believe it or not, it actually is quite possible. Pairing wine with all of the variety can be tricky but there are certain wines that pair well with all of your wonderful, traditional turkey holiday dishes. After all, the Thanksgiving table is filled with a variety of foods, differing in flavor and texture. All of your family’s favorite dishes are delicious and deserve some fabulous wine alongside. These wine picks will be sure to enhance your traditional Thanksgiving meal this holiday season.

Toast the holiday

Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for what we have in our lives. Why not celebrate what we are thankful for with bubbles! Sip in class with Bollinger Brut Special Cuvee or for a little less money, try the Charles Lafitte Brut Prestige, excellent bubbles from France that won’t break the bank.

Classic Pairings

Riesling and Beaujolais wines are classic matches to pair with traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Not only is Riesling a good match for the flavors of turkey day dishes because of the acidity, most Riesling wines are low in alcohol, making it a smart wine to drink if you tend to eat your Thanksgiving meal earlier in the day. After all, you want to stay awake for your turkey sandwich at the end of the day while you watch football! Try the 2011 Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica Riesling from the Columbia Valley in Washington state or the 2011 Clean Slate Riesling from the Mosel region in Germany.

Beaujolais wine, which is a light red wine from France, has nice fruit structure and good acidity, making it a classic red wine match for your holiday meal. Try the 2010 Duboeuf Moulin-a-Vent Domaine des Rosiers or the 2010 Duboeuf Fleurie Domaine des Quatre Vents. Both are classic Beaujolais wines, crushed red berries, excellent acidity and have a great finish.

All American

If you want to stay with the red, white and blue this Thanksgiving, Zinfandel is the way to go. There are two styles of Zinfandel and you could go either way for your turkey dinner. Choose either a jammy and luscious Zinfandel or a spicy and structured one depending on your taste.

If you prefer a jammy and luscious Zinfandel try the 2009 Murphy-Goode Liars Dice Zinfandel. If your palate leads you towards the earthy, spicy and structured Zinfandels, try the 2008 Sebastiani Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel.

We recommend two other fabulous wines to try if you want to keep it “All American”. The 2011 Angeline Reserve Pinot Noir ; it’s smooth and supple with ripe flavors of cranberry and dried red cherries with a light finish and the 2010 Montinore Pinot Gris from Oregon, which has wonderful stone fruit aromas and a hint of minerality. It is nicely balanced, fruity, smooth and has excellent acidity.

Classy and Versatile

If you want a delicious, classic wine with your Thanksgiving dinner to celebrate in class and style, go with white and red Burgundy. Both will pair beautifully with the variety of dishes on your table.

Keep it classy and stylish with the 2010 Joseph Drouhin Clos des Mouches Premier Cru Blanc white burgundy. It’s fruity, smooth with rich texture and structure. For a red Burgundy, try the 2009 Joseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin. It’s smooth, supple and is a beautiful bouquet of aromatic floral notes and red fruits.

For more turkey day wine suggestions, check out our Thanksgiving Wine Guide for ideas. Do you have a favorite match? Share with us!


The season for Beaujolais

‘Tis the season for Beaujolais! Not just the recognized Beaujolais Nouveau that appears on store shelves the third week of November and is gone from said shelves (or should be) three months later. Though this fresh and fruity version of Beaujolais  has its place in the wine world, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and it does not represent the majority of Beaujolais.

The region of Beaujolais is situated in the southern part of the Burgundy appellation in France. Surprising, since Beaujolais differs from Burgundy in many ways, including soil type, climate and grape variety.

The primary grape of Beaujolais is Gamay Noir, a very light-skinned grape that produces wines of light body, fresh fruit, great acidity and low tannins. The grape grows on granite and schist soils of the area and the climate is classified as semi-continental – more similar to their southern neighbor, the Rhone Valley, than the rest of Burgundy to the north.

beaujolaisMost (over half) the wine of Beaujolais is sold under the basic Beaujolais appellation. This style of wine is quaffable, juicy stuff with low alcohol and pretty much zero tannin. The next level of wine is Beaujolais-Villages, made with grapes from higher quality vineyards. Finally, you have the Beaujolais Crus, the 10 regions of the area that make the top-notch Beaujolais. There is white wine made here, though the percentage is small and it can be hard to find, but worth a try if you do.

Beaujolais Cru is why I love Beaujolais. Wine from these 10 communes contain that juicy fruit I love about Gamay, but with some extra depth – the palate has great acidity and low tannins typical of Beaujolais, but with a slight richness that distinguish Beaujolais Crus from other Beaujolais. Best part, these wines come in under the $20 mark (most of the time). The 10 crus are: Morgon, St-Amour, Julienas, Chenas, Mounlin-A-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Brouilly, Cote de Brouilly and Regnie.

So give Beaujolais Crus a try – it’s known as a classic for the Thanksgiving table, and I have tasted it recently with a spicy pasta dish that was a fantastic match. It’s also great with a burger or pizza. However, we did discover that it tastes metallic when paired with carrot cake, so do avoid that pairing!