Thanksgiving – A Perfect Time To Try New Wines

Wine suggestions to accompany your Thanksgiving Feast.


By Lou Marmon


Gazette Newspapers  November 26, 2014


Kaiken ultra malbecWhile Thanksgiving is a time for celebrating family and friends, it is also an opportunity to try some unfamiliar wines. The classic meal of turkey, stuffing and various side-dishes provide a broad palate of flavors, textures and aromas as a starting point for selecting accompanying wines. As with any complex meal, look for wines that have good fruit flavors, refreshing acidity for balance and are not too tannic or oaky.
Young wines seem to work best for Turkey-day since the subtle flavors that develop in a wine properly cellared can be easily overpowered by the big flavors inherent in the typical holiday fare.   The half-hour rule applies; remove the white wines from the refrigerator and refrigerate the red ones 30 minutes before serving and don’t feel the need to wash out the stemware between courses since the newly poured red wines will not be noticeably changed by a few leftover drops remaining in the bottom of the glass.
For the beginning of the meal consider a white wine from a small, family owned property in France’s Bordeaux appellation, the surprisingly affordable Chateau de Bonhoste Sec 2013 ($12). A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle it displays vibrant citrus and floral aromas with grapefruit, peach and red apple flavors and refreshing acidity making it ideal as an aperitif or to accompany creamy soups. Also good with starters is another wine from the same region, the Château La Rame 2013 ($16), a rounder version of Sauvignon Blanc than typically produced in other areas. It shows apple, apricot and stone fruit flavors with hints of spice and bright grapefruit acidity.
A classic “summer  wine “ that would still work during the fall food festivities is the Nortico Alvarinho 2013 ($15) that has citrus and tropical fruit aromas which lead into crisp lemon, lime and peach accented with minerals and a palate cleaning finish. Moving further into the meal think about serving the Attems Pinot Grigio Ramato 2013 ($18) whose name (translated as “coppery”) is the term used for the wine during the late 7th century in the Republic of Venice. Its orange hue is created by allowing the skins to remain in contact with the juice for 24 hours and the resulting wine is fuller and more substantial than other Pinot Grigios with honeyed floral and strawberry scents along with passion fruit, orange zest, stone fruit and lychee flavors. Or try the Terras Gauda O’Rosal Albarino 2013 ($24) that includes some Loureira and Caino Blanco as well giving it herbal peach, beeswax and tangerine aromas that flow nicely into complex mineral accented peach, pear and grapefruit notes with a lengthy finish.
From the Tuscan region of Montalcino is a silky-smooth blend of Sangiovese and Merlot, the Luce della Vite Lucente 2011 ($23). A collaboration between the renown wineries of Robert Mondavi and Vittorio Frescobaldi it has vibrant red fruit flavors including berries and cherries combined with coffee, coconut and a pleasing earthiness with good balance and a long finish which together make it delightfully food friendly.  For those who prefer their reds with a bit more heft, open the Kaiken Malbec Ultra 2011 ($22) a black cherry and tobacco scented, complex and full-bodied effort from a property in Mendoza Argentina owned by the outstanding Chilean winery Vina Montes. Named for the wild geese that fly over the mountains separating the two countries, it begins with scents of violets, raspberries and candied cherries that flow effortlessly into balanced, spicy plum, cassis and blackberry flavors with hints of smoked meat, tobacco and oak. Open this an hour or so before serving or cellar it for a future family gathering.

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