Favorite

Imbibing with the Bird 

Don’t pick a turkey to drink with Thanksgiving dinner.



White zinfandel: The Beringer White Zinfandel, California, 2001, ($6) is the multipurpose wine for both the person who likes sweeter fare or doesn’t drink wine except on Thanksgiving. Its color and flavor match the cranberry sauce.



Red zinfandel: Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel’s the Dancing Bull, California, 2001, ($10) is a lighter style zin with a soft, fruitier flavor. It’s ideal for turkey or ham. The winery makes a bolder, more flavorful version with a Sonoma appellation that at $13 is worth checking out as well.



Cabernet sauvignon: Don’t forget those deadly brussels sprouts. If you must have cabernet sauvignon, then pick one that is soft in flavor. The Hogue Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, 2001, ($10) is too light for a steak but just right for the bird and all of its trappings.



Merlot: This wine is the natural Thanksgiving choice. It is so soft that it easily accommodates everything. The Cellar 8 Merlot, California, 2001, ($13) is a new winery debut worth paying attention to. It has flavor galore, charm and character. What more can you ask for? Or try something a little pricier like the Chateau St. Jean Merlot, California, 2000, ($28.50). It’s a splurge, but well worth it. This wine is a compact ball of memorable flavor.



Alsatian white wines: The winemakers of Alsace should sponsor a Thanksgiving tour featuring their wines to pair with the bird. Theirs may be the finest pairings of all, like the Hugel Gentil, 2001, Alsace, ($11). Gentil means blend on an Alsatian label. It’s usually a combination of several local grapes, the pinot gris, pinot blanc and sylvaner among others. It is dry but not harsh, lacking in oak flavor but not lacking character. The Trimbach Pinot Gris, Alsace, 2000, ($16.50) is fuller with the same Alsatian style. This is the one to drink if you’re having goose.



Chardonnay: Those rich, buttery chardonnays are great with lobster, crab cakes and shrimp, but are simply dreadful with Thanksgiving dinner. Too many conflicting flavors abound. Instead, try the Chanson Viré Clessé, Burgundy, 2001, ($12). This wine is all about the crispness and mineral flavors that wines from this region are known for. It tastes good and won’t get in the way of the food.

If you should feel like splurging this Thanksgiving, look for these two absolute gems. The Matanzas Creek Chardonnay, California, 2000, ($26) has no weighty oak flavors: Even the brussels sprouts will snap to attention. And the French oak in Chateau St. Jean’s Belle Terre Chardonnay, California, 2001, ($26) offers up a delicate sweetness that is both surprising and beautiful.



Shiraz: This is a grape that you would never in the past have thought of for Thanksgiving. Today the famed Australian wine is simply everywhere. If you haven’t had a shiraz that bowled you over, the McWilliams Hanwood Shiraz, Australia, 2001, ($10) is the place to start. The flavor of this grape (actually the syrah grape, the Aussies just spelled it wrong) is luscious. It has body that takes it out of the wimp wine category, with fruit that doesn’t intrude on dinner.



Dessert wines: Port is always good. It works especially well with pecan pie. There is both sweetness and mellowness in the flavor of the Taylor Fladgate Tawny Port ($14). It works best in small glasses because of its strength and high alcohol content. It is the perfect end to a great Thanksgiving meal. S
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

  • Re: Almost All of the Doughnuts at Sugar Shack Are Now Vegan

    • Oh yeah! I hope they spread nationwide. LOVE vegan donuts!

    • on August 10, 2017
  • Re: Almost All of the Doughnuts at Sugar Shack Are Now Vegan

    • I wonder if the location on Hugeunot Rd is on this bandwagon, too? I sure…

    • on August 9, 2017
  • Re: Drinking History: The Virginia Historical Society Throws Its First Craft Beer Festival

    • Sounds like a great event! Right up Richmond's alley. Looking forward to attending next year.

    • on August 9, 2017
  • More »
  • More by Layne Witherell

    • Bottles for Your Bird

      Bottles for Your Bird

      Wines to pair with turkey this year.
      • Nov 24, 2004
    • Reds Take Gold

      Reds Take Gold

      The Virginia wine industry runneth over at the Governor’s Cup awards.
      • Jun 16, 2004
    • The Wine-Bright Sea

      The Wine-Bright Sea

      Splashing through the wave of new wines this season.
      • Mar 24, 2004
    • More »

    Copyright © 2017 Style Weekly
    Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
    All rights reserved
    Powered by Foundation