‘Tis the Season
Me with my “cooking” wine last year. This wine was both delicious to sip, and also thinned the gravy quite nicely!
Although Thanksgiving is 2 weeks off, I thought I’d throw in my two cents on what to drink for the occasion.
Thanksgiving food is abundant, rich, and has an array of flavor profiles. Throw in the inevitable array of personalities around most Thanksgiving dinner tables and you definitely don’t want to forget the vino- for therapeutic purposes, naturally!
No one wine is going to pair perfectly with everything on your plate with such a variety of flavors, but there are a few simple guidelines to making your selections complement your meal!
1. Drink what you like. If you prefer red, drink red. White drinkers, drink white! Pick a medium to full bodied white, or a light to medium bodied red and your wine will go just fine with the meal.
2. Pick a wine that is relatively high in acidity. They can be dry, off dry, sweet, or even sparkling. An acidic wine is one that makes your mouth water (as opposed to dry out) when you drink it! This is key to cutting through the richness of the meal.
3. Pick wines that “play well with others”. With so many competing flavors on your plate, you don’t need wine fighting the turkey & gravy (or your crazy Aunt/sister/in-law) fighting for center stage! Save the bold Bordeaux for another occasion.
With these guidelines in mind, here are a few of my favorite Thanksgiving wine pairings, all for under $25 and available in the DC area!
- Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc
- Breaux Vineyards Viogner
- Clean Slate Riesling
- Domaine de Varoux White Burgandy
- Ducasse White Bordeaux
- Meiomi Pinot Noir
- Tres Picos Garnacha
- Pratesi Locorosso Sangiovese
- Kermit Lynch Cotes du Rhones
- Cerro Anon Reserva Tempranillo
When in doubt, pair with Champagne or another sparkling wine. It’s easily one of the most food friendly wines out there! I particularly love Champalou, a sparkling wine made from Chenin Blanc!
What are some of your favorite holiday wines? Anyone have any “weird” Thanksgiving dishes or traditions they can’t live without?
I’m excited to announce an expansion of services Bon Vivant will be offering to DC area clients! We’re in close proximity to a number of Virginia wineries and vineyards, and I look forward to offering wine country concierge services.
With so many options to choose from, I’ve spent quite a bit of time recently touring Virginia wine country- sussing out the good, the bad and the ugly for myself!
One of the things that’s become increasingly apparent is that not all Virginia wine (and wineries) are created equal! There are a number of quality vineyards that offer guests varying experiences.
The good news is, there is a vineyard out there to meet almost anything you’re looking for in an excursion- whether it’s scenery, world class wines, large group tours, behind the scenes experiences, exclusive wine pairing dinners in elegant settings, bachelorette excursions, as well as intimate and serene getaways (see my recent post on Linden Vineyards!).
With so many options to choose from, I aim to offer my clients highly tailored wine concierge services, custom designed for each client to show you some of the very best of what Virgina Wine Country has to offer- no matter what it is you’re looking for in your excursion!
Checking out the Cab Franc at Breaux Vineyards during Harvest! 2013 is looking like a promising vintage!
What do you look for when visiting vineyards?
Because sometimes 2 hours in the fridge is just too long!
We’ve all made the mistake of putting a bottle in the freezer to chill only to forget about it, but did you know there’s actually a quicker way to chill a bottle down?
Since water is a better temperature conductor than air, it’s actually quickest to cool down a room temperature bottle in an ice bath. I usually use about 1/3 ice to 2/3 water for my ice baths.
The addition of salt (which lowers the freezing point of water) speeds up the process even more! To really maximize the chilling effect, twist the bottle of wine around in the ice bath every so often.
This trick will take your bottle from room temperature to drinking temperature – about 45 to 50 °F- in about 15 minutes!
Have you ever let a bottle sit for too long in the freezer?
I know I have before using this method…although there are worse things in this world than champagne slushies!
Head on over to DC Wine Week for a Bon Vivant guest post where I share some of my favorite tips on how to achieve an elegant night in, following these 3 simple rules:
1. Keep it Focused!
2. Keep it Simple!
3. Keep it Fun!
What are some of your favorite party planning tips?
A Cal-Italian with a Rich Family History of Winemaking
I recently attended a “Meet the Winemaker” event at Veritas Wine Bar. It was wonderful to taste so many new wines, but it was even more interesting to hear the stories behind the bottle.
Mario Monticelli is the winemaker at Trinchero, a winery located in California’s Napa Valley.
Chatting with Monticelli over a glass of the well-balanced and easy drinking Chicken Ranch Merlot, he told me an incredible history of wine in his family.
His great grandfather immigrated from Italy, importing wine into America before later returning to Italy during prohibition. 2 generations later, Monticelli’s father came to the States from Italy as a child.
Monticelli told me of growing up drinking wine around the dinner table, a glass of water with just a splash of wine mixed in as a young child, progressively graduating to proper glasses of the family grown wine.
Trinchero produces around 12,000 cases of wine a year, including five single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons. Monticelli described these single vineyard productions as a “Cabernet for every occasion.” Some skew decidedly old world in style- a nod to the Old Country with subtle and earthy notes. Others exhibit the big, bold, juicier characteristics one would expect from a Napa Cab.
When asked his favorite wine, Monticelli hesitated. He’s obviously proud of his single vineyard productions, as he should be, but described the Meritage as his “desert island” wine. One of the most versatile wines in the Trinchero portfolio, the Meritage is intensely approachable. “You can pair it with anything you like: salmon, steak, chips…”
Tasters at the event agreed, “I would definitely take this to a dinner party if I didn’t know what was being served- it’s easy drinking and hard not to like!”
Visit the Trinchero website for even more family history, photos, and information about their wines.
What would your “desert island” wine be?