‘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?
Have you ever been surprised when a glass of wine you ordered was much different than you expected? A single varietal can express many different characteristics depending largely upon where it was grown.
Although this difference can sometimes be affected by cellar manipulation, usually it’s a matter of what wine people call “terroir”.
Terrior is defined as “the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate. The characteristic taste and flavor imparted to a wine by the environment in which it is produced.”
Have you ever compared your favorite varietals from different locations? What words come to mind when you see “Chardonnay”? “Oakey” and “buttery” are overwhelmingly used to describe this versatile grape. However, they’re the last words that come to mind when I taste a crisp Chardonnay from Chablis, France!
If you’re interested in learning more about how terroir affects your favorite wines, check out my next event, “Vino vs. Vino”. We’ll be blind tasting 4 wines from California and France and discussing some of the major differences in these esteemed wine producing regions.
When did a wine last surprise you?
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!
“You don’t have to like it, but you do have to try it.”
When we were kids, this rule was meant to encourage picky eaters to try new foods. But this lesson applies to wine drinkers, too.
People frequently ask me how to discover new wines, and my answer is simple: “taste them!”
One great- and FREE- way to find a new favorite is at your neighborhood wine store. Most in the DC area offer free tastings on Fridays and Saturdays. Just ask when the next one is the next time you stop by for that tried and true!
Not only are these tastings fun, they’re a quick, no-pressure way to taste several different wines for free. Wine experts offer samples along with a quick tutorial on what you’re tasting. You may not like everything you try, but you just may walk away with a new favorite!
What new to you wines have you recently tried and loved?