Fool-Proof Thanksgiving Wine

Never is a wine choice more important than when you are bringing it to Thanksgiving Dinner with new people, like future In-Laws or even new friends & co-workers. Or worse, serving a wine at your first try at cooking Thanksgiving for your In-Laws. It’s like you’re on stage screaming, ‘Please judge me on the bottle of wine I brought.”  Or, maybe you’ve just struggled over the years with finding wines that are just ok with turkey – and now you’re ready for something better.

That’s why people Google wine reviews and that’s why I’ve been drinking my way through the wine department one bottle at a time. Just for you. Your welcome.

So, based on all the information on the internet, I can deduce that ALOT of people have trouble pairing wine with Thanksgiving dinner. I weeded through all the information available on the subject so you don’t have to, here is the simplified info that’ll help you get compliments on your wine choice this year:

 

What Wine Goes With Turkey?

Courtesy: Thumbs Up Wine Food Pairing

To help ease the stress of the holiday, here are some recommendations for wines that will make you the toast of the table:

22222 chard

2012 Canoe Ridge Reserve Chardonnay – Oaky – $7.99 ($24.99 elsewhere)

2013 Michel Schlumberger Chardonnay – UnOaked – $4.99 ($16.99 elsewhere)

  • Chardonnay is always a safe bet. A fuller-bodied wine will stand up nicely to the rich dishes on your dining room table. A great California Chardonnay with a bit of toasty oak in it definitely fits the bill with its round mouthfeel and slight creaminess, which just begs for some buttery mashed potatoes and gravy. If you’re not a die-hard fan and usually dislike Chardonnay, go for one that’s un-oaked, which will allow more bright, appley and citrusy fruit to shine through while the grape’s full body will still satisfy. ~source

22222 blends

Rocks! Stepping Stone North Coast Blends

2012 Red Blend – $3.99 ($14.99 elsewhere)

2013 White Blend – $3.99 ($17.99 elsewhere)

  • Blended Reds – These are blended to take the best qualities of different grapes and make them compatible with a variety of foods. You will generally find Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel and Shiraz in the blend. ~source
  • White Blends – These often pair well with a number of dishes, and can please those who like both sweet and dry wines. ~source

22222 pinot

2013 Bay Leaf Pinot Noir -California – $5.99 ($18.99 elsewhere)

2013 Passages Pinot Noir -California – $5.99 ($19.99 elsewhere)

  • Pinot Noir – The Go-To red wine for the perfectly roasted turkey. Pinot Noir is the darling choice for poultry as a light red wine. Since the US just had 2 awesome vintages in a row (2012–2013), you’ll luck out on value Pinot Noir this year. ~source

22222 rhone

2012 Abbeycourt Cotes-Du-Rhone Reserve – France – $5.99 ($13.99 elsewhere)

  • Rhone – If you’re having smoked turkey, choose this bolder red. The smoked turkey flavors are rich and somewhat sweet. You’ll need a stronger wine to hold up to it. The combination of 3 varieties, –Grenache, Syrah and Mourvédre,– make up the blend. Because of the mishmash of varieties, you’ll taste both red and black fruit flavors and find a range of medium to full-bodied flavor. These wines are a perfect match for a rich piece of meat because of their complexity. And yet, they are still light enough for poultry. ~source

22222 zin

2011 Gusher Zinfandel – Lodi – $3.99 ($12.99 elsewhere)

2013 Cline Zinfandel – California – $3.99 ($9.99 elsewhere)

  • Zinfandel – This is the classic turkey pairing wine for 2 reasons: for one, it’s a variety with a long history in America and two, the flavors of raspberry and sweet tobacco are an ideal match for rich darker or smoked turkey meat. It also will do great alongside a honeybaked ham. Zinfandel tends to be much more fruit-forward which is why is does well with sweet meat. The best Zinfandels generally hail from these 5 regions: Sonoma, Napa, Lodi, Santa Barbara and the Sierra Foothills. ~source

22222 sangi

2010 Gergenti Sangiovese – Sicily, Italy – $9.99 ($14.99 elsewhere)

  • Sangiovese – Love bone-dry savory wines? From Tuscany and Umbria, Sangiovese-based wines have notes of tomato, cherry and leather along with an earthy note of terra-cotta. Expect tingling acidity and moderately high tannin that will compliment homemade gravy like a dream. The original Sangiovese wines were very rarely aged in oak which means they’ll be anything but a vanilla bomb. In short, they are a savory wine lover’s dream. The 2010 vintage was awesome for Sangiovese. ~ source

Five Ways to Spot a Good Wine

Everything you need to know to find that perfect bottle

by Tina Benitez

Here’s a shocker: Good wine is neither expensive, nor old. So how do you know what makes for a good bottle of vino? Well, for starters, it’s deep, complex and stays with you long after you’ve tasted it. You’re saying, “but there are so many. How do I choose?” The general tasting rules of swirl, sniff and sip are a start, but there’s more to learn when determining if a wine is worthy of your taste buds and cash. We went to the experts to find out exactly what to look for.

Check Out the Backside

First appearance isn’t everything. Front labels can be enticing, but check out the full package before you purchase. Read back labels for more information about a wine. Sometimes there are some clues about the wine like fruits, flavors, the aging process, importers and region. Keep an eye out for any stamps of approval like awards or reviews—all signs of a good wine. Go ahead and ask for recommendations. Don’t be shy! “Ask the wine steward or a friend for a recommendation to help make your selection,” says Peter Click, president and founder of The Click Wine Group (Fat Bastard Wines). “If you’re on a date, chances are the woman across the table will appreciate your humility, vulnerability and security to ask for help from a trusted expert.”

Scent of Attraction

Swirl and sniff. Here’s where two rules of tasting 101 come into play. Does it have nice legs? You know those slender lines of liquid that slowly drip down the sides of the glass. Legs mean little when it comes to a good wine, but it can clue you in on its alcohol content. Sniff. What do you smell? Honey? Peppers? Apple? Oak? Chances are, the more you smell, the better the wine may taste. “Juicy impressions of three types of fruit or aromas of three things (that you like) the nose knows,” says wine industry veteran Tim McDonald. “I am a big believer of sniffing and swirling; the taste is confirming what you sense. Good [wine] is the combo of all of it, the sum of the parts. If you think it’s bad, it probably is.”

Use Your Tongue

Sound sexy? Well it is, but focus. Once you’ve swirled and sniffed your way around the glass, go in for the sip. Let the liquid move around your tongue. Do you taste dark cherries, grapefruit? Use your taste buds to figure out how many different flavors you can pick up on. Hint: as long as it’s in balance and isn’t putrid-smelling, the more you can taste the more complex the wine. When all of the flavors stay on your tongue for some time, even better! “If the wine’s fruit flavors (think plums, blackberry, cherry, raspberry, citrus, melon, peach) dance across your tongue and the finish lingers you know you’ve got a complex and balanced wine,” says Click.

Get its Digits

Is that a 2005 Bordeaux? Good vintage. If you do some homework and know your years and some favorite regions, you’ll know if climate and weather conditions produced a perfectly ripe harvest—and good wines. Extreme heat or cold or too much rain can take a toll on the quality of some grapes. Do some research before you buy, particularly if you’re trying a new region, and don’t be fooled by age. “Older wines aren’t necessarily better,” says Click. “Many wines under $15 are intended to be enjoyed young. In general you can drink whites one to two years and reds two to three years after bottling. Higher-end wines have more staying power and can last three to 10 years or more.”

Embrace What You Really Like

If you purchase the wine again, chances are you like it. When you find one you like, stick to it. It’s simple, but be mindful of the grapes varietals in the wines you prefer. If you like Pinot Noir from Oregon, you just might dig a Burgundy from France. Then again, a Syrah from the Rhône region may be slightly different from a South African or Australian Shiraz. Explore the world of wine. “Taste is subjective, which means the best wine is the one you like,” says Click. “Take time to try new varietals from regions all around the world and find your own personal style.”

Wine Tip: Screw It!
“Don’t be afraid to try wine with a screw cap closure,” says Click. “A screw cap doesn’t mean the wine is cheap, it means the winery is committed to quality. Approximately 8 percent of wine bottled under cork is cork-tainted or undrinkable.”