Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I'll Drink To That

Every holiday and family get-together, I am assigned the task of creating the wine list. It is not a job I take lightly, for I love being afforded this honor! While I would not label my relatives "aficionados", they certainly enjoy wine. They are quite savvy when it comes to the usual varietals like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, etc. But I take the holidays as opportunities to introduce them to something they would not have chosen on their own.

But Thanksgiving is different. Most often, I do not choose something aside from the usual varietals. This is simply because I know what works best with the traditional Thanksgiving fare. In response to Deb's last post, I received a question regarding Beajolais Nouveau, so I thought I would address this first. Like Champagne is to New Year's; Beaujolais Nouveau is to Thanksgiving. The annual release of this holiday staple occurs on the third Thursday in November, every year. The vintage typically does not matter - the release of this wine is preceded by enormous marketing campaigns. However, the 2009 vintage is different - it produced better-than-average Beaujolais, and the Beaujolais Nouveau is just a preview of the great quality of this vintage in France. I tasted it last week upon its arrival - and it is indeed very nice. Beaujolais is fresh, and bright, but not always very complex. It is a simple, easy-drinking wine which is always fun to include at Thanksgiving. To read more about this vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau, check out the article in The Wine Spectator.

This year, I will bring my favorite choices of Prosecco or other sparklers for starters; Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for the meal. My usual Prosecco is the La Marca from the Veneto region in Italy. Prosecco is perfect for sipping alongside cheese and crackers, dips and crudite. For Chardonnay, I will be bringing the Morgan Santa Lucia Highland Chard from California. It is delicious, rich and intense with a wonderful, buttery mouthfeel. The subtle oak flavors are not too overpowering for traditional Thanksgiving dishes.

The Stephen Ross Central Coast Pinot Noir will be my choice of red for this year's feast. It combines wonderful red fruit flavors, spice, and earth. The palate is rich and creamy with soft tannins. This delightful Pinot Noir is a huge crowd-pleaser to boot!

For Thanksgiving, I like to keep it simple. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are my sure-fire "go-to" wines for this festive get-together where wine typically takes a back seat to food. At least at my house. It's usually all about the food.

To everyone and their families, have a wonderful holiday!

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