The turkey is stuffed, potatoes are boiling, the table is set and family is on the way … but what about the wine?!? Thanksgiving is a perfect time to break out some of your favorite bottles, but with so many flavors on the table, what are you supposed to choose? Take a deep breath, don’t worry about it and check out some of my favorite holiday wine selections for your Turkey Day festivities. Sure to please all palates from your crazy aunt, to your sophisticated ‘wino’ cousin home from grad school.
Grab a corkscrew, a few glasses and you’re well on your way to a wine filled feast!
Berlucchi Franciocorta – Lombardy, Italy
Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful, and I am SO thankful that I was introduced to this gorgeous wine while living in Italy for a few months with my husband this year. There is no better time to break out the bubbly than the holiday season, and you won’t be disappointed with this gem. Franciocorta is a DOCG region located in the region of Lombardy, Italy. The sparkler is made in the same traditional method as the famous wines from Champagne, France, and I must say, it’s one of my favorite wines this year. The color alone is spectacular, a rich golden hue, made from 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir. These wines are held to the highest standards in Italy, and perfectly balanced flavors of apple and pear shine through. I’ll never forget the first time I sipped this beauty, and plan to have a glass (or two!) this season.
St. Julian Reserve Riesling – Michigan
If you’re looking for a crowd pleaser, that pairs well across the board, Riesling is always a great route. We don’t have to venture too far for this bottle, because St. Julian Winery in Paw Paw, Michigan makes a beautiful Riesling sure to compliment your Turkey Day spread. It’s crisp and light, with flavors of ripe peach, mango, lemon zest and a touch of minerals. This wine is aged only in stainless steel tanks, which preserves that fresh fruit flavor we’re looking for. If you’re browsing the Rieslings in your favorite wine spot, be sure you don’t get something too sweet. We want a little bit of sweetness for the table, but nothing overwhelming. Save the Late Harvest Rieslings and Ice Wines for pumpkin pie!
King Estate Pinot Gris – Oregon
This Pinot Gris is always invited to our Thanksgiving spread, and for good reason. It’s fruit forward aroma of citrus and tropical fruit is sure to get your family ‘winos’ excited. It’s an elegant wine, with a beautiful fresh acidity to cut through those rich dishes, but also has that needed touch of sweetness. On the palate you’ll enjoy flavors of pineapple, nectarine, green apple, orange blossom, lime zest and pear.
Check out King Estate Winery at www.kingestate.com
Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Votre Sante’ Chardonnay – Sonoma, California
There seems to be a split crowd when it comes to drinking Chardonnay on Thanksgiving. Some say it’s a must have, and others say it’s a definite no. I’m a fan of drinking what you love, and if you love Chardonnay, just make sure you pick the right one. I went with Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Votre Sante’ for many reasons. First being that this winery is rich in family tradition, and that’s what this holiday is all about. The wine is named after a traditional French phrase that Coppola’s grandmother used to toast her wine glass to, ‘Votre Sante’, meaning ‘to your health’. The wine is aged half and half. Half in stainless steel and half in oak. This preserves that fresh fruit and acidity, while also giving you a touch of toasty oak on the palate. The wine also undergoes malolactic fermentation, creating a creamy mouth feel and flavors of crème brulee, vanilla and honey. Pineapple, passion fruit, tangerine and honey fill the nose, with crisp acid and flavors of apple, peach, pear, and allspice on the palate. When your browsing the Chardonnay section, just be sure to stay away from something too oaky and buttery, like many of the big chards from Napa Valley. There are some really fantastic un-oaked Chardonnays out there too, which could also be a great compliment to your spread.
Check out all Francis Ford Coppola Winery has to offer at www.francisfordcoppolawinery.com
Ponzi Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley, Oregon
Pinot Noir is a great option when looking to bring red wine to the table. It’s lighter bodied, and not too overwhelming like a Cabernet or Merlot could be. We have to remember that we’re pairing wine with multiple flavors and dishes, so we don’t want to kill our palate with something huge. The Ponzi Pinot Noir is fruit forward, and sure to go well with everything from turkey to stuffing to cranberries. Flavors of spiced cherry, cassis, raspberry, and spiced rhubarb come together to create this wine. It’s very well structured, and has just a touch of sweetness. If you’re shopping around for pinot noirs, don’t be intimidated, most pinots are going to be a safe bet and you can’t really go wrong. Some of my favorite Pinot Noirs are coming out of Oregon, but many other regions produce beautiful pinots as well. You could even reach for a nice Burgundy if you wanted too, the doors are open on this one!
Merry Edwards Pinot Noir – Russian River Valley, California
Are you looking to really impress this year? Look no further than the Merry Edwards Pinot Noir. I tried this for the first time when doing ‘research’ (a.k.a. tasting countless bottles of wine!) for our new wine list this year, and was instantly sold. Merry Edwards was one of the first woman winemakers, and she doesn’t disappoint with this bottle. She’s also only the 4th woman to be honored by James Beard for the Best Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional in the United States, impressive! The wine has a stunning ruby color, is extremely well balanced and has great acidity. Flavors of plum, red currant, raspberry coulis and warm brown spices entertain the palate. Overall, a juicy wine that is sure to impress your holiday guests. The bottle is gorgeous too, which is always an added bonus to your tablescape.
Check them out at www.merryedwards.com
Girard ‘Artistry’ Red Blend – Napa Valley, California
Ok, so remember when I said that we shouldn’t be drinking bold reds on Thanksgiving? Well, we shouldn’t be, but I love to enjoy a bold red after dinner. If I were my sister Vicki, I’d be whipping up a batch of Irish Coffee’s for the crew, or if I were my sister-in-law Summer, I might be pouring a couple fingers of bourbon to finish out my night. Since I’m me, and I adore bold reds, I’m reaching for a bottle of ‘Artistry’ from Girard Winery in Napa Valley. This blend is 55% cab, 18 % cab franc, 8% merlot, 10% malbec and 9% petit verdot. It’s medium to full-bodied on the palate, and aged in 100% French oak, giving it those toasty flavors that I love so much. Black cherry pie, anise, chocolate covered espresso beans, nutmeg, clove and cherry dominate the palate, and I couldn’t ask for more. This is the perfect blend for me to sip on while I fall into my annual Thanksgiving nap.
Still need help? Don’t know where to buy your wine? Shoot me an e-mail before the big day, and I’d love to help you pick those perfect bottles.
All of the mentioned bottles are a part of our new wine list. Check out our full list at www.webstersrestaurant.com
From our Webster’s family to yours, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Alexa Shaw (Tipton)