The annual “What’s a good Thanksgiving wine?” issue.
Seriously, are you still asking this question? How about my warm .357 on your palate then. J. Chryst…
So, I look this stooge in the eye and this is my flowchart.
One, do they even have wine on Thanksgiving (yes)? Okay, what’s gonna be served? Turkey (duh) and the fixings. What’s the fixin’s? Cranberry sauce from a can, Stove Top stuffing, dinner rolls, peppered game hen, sliced beets, mixed greens, pasta salad, corn, pumpkin pie, orange marmalade, pecan pie, honey baked ham, and candied yams. Pops, that’s a fine mess– stick to champagne and you’re good.
“No, but I want a wine…” I’m thinking, “Champagne is a fuckin’ wine. Are you fuckin’ kidding me?” Movin’ on, I explain that while French Boujolais Nouveau at ten bucks will cover a fair amount of the table, some of your guests might have the same idea so be a little bolder and think about toting a few wines to match the timing and the mood.
Amuse bouche/aperitif/appetizers hour: get sparkly here if you have the fluted crystal glasses. Nothing sets the tone of a dinner party brighter than good bubbly. Alternatives: cheap chardonnay–excuse me, “unoaked” chardonnay. ABCer? Fine, Oregon pinot gris at about $10-15. King Estate or Cooper Hill meet the need. For reds, go fruit forward and get a cheap merlot. Otherwise, try the following daring choices: Guardian Cellars ‘Angel’ sauvignon blanc, Davenport Cellars ‘Snowflake’ sau blanc/semillon, Januik riesling, Betz ‘Petite Rousse’ rose, and Patterson Cellars dry riesling are savant choices. What to avoid here: tannic wines and anything over $20. Cheapskate’s choice– boxed riesling. Key: medium fruit with some complexity.
Main event time. You are s.o.l. here so do your best. Some like only one wine, others want two. You decide. Marsanne for the nuttiness– Maison Bleue ‘Petite Joie’ or Forgeron Cellars. Chardonnay for the citrus, fruit, and wood– Abeja or Buty are the best values. Albarino if you have a fisherman’s Thanksgiving– Idilico or Coyote Canyon, if you can find them. Pinot gris– only one here if you can find it-> Cooper Wine Company’s 2008 edition is in peak form with amazing complexity. Red blends– this one from Ross Andrew is your best bet or Martedi Winery’s Tuesday Cellars no.11 red wine. The money shot is pinot noir but the right stuff costs $30-$45. Get anything from Oregon in this price range and you’re safe. Cheapskate’s choice– Pasek Cellars cranberry wine.
What’s yours truly gonna guzzle on TG? It’s a game-day decision but in addition to the above choices, there are a couple bottles of 10 year-old pinot noir that want in. Absolutely no varietal cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, syrah, or malbec unless beef, pot roast, or a thick stew is a course.
And, if you’re having Thanksgiving in Washington, then damn it, have it with a Washington wine. Only. Makes. Sense.
Food pairing: hearty beef stew recipe from the back of a McCormick’s pouch. Divine.
Tasted at 54-65 degrees on the IR temp gun. Elegant royal magenta in the Riedel despite the initial absence of aromas other than a faint whiff of red fruits. Give it an hour to open. Smooth, full-bodied, and silky on the palate with a long, winding tail expressing Bing cherry, sanded cedar, red licorice, black currant, ripe black plum, blueberry, refined berries, tobacco leaf, shy velvety tannins, milk chocolate, and vineyard dust.
Advice: extremely fruit forward wine. Drink within 12 hours. Do not cellar this wine more than a year.
Alcohol: 13.8% (tastes lower). Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and syrah from multiple vineyards. Columbia Valley AVA. 900 cases. Power: 2/5. Balance: 3/5. Depth: 3/5. Finesse: 4/5. Rated: 92. Value: $30. Paid: $25. Music pairing: “Put The Gun Down” by ZZ Ward. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.