We are less than a week away from Thanksgiving, and though this year may look a little different than the holidays of the past, great wine should always be at the center of the table, ready to be shared and enjoyed with those you love, in a safe, socially distanced way.
As this is a holiday all about food and celebration, consider lighter, lower alcohol options that won’t weigh you down and will cut through the richness of some of the heavier dishes of the day. Today at 11am I will join KXAS-TV/NBC DFW, Channel 5 in Dallas, for a toast to the holiday, offering some tasty tips and delicious pairing suggestions. A link to the segment is here. A bit more on the selections below. #Cheers
For red wine lovers, a whole selection of tasty wines can pair, from Gamay to Grenache, Zinfandel to Syrah, but for me, Pinot Noir is always a perfect Thanksgiving go-to selection.
Willamette Valley is the home to some of the finest in the country, including the wines of Stoller, Chehalem, Willakenzie, and Gran Moraine. From vineyards dotted throughout the region, each wine showcases its unique soil and terroir, with the volcanic Dundee Hills giving Stoller Family Estate Dundee Hills Pinot Noir ($35) showing an earthy, mineral layer wrapped around red and black cherry, strawberry, and spice. Willakenzie Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($35) showcases the vibrancy and freshness of Pinot Noir, ideal for pairing with the rich Thanksgiving meal, revealing layers of raspberry, black tea, Asian spice, and truffle. Yamhill-Carlton’s Gran Moraine ($45) shows the heady earthiness of the sub-AVA, with woody herb and truffle melding with red fruits, anise, and spice.
From the coast to the mountains, the diverse regions throughout the state deliver a range of styles and flavors, from high elevation Belden Barns on Sonoma Mountain, showcasing a lively freshness with a fresh, punchy, fruit-forward blend of 9 clones that are 100% whole-cluster fermented in their Serendipity Block Pinot Noir ($50); to complex and textured, earthy, black fruit, and black tea filled 97 points rated Sojourn Cellars Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir ($69) in Russian River.
La Crema Russian River Pinot Noir ($40) reveals bright red berry and bing cherry notes, with touches of soft herb, and baking spice, making it an easy wine to pair with the holiday, along with red fruit and spice-filled Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir ($50) from the cool, rolling hills of Los Carneros.
Maritime influenced Sta. Rita Hills region in California’s Santa Barbara County, where The Hilt Estate offers red fruits like cranberry, red cherry, pomegranate, crushed rocks, and fresh rose petal; with stunning Sea Smoke Ten ($110) delivering black fruit, woody herb, dusty earth, black tea, and spice.
For white wines, we always love a Chardonnay with Thanksgiving as the richness of the variety harmonizes with the flavorful meal. Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley always delivers, with wines like Odette Estate Reserve Chardonnay ($72) showing stone fruit, jasmine, and honeycomb notes with textured richness and style; Frank Family Carneros Chardonnay ($38) revealing baked apple tart, brioche, and lemon custard notes; Ram’s Gate Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($43), heavily influenced by cooling winds and fog off the Pacific, revealing marzipan, white flowers, and golden orchard fruit; Gehricke Russian River Chardonnay ($32) displaying tropical pineapple and mango with creamy vanilla and meringue, and Napa’s Stony Hill Chardonnay ($54) bringing crushed stone, orchard fruits, and soft herbal notes to the forefront in an elevated wine with sumptuous texture.
From Willamette Valley, Adelsheim Staking Claim Chehalem Mountain Chardonnay ($35), made in a French style from Dijon clones, telling the story of the land, highlighting freshness, bright acidity, earthy minerality, and gorgeous Chehalem Mountain fruit.
Though you can’t go wrong with Chardonnay, don’t be afraid to also think a bit outside the box this Thanksgiving and consider a Rhone white, or a Rhone-style white wine. Floral, stone fruit, and golden honey-filled Rhone varieties, like a Marsanne or Viognier.
Consider Inglenook Blancaneaux ($65) showing white peach, white flowers, and a touch of tropical lilikoi and guava; Sonoma’s Sosie White Blend ($35) bringing Grenache Blanc into the mix, giving the fruity, lemon curd, and quince filled wine a touch of brininess; and Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc+Viognier ($19,) adding Loire’s favorite white variety (Chenin Blanc) with the Rhone’s Viognier, and made with character and affordability in California.
Texas wineries also deliver stellar Rhone-style white wines. Look for selections from McPherson, Pedernales, and Brennan Vineyards, and you won’t be disappointed.
Big thanks again to Lahaina Galleries on the Big Island for the fabulous wall of wine from the late Darrell Hill to showcase on my segment. His work is inspiring, the wines are delicious. Fire art and fine wine, they are the perfect pairing.