What wine pairs with Thanksgiving?

This is the time of year where everyone wants to know which wine they should have with Thanksgiving dinner. Since most people don’t want to break the bank, what follows are a numbe rof recommendations that land squarely on the less expensive side of a $20 bill.

Personally, my go to wine for turkey OR ham is zinfandel. There is alchemical magic in that combination!

How do I know? Many years ago, I worked the tasting room at Ridge and so of course I brought a bottle of zin to that Thanksgiving table.

Last year, during the weekend before Thanksgiving, I convinced my husband to make a turkey AND then a ham so I could try a bunch of wines with these classic holiday meals.  I came up with these three blog posts:

white and rose wines with Turkey

red wines with Turkey

wines for Ham

Since holiday meals usually gather many people, it’s a great excuse to splurge and have different wines to enjoy with each course. In general, I would recommend Continue reading

Live Tasting & Blogging: 12 Red Wines 5 Minutes Each

This is wine blogging as speed dating…fast and furious! I sat with and compared notes with Christopher Watkins who blogs for Ridge at 4488, one of my favorite wine blogs. I also sat with Amy Cleary who works for UC Press. I’d met Christopher before and only knew Amy through twitter; it was fun sitting with them as we queried the wineries and learned to find wines to fall in love with and I look forward to reading their blog posts and will link up to them asap.

Nicholas Cole Camille Bordeaux blend

Nicolas Cole Cellars focuses on bordeaux style blends. 2004 was supposed to be first harvest but weather said no.  I think I couldn’t quite hear him. It’s all estate grown except for the merlot. All hand harvested and minimally irrigated. 1150-1275 elevation and the way the cold circulates they do pretty good. They sell also. Whole berry, free run juice, french oak new and neutral. Not native yeasts at first and now to make sure but getting started and soon will use all native yeasts.

Spofford Station 2004 Cab Sauv

James Lee Cellars & Spofford Station–she grows the grapes and does all the schlepping. Highly impacted by the Missoula floods. Underwater. 36′ of top soil. classic bordeaux style. Cab, merlot, syrah plus some wines for blending and some for bottling. Farming integrated and for three months her cattle gets the leftover grapes stuff. So her cattle come pre-marinated. Branded cows.  In this area.

2007 Belnero Tuscany Castello Banfi

Under $40 but she says it’s a great value. Second vintage. Goes well with food. How did we end up with Italian wines here? Kate Corcocoran enjoyed the conference so much last year that she asked if she could bring some to this year’s. Note to self: learn more about Horizon Project.

Monthaven 2008 Cab sauv from central coast

Octovin is a bag in a box packaging. Yesterday we tasted a Big House White bottled in this way. Artisan wine cool package. $24 for 4 bottles worth of wine. How’s the wine? Good value

Worthwhile Wine Dark Lady of the Labrynth from South Africa: Pinotage

Wine from the area of South Africa Doolhof from Wellington area. Aged in heavily oaked barrels. Wow. Wow. Mocha! For real. In the nose, very exciting. Meaty rich. Herby. makes me want to just start drinking. And once I taste it I just want to keep drinking it.  $19. Not in California yet. NOTE: At the end of the tasting, I tasted it again and found the oak overpowering and a little too molasses-y.

Magnificent Wine Co’s House Wine from Walla Walla 7 grape blend $13

32 Cab 30 merlot 31 syrah some malbec etc. 50,000 cases in Trader Joes. All Columbia Valley, this is Charles Smith second label from K vintners wanted to make wine that was drinkable approachable etc. 13% alc but tastes hotter than that. Great pizza wine easy choice. Made at Waterbrook.

Ortman Sangiovese 2008 Paso Robles around San Miguel

Wine making philosophy is more about balance making the fruit the focus of the wine of that particular varietal and to use techniques to show that off and add complexity. Hand picked, destemmed, fermented in tank, handled like pinot noir, punched down in open top to manage tannins. Innoculate with a strain of yeast. It reminds me of a blood orange or like a chocolate orange.

Lot 1 Louis Martini

Retails for $120 a bottle. Been in the valley forever and has access to some amazing fruits. Winemaker wanted to make something that captured a sense of Velvet. 15.48% alcohol. everything is hand done. Submerged cap for a bit then punch down on the top that makes it so extracted. All punch down will make the tannins too harsh so did the combo. Racked. Egg white fining. Getting back to the old school tradition like between his grandfather and his great grandfather. Nationally available n small amounts. A shame to taste a wine this great in this setting. I’m putting my glass aside for later! Continue reading