I love the idea behind Thanksgiving– the idea that we as families and friends, that we as a nation, that we as individuals pause, even during a pandemic, to give thanks, to be grateful for what we have, for the bountiful harvest the earth provides for us year after year. The actual holiday of Thanksgiving and what it represents? Not so much.
The Thanksgiving story we grew up with is largely a myth that erases the people who lived here for millennia before the Pilgrims and the Puritans made their way to these shores. The first Thanksgiving celebration didn’t even take place in Plymouth, Continue reading →
by Gwendolyn Alley, Thanksgiving 2019, Mammoth Lakes, California
This Thanksgiving weekend 2019, my family and I are at Mammoth Mountain where it has been snowing and snowing and snowing. We drove through a light snowstorm to get here, and it has been snowing steadily all day; the visibility on the mountain was so poor I got vertigo.
Throughout California, it has been a very wet holiday. For a Californian, that in itself offers a lot to be grateful for– especially when the rain Wednesday (and then snow Wednesday night and today!) helps to contain a fire like the one this week above Santa Barbara about 30 miles from Los Olivos and Solvang, home to many of the region’s tasting rooms. Continue reading →
What’s my favorite wine for Thanksgiving? ZINFANDEL! It’s magical with turkey and ham, and it can stand up to all those crazy rich side dishes.
So what better time to celebrate zinfandel day but in November as we’re preparing for Thanksgiving and figuring out the wines we want to enjoy on this special day?
Today I’m heading over to Cantara Cellars in Camarillo CA where we will taste zinfandel from the Lodi region as well as other wines from Lodi that you might want to consider sharing with your friends and family on Thanksgiving, or other special occasions. We’ll be posting pictures and tasting notes with the hashtag #lodiwine if you want to follow along.
These are the wines that were sent to me as samples for the twitter tasting that we will be opening today from 5-6pm:
Well, Thanksgiving Day may have come and gone, but thanks giving itself should continue on! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with a delightful assortment of adult beverages! (More on what we ate and drank in a later post!)
I realize now that fixing a two traditional holiday Thanksgiving or Christmas meals –first a ham dinner then a turkey dinner– and tasting a bunch of wines with the food really was quite a challenge. If I was a stay at home wine blogger (and not teaching 75% time, working on a PhD, and being a mom!), I am sure I could have accomplished it before Thanksgiving! As it is, I made due with a steady stream of tweets and facebook posts to share what I was tasting and learning. And I know thanks to search engines, people will be finding these posts for years to come!
So what did I learn about ham and wine?
The big surprise was how well the ham dinner went with the 2007 Sonoma County St Francis Old Vines Zinfandel (under $20). I knew I would like this wine with turkey but on a whim I decided to open it. As I tasted through the line-up, I didn’t expect much of the zin. However, the chemical reaction between the ham and the zin was wonderfully tasty!
So much so that if I was to recommend one wine to bring, especially f you didn’t know what was going to be served, I’d go with a zinfandel because it works with ham, turkey, appetizers including blue cheese and crackers, as well as red meats like prime rib.
While this wine wasn’t my favorite with the ham, it’s a great choice for appetizers. I love it with pate, cheese and crackers.
2009 Craggy Ridge Pinot Noir ($35-45) As I wrote when I reviewed it with turkey, this is a lovely, delightful complex pinot noir, full of earth and moss and violets and chocolate and tarragon, truly a wonderful Pinot Noir from New Zealand, lush, sensual. I wouldn’t bring this wine to a big holiday meal with tons of people– save it for when you can focus on it and savor it! I bet it would be better with a pork loin or chop than with salty ham.