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Thanksgiving Day Wines


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With these hors d'oeuvres we had Korbel Sparkling Chardonnay:

Apricot Canapes (Maytag Blue and pistachios on dried apricots)

Fifi's Pickled Shrimp

Belgian Endive stuffed with homemade smoked fish (marlin) dip/spread

We had Lois Gruner Veltliner with Celery Root Bisque with Thyme. Thanks to those who suggested Gruner Veltliner to me in another thread!

To drink with the main course we served a little Beaujolais Nouveau (Mommessin), just to carry on the tradition, and then Meridian Pinot Noir. We also offered a Riesling, but we all chose Pinot Noir. The food was:


Mashed Potatoes with Chive Cream

Green Beans with Wild Mushrooms

Roasted Cauliflower

Sweet Corn Pudding

Spinach and Hearts of Palm Salad

To go with dessert, Brownie Cheesecake, we drank both Campbells Rutherglen Tokay and Noval Porto Special Reserve. The best match of the evening just might have been the Tokay and dessert.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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With these hors d'oeuvres we had Korbel Sparkling Chardonnay

Korbel used to label this "Chardonnay Champagne." Does the label indeed now read "Sparkling Chardonnay"?

No, it doesn't. I just called it that off the top of my head. I think it still has what you said on the label. Come to think of it, sparkling chardonnay seems more accurate as to what it really is! :smile: Sorry if it was a technical mistake to call it that on a wine Forum. :unsure:

For something from the cheap bubbly category, it's the only Korbel I really like.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Hmmm, let's see if I can remember everything....

For starters:

- Poire Cidre "Granit" 2001, Eric Bordelet

- Montlouis-sur-Loire Brut NV, Francois Chidaine

- Graves "Cuvee Julien" 2001, Chateau Magneau (corked)

With supper:

- Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Spatlese halbtrocken 2003, Emrich-Schoenleber

- Wachau Sauvignon Smaragd 2001, FX Pichler

With dessert:

- Bonnezieux "Trie Speciale" 1999, Rene Renou

- Madeira "Boston Bual Special Reserve" NV, Vinhos Barbeito

Before and after:

- Troegs Pale Ale

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Living in Tokyo, I had to work Thanksgiving Day so we and our houseguests went to the club for dinner. We'll be cooking at home this Saturday for a proper Thanksgiving.

Club wine list presented limited choice, but an interesting chance to try stuff I might not otherwise try (like the L-P or the Prieur).

SA Laurent-Perrier Brut Rosé

98 Paul Blanck Riesling Schlossberg VV

93 Jacques Prieur Corton-Bressandes

85 Taylor VP

Notes have been posted in a separate thread.

All but the Blanck were ho-hum but good enough. Prieur is not my style of Burg and I'm not a big fan of most big-house NV Champagnes, so expectations weren't that high.  The Taylor was a bit of a disappointment.  However, the good company more than made up for any wine deficiencies.

It'll be my own fault, though, if we don't have better wines/matches this Saturday.


On Saturday with our homecooked meal...

SA Philippe Gonet "Roy Soleil" Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru

02 Egon Müller Schärhofberger Riesling Kabinett

02 Domaine des Souzons (Famille Jambon) Régnié Cuvée Vielles Vignes

00 Domaine de Coyeux Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise

Notes posted separately. The Schärzhofberger was a star. The Gonet was extremely austere alone, but shone with the hors d'oeuvres. The Régnié was diasappointing. The Muscat was typical -- sweet and fun but simple and cloying beyond one small glass.


Jim Jones

London, England

Never teach a pig to sing. It only wastes your time and frustrates the pig.

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2003 Dumol Chardonnay

2003 Duboeuf Moulin-a-Vent Cuvee Prestige

Highly recommend both as Thanksgiving wines.

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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  • 4 years later...

I had it in my mind to get beer only for our all-out, uber-traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but my better half is insisting on wine as well. She's very flexible about grapes, bubbles, you name it, but our price point is in the $15-20/btl range. I'm all ears.

And what about you?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Many many years ago we used to have Nouveau Beaujolais but for decades the stuff is has been just junk.

So now we usually have a few bottles of a sparkler such as Cordon Negro and a French Rose which are certainly within your price point.

Of course a 5l can of beer is also available!-Dick

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My local wine pusher usually puts a decent Alsatian Riesling on sale for under $20 for the week or so before Thanksgiving. It's not a bad match for a traditional turkey. We've also liked pinots and lower-end white Burgundy (aka low-wood chards), and in some past years I've brought one bottle of each of the above to our big family shindig. I haven't yet decided what I'm bringing this year, but it'll probably be along these lines unless I run across something more interesting.

John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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I was under the impression that you wanted to limit it to american-made wines. I always go for a Trimbach or Gustav Lorentz for inexpensive Rieslings if it's Alsatian you want or Dr. Loosen, if German is okay with you. A Gewurtz might work too.

I'm a plant-rights activist... I only eat meat!

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For a good cheaper white Burgundy, I like Domaine Matrot. It's imported by Vineyard Brands out of Birmingham, AL. Good value if you can find it. I've heard it was declassified juice from Meursault, but that's an unconfirmed rumor. It should be around $15-$17.

I also like Meyer-Fonne's Gentil d'Alsace, a great blend imported by Kermit Lynch. Should be around $17.

For a crowd pleaser and something sure not to get in the way, a good cru Beaujolais will always work for Thanksgiving. There are also a ton of good sparklers. A sparkling Vouvray called Tete de Cuvee yes that is the name of it) is a favorite of ours and good for the holiday.

nunc est bibendum...

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I'm no Alsace expert but I've never had a bad bottle from Trimbach... that's my default nowadays when I go that route.

ETA: We've tried Gewurtz a couple of times as well -- it tends to be a love-it-or-hate-it thing, with the majority of our crowd falling on the "hate" side. The Riesling has tended to be a safer choice.

Edited by John Rosevear (log)

John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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Coincidence? Today's Garagiste offer today is on Alsace.

from garagiste-----

This offer was slated for early December but yesterday’s Tanzer forces a quick move to this morning.

Barmes-Buecher was one of the stars of yesterday’s glowing 2008 IWC Alsatian review and that’s not a surprise. I secured the examples below a few months ago as they were scintillating, pure and stalactite-rich versions of Riesling that have become endangered species in a region global warming appears to have selected as its guinea pig (especially to the far south of Colmar).

If you are a fan of Riesling (everything from the Wachau to the Mosel), you will nod your head in appreciation for what Francois Barmes has accomplished in 2008 – it’s that exciting (exhilarating is more appropriate). All are naturally made and 100% BIO/organic with a transparency of origin and vintage that sets them apart. A few words from Francois: “Wine is made on the vine and not in the winery. Any treatments are carried out using plant extracts :- nettle, horsetail, osier, yarrow, chamomile and valerian. Naturally, each variety, which is the signature of its terroir, is harvested apart, the grapes are sorted by a team of 6 to 10 people who in turn remove the few remaining damaged berries or grapes gathered by the harvesters. Each wine is then gently pressed in two pneumatic presses for 6 to 16 hours. Thanks to the work that has previously been carried out, no chaptalization, no fining, no enzyme treatment, and no yeast addition are needed”.

Did I say these were a labor of love? They are.

In addition, You can throw darts at the examples below – it’s not an “either or” proposition – all command significant attention and all will age for decades, even the Rosenberg Riesling, which is one of the top 2008 examples in all of Alsace at its price-point. Keep in mind, Tanzer tasted these at home, over 48-72 hours (which is closer to the way I taste), not just a few sips at the winery and his enthusiasm is about as palpable as I can remember. If you’ve been searching for a few bottles of Riesling to cellar, you can dive in head-first as the reward should be well-worth your patience 10-20 years from now. I’ve also tried to keep the pricing as low as possible on the entire parcel.

FIRST COME FIRST SERVED up to 12 x each wine until we run out – quantities are finite – they hardly had any left when I secured these and I'm sure they are already on 2009 at this point (which is the opposite style of 2008)...

2008 Domaine Barmes-Buecher Riesling Rosenberg 1er - $19.99 (IWC90)

(I'm offering this at close to zero margin to give you the impetus to try it – compare at $25-30+; if you are price-checking, the Pinot Blanc and Sylvaner Rosenberg are several price-points below this – the Riesling is line-priced with the Pinot Gris Rosenberg)

Tanzer: “Pale yellow-gold. Cool aromas of citrus zest, lemon ice, menthol, fresh herbs and crushed stone; classic austere Riesling. Then dense and vibrant, with terrific energy and a vintage-typical saline element to the flavors of lemon, wild mint and herbs. The subtly persistent, palate-dusting finish offers captivating limestone lift. I love this bracing style of dry Riesling. 90pts”

2008 Domaine Barmes-Buecher Riesling Hengst Grand Cru - $36.74 (IWC92)

(compare at $40-45+ in the US)

Tanzer: “Medium yellow. Superripe, soil-driven aromas of stone fruits, pineapple, peach, mace and crushed stone. Broad, rich and suave on the palate; very ripe, even creamy, but dry. With its building flavors of lemon peel, minerals and crushed stone, this firmly structured Riesling really tightens up on the back end. An impressive vin de terroir that should enjoy a slow and graceful evolution in bottle. Francois Barmes has made a consistently superb set of Rieslings in 2008, with low residual sugar and strong acidity. 92pts”

2008 Domaine Barmes-Buecher Riesling Steingrubler Grand Cru - $39.62 (IWC93+)

(compare at 50+ in the US)

Tanzer: “Medium yellow. Wonderfully perfumed, high-pitched nose combines citrus peel, crushed stone, licorice and lavender. Then quite powerful and unevolved on the palate, with penetrating stony minerality and pineapple accentuated by brisk acidity. Today this conveys even more cut than the Hengst. The palate-staining, extremely long finish is almost painful. I should note that the yield for this wine was literally twice as high in 2008 as in 2007, but this wine's near-perfect balance and terrific finishing lift suggest it will gain in bottle for at least 10 or 15 years. 93+”

I almost forgot, a few of you may be interested in the following bonus wine as well (what appears to be the highest rated/lowest priced of its genre)...EXTREMELY LIMITED/VERY RARE:

2008 Domaine Barmes-Buecher Pinot Gris Rosenberg Vendange Tardive (500 ml) - $48.76 (IWC95+)

(this is not the regular Pinot Gris Rosenberg de Wettolsheim, compare at $70+ in the US)

Tanzer: “Orange-gold color. High-toned aromas of singed tangerine, toasted almond and golden raisin. Viscous on entry, then huge acidity gives an electric jolt to the supersweet flavors of orange, caramel and golden raisin. Powerfully concentrated, extract-rich wine with finishing flavors that are hard to scrape off the palate. Remarkably, this freakishly rich wine is easy to identify as Pinot Gris. 95+pts”

To order any of the above: niki@garagistewine.com

Edited by eternal (log)
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John Rosevear and budrichard make excellent points above, I can see that they've been around a bit on this subject.

Thirty years ago I might have suggested inexpensive reds, but today it would be either a good Pinot Noir (most of which, of course, come from Burgundy even at the lower prices) or a good Riesling and -- my real addition to this thread -- the Riesling need not be bone-dry.

A sort of underground insight among experienced US wine fanatics (starting now to appear in popular media), picked up from European Riesling fans, is that the sweet-acid balance of classic German-style Rieslings pairs exquisitely with things like roast Turkey, smoked fish, pulled pork, or cheeses. The acid is an essential part of this. I gave my dentist a bottle of fairly heavy (Spätlese or Auslese weight) artisanal German Riesling of this kind for a smoked-turkey dinner a few years ago, to frank skepticism, rescinded enthusiastically in a follow-up phone call about how the combination "blew away" the host and the guests. Another convert! German Rieslings of the great M-S-R and Rheingau regions have been consistently undervalued in world markets and I've bought hundreds of them of quality, in the US, below $20 and even $10. (The US makes Rieslings too, in increasing numbers, but they remain a novelty in that industry, and handicapped by the too-hot growing region problem that translates into distractingly higher alcohols than their German prototypes.)

For specific labels, advice from across continents is not the way to go. Find your local wine merchant who is knowledgeable about European Rieslings and you will get useful advice about wines locally available. There are thousands of individual labels of modest production volume, and their US availability varies even more widely than for other good-value European wines.

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Recent discussions about wine on EGullet motivated me to seek out a wine buyer now wine shop owner who taught courses at UC Berkeley (continuing ed division) many years ago. Those wine courses were the most enjoyable academic work I've ever done. I realized what my grad school studies had been lacking all along--alcohol. Anyway, my former wine teacher suggested riesling, pinot noir, tokay, or gewurztraminer for the Thanksgiving dinner. I myself would add a good Sancerre to that list. When it comes to riesling, I prefer the lighter "Kabinett" style. And if you have any riesling left over from Thanksgiving dinner, it goes great with Thai food.

While I was at the shop a staffer recommended this value wine to me, a Paul Pernot chardonnay/white burgundy for $20, which I bought. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds good. It was highly recommended to me. This wine:


Edited by djyee100 (log)
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I'm no Alsace expert but I've never had a bad bottle from Trimbach... that's my default nowadays when I go that route.

ETA: We've tried Gewurtz a couple of times as well -- it tends to be a love-it-or-hate-it thing, with the majority of our crowd falling on the "hate" side. The Riesling has tended to be a safer choice.

Your comment about the Gewurz is interesting. I have found this to be true as well, though I think it tends to show better with food. No other wine is so polarizing in the tasting room, and yet I have never seen it sell so well as this time of year. People just associate it with Thanksgiving.

There are some great Rieslings being made in the Finger Lakes. (Ok, full disclosure: yes, I'm in the wine industry here, but the product is worth checking out.) Distribution out of New York state is still a bit of an issue though.

We're starting with the Spiced Pear Punch from this month's Imbibe, and if we get past that, moving to a dry Pinot Rose, or a light, unoaked Cabernet Franc (or both.)

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Corinna Heinz, aka Corinna

Check out my adventures, culinary and otherwise at http://corinnawith2ns.blogspot.com/

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Let me push some wines from my state (California); here's a few which are surprisingly good in the sub-$20 range (all reds):

Tobin James (www.tobinjames.com):

  • 2006 Sangiovese
  • 2007 Zinfandel
  • 2008 "Chateau Le Cacheflo" ($12)

Vincent Arroyo 2008 Melange Reserve

Peachy Canyon:

  • 2007 Incredible Red ($12)
  • 2006 Petit Sirah
  • 2007 Cirque Du Vin

David Coffaro has quite a bit in the < $20 range, but only as a future, which doesn't do you any good for this Thanksgiving.

Oh, and might I point out that it's beaujolais nouveau season? Most such are very affordable, and seasonally appropriate!

The Fuzzy Chef


Think globally, eat globally

San Francisco

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Anything red and not too tannic or oaky works fine. The suggestions for CDR are excellent, as well as something a bit smokier (depending on how your turkey is prepared, of course, of course...) like a nice St. Joseph would be delicious. A rich Pinot Noir from Carneros or the Pacific Northwest would be a fine pairing as well. Even Dolcetto d'Alba is tasty with turkey. Never been a fan of the Beaujolais Nouveau, too much banana bubblegum for me, however a really fine Beaujolais Village could be a fine turkey pairing. I suspect a lower alcohol zinfandel would be yummy too, although 1) good luck finding one and 2) I suspect everyone's insistence that zinfandel is the best Thanksgiving wine is more about pairing an American wine with an American holiday.

For white, again, avoid the oak thing. It just doesn't pair well with food. Something slightly off-dry works well with all those sweet side dishes too. Riesling - still or sparkling, Chenin Blanc (in any incarnation including Coteaux du Layon or Vouvray - still or sparkling), or a good quality Scheurebe if you can find one are all good choices. Personally I love Oregon Pinot Blanc too. Foris is a very consistent and reliable producer. If you find something labelled "Weissburgunder" that's German, it's the same grape. It'll work too.

Remember that you're pairing your wine with the sauce/gravy, not necessarily the protein itself. How the bird is prepared (roasted, deep fried, smoked, etc.) as well as what you're serving it with will all effect your wine choices. Make sure the "weight" of the wine matches the "weight" of the final dish. A low alcohol riesling will get lost next to a heavy dish. Medium bodied wines are always a safe bet.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I love this thread (and others like it) because it goes to show the ephemeral nature of wine and the ways our tastes and opinions matter to the final outcome.

I'm cooking my (now-traditional) LA-Orphans' thanksgiving dinner this year for 22 and will be providing the first glass or two of wine. After that, guest contributions will take over and they'll be drinking whatever pleases them most. None of my friends and guests are "wine folk" for whatever it's worth, but I do want to take the opportunity to make a pairing that everyone can try.

With that in mind, I think I'm going to break out a half-dozen or so bottles of Bouchaine's Carneros Pinot Noir because it's a pretty good pinot from a winemaker whose wines and vineyard I like. I don't really have any insights beyond "Umm, I think it'll pair well with my roasted turkey and scalloped potatoes" but what can you do.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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