Grapelive: Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from Grapelive
By Kerry Winslow

kwnov09.jpgThe start of the holiday season begins with Thanksgiving here in the States, and it is a holiday we celebrate the gifts of nature and humanity. We give thanks for food and drink and cherish our family and friends; we relish it all and show gratitude for this bounty. It is also a time to reflect on the year’s harvest and all the hardships that made it possible, and we focus on the joys that have come as a result.

Wine can play an important role in these pleasures and moments of happiness, and I can assure you I will be doing so myself. I found over this last year some wonderful wines that I think would make great additions to your Thanksgiving table and celebrations. I will give my list of wines that will match up with most Thanksgiving menus, be it turkey, goose, ham or even tofu. Most holiday foods should have friendly and fresh wines that don’t take away from the enjoyment of the food itself, this will also make points with your mother-in-law, and you should avoid trophy wines and wines with aggressive tannins as they will clash with the meal and steal the show.

My picks are serious wines, but not overly oaked or bold in flavors, and should make everyone happy all the same. Wines that are really food friendly are wines with good fruit and good acidity that will refresh the palate which will allow you to eat as much as you like and not strip your ability to taste your whole meal as it was meant to taste. For red wine, I’d pick Pinot Noir, Gamay, lighter Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Barbera or Grenache based wines, while for white I kind of go traditional with some minor exceptions, choosing; Gewurztraminer (dry), Riesling (semi-dry), Pinot Gris, Vermentino, Chablis and one of my favorites Viognier.

Margerum M5 Rhone Style RedIn case you feel like something special and extravagant then go for Champagne, you can drink it with food or by itself, so go for it! You can never go wrong with bubbles and you have lots of fantastic choices and styles of this perfect holiday wine. Sparkling wines make everyone smile and it also goes with all foods, in fact it is almost impossible to go wrong picking one, no matter what, as simple Prosecco to the very best vintage Champagne always fits the bill and will be enjoyable. The style of sparkler also doesn’t makes much difference when it comes to the meal; brut, extra dry, rose, blanc de noirs, blanc de blanc or even extra brut all work, Cheers!

I hope you have fun and experiment with your wines, but here are my five or six sure fire winners Thanksgiving wines of this year.

2008 Melville Viognier Santa Barbara County. ($23-26 Est.), 2007 Margerum M5 Rhone Style Red, Santa Ynez Valley. ($28 Est.), 2008 M. Lapierre Morgon (Gamay) Red Beaujolais Cru, France. ($25 Est.), 2007 Kuenz-Bas Gewurztraminer Tradition, Alsace, France. ($25 Est.), and either the 2007 Lucia (by Pisoni) Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands. ($40 Est.) Or the 2007 Alfaro Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate Santa Cruz Mountains. ($35 Est.)

* Support your local wine merchant and ask for these wines or contact the winery directly. Please note the French wines are both available through Kermit Lynch in Berkeley, CA.