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This week’s winners are; Candice Cinfio and Jennifer Shryock
Today is an important Wine Wednesday, why you might ask? Well this is the week WineGuyMike will help you answer two of the most important and widely asked questions each Thanksgiving prior to the actual holiday. So here it goes; #1. What wines shall I serve to my guests with Thanksgiving dinner, and question #2., what wines should I bring to Thanksgiving dinner if I’m a guest at someone’s home?
Okay now we know what the most important questions of the day are, so what are the answers? WineGuyMike™ really prefers to keep things as simple as possible and in doing so let’s consider a few things before I recommend which wine types are best suited for your particular Thanksgiving Day wine selections.
When one considers wine and food I like to think of balance. Balancing wine and food is a good place to start when determining what wine works best with what food. Here are a few other things to think about when choosing a wine too:
- What wine do you like?
- Food Texture, Heavy or Light?
- How is the food prepared, Grilled, Baked, Sautéed, or in the case of Thanksgiving dinner roasted?
- What about a Sauce, Gravy, Crème, Tomato.
In considering balance and in this case I’m referring to weight and texture of the main food entrée and the weight and texture of the wine I would like to choose to serve with my dinner. How am I going to cook the Turkey, and today we will of course be using roasting a Turkey as an example. I’m also going to be using a sauce or gravy, and I can promise you I will be using a lot of it but my guests probably won’t be using as much gravy to garnish their entrée with. There a couple of more things to think about before we go wine shopping too.
Just as foods have a texture and firmness wines also have a quality of texture. Remember we are looking for balance and a synergy between wine and the foods they are paired with. A full bodied wine bold on texture should not be paired with delicate dishes nor should they be paired with a food dish that is big on flavor. Big wine and big flavor just don’t work well together, we are looking for harmony. A mild food dish would do well to be paired with a medium to light body wine which is what we are doing today in considering our Thanksgiving Day wine list.
Today I’m going to be recommending wines that pair well with or go with my main entrée, which are Turkey and gravy. So in contemplating these suggestions I will consider the fact that acid brings out flavors in food and helps to leave a lingering flavor on your palette. I will also consider the fact that Turkey is mild and relatively light to medium textured and in doing so I will be suggesting wines with a bit of acidity and will be light to medium bodied. Now we can talk about our wine type choices, or at least what types of wines match our criteria for the meal we are serving.
The wine types that I recommend will vary from light to full body:
Light Bodied Wine selections
- Chenin Blanc
- Pinot Grigio/Gris
- Pinot Noir
Medium Bodied Wine selections
- Fume´ Blanc
- Sauvignon Blanc
Full Bodied Wine selections
These are the wine types I believe are best suited for your Thanksgiving Day dinner. I would recommend having one white and one red wine from the light bodied category, one wine from the medium bodied category, and one full bodied Chardonnay that is not oaked to complement your dinner.
I hope that you find these suggestions helpful in putting together your Thanksgiving Day wine list. Thinking about this ahead of time will lead to a much better wine shopping experience, not to mention the time you will save not staring at too many wine bottles on a shelf. After a few minutes all the bottles begin to look the same. Having a wine focused Thanksgiving Day dinner can make it a lot of fun and remember this list of slightly acidic wines are suggested because they will intensify all the wonderful flavors of your Thanksgiving Day dinner. It will also be fun to share with your family and friends all about the wines you have carefully selected with the dinner to pour for them, they will surely feel as special as they are. Let’s not forget to take a moment to think about all that we are thankful for and that includes the very special people in our lives, because how much better is a nice bottle of wine when we a sharing a glass with someone.
If you have any specific questions about wines please message me by commenting on the WineGuyMike blog at; www.wineguymike.wordpress.com, or on my Facebook fan page; WineGuyMike and I will answer any questions you may have.
One last recommendation would be to stop in at my official sponsor Ciao Mambo, they have a great wine list with wines by the glass. You can experience some of these wine types before you serve them with your Thanksgiving Day dinner.
P.S. Here is my Thanksgiving Day wine list:
1. Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay blend from Southwest France – Tariquet
- Pinot Gris from Adelsheim Vineyard in The Willamette Valley of Oregon
- Pinot Noir from Adelsheim Vineyard in The Willamette Valley of Oregon
- Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Spy Glass
- Chardonnay from California – haven’t decided which one yet.
- Sparkling wine from Argyle Winery in The Willamette Valley of Oregon
This wine list receives The WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval©
Light Bodied Wines
Pinot Noir is the medium bodied grape variety of red burgundian wines; it can produce wines that are incredible. When aged in oak, it should have sweetness reminiscent of raspberries, with undertones of vegetation and chocolate. The wine can stand up to aging for many years. Pinot Noir at its best will be smooth, full of flavor, and a beautiful bouquet.
Gamey Beaujolais a wine from France that is made to be drunk very young, right after bottling. This is a light bodied red that has very little tannin and is low in alcohol content. It is a fruity red wine that has berry overtones and is light bodied.
Chenin Blanc is a very versatile grape. It is very crisp, acidic, high in alcohol content, yet is smooth and full bodied. This grape exhibits slight spiciness, hint of honey, and slight fruitiness and is dry. This can be a very special wine, such as Vouvray, an excellent wine exhibiting many different styles.
Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris as it is commonly referred to is a very dry wine. Some characteristics of this wine are a slightly fruity and mild spiciness.
Viognier is a grape from the Rhone valley in France is also making a name for itself in California. Viognier is a very dry, delicate wine with floral aromas and apricot overtones.
Medium Bodied Wines
At its best Sauvignon Blanc is a very crisp, light bodied and very dry. They are also known as Fume´Blancs, and are well balanced with citrus and grassy overtones. Most of these wines are not fermented in oak, the high levels of acid balance well with the fruity characteristics of the wine.
Sancerre wines come from the Loire Valley region of France and are made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. There are two styles of Sancerre wines depending on their terrior. Some come from marl terroir and the others come from limestone vineyards. Marl (white soil) terrior Sancerre wines are fruity and well balanced while the Sancerre wines grown in limestone are full flavored but can be unstable. Both style of wines have nuances of citrus (Grapefruit) and floral aromas.
Full Bodied Wine
Chardonnay is one of the most complex white wines, thanks to winemaking techniques, and the grapes ability to draw flavor from the nutrients and minerals in the soil. Chardonnay is aged in new oak barrels, old oak barrels, and steel barrels, all producing varying nuances in the wines. New barrels produce the strongest oaking, old barrels have a slight oak influence, while the steel has no oakiness. This dry wine is rich, bold, and full of fruitiness, vanilla and a certain toastiness, just to name a few characteristics. Complexity is the word that best suits Chardonnay.
WineGuyMike™ had to mention some sparkling wine just to top the Thanksgiving Day off.
Sparkling Wines and Champagne are still wines that have been infused with carbonation. True Champagne is made in France will be noted by the capital letter “C”on the label. Other sparkling wines called Champagne will by designated as “champagne”, notice no capitalization. Three grapes are used in Champagne, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. It’s white because only the juice of the grapes are used. Pink Champagne is strained through the Pinot Noir grape skins, truly a delight. M′ethode Champenoise is the true French fermentation process. The wine is fermented twice, once in an oak barrel, and the second time the wine develops carbonation in the bottle while aging a minimum of one year.
Blanc de Blancs this true French Champagne is produced entirely from the Chardonnay grape. Also fermented using the Methode Champenoise process, producing a white Champagne.
WineGuyMike’s Wine Lingo
Astringent – This refers to a drying sensation in the mouth that may make you pucker. It is common in young full bodied red wines such as a Cabernet or a Zinfandel. This is caused by high tannin content in the wine. Tannin is a tactile sensation, not a taste.
Balance – this term is one that would refer to a harmony of fruit, tannin, acid, and alcohol. There may be a nuance of fruit in a wine but it would not be so overwhelming that it would be out of balance or harmony when considering the other characteristics of a wine.
Cheesemonger – this term refers to someone who sells cheese, in this case a specialist or purveyor of artisanal cheeses.
Crisp – Fresh, Bright, Young, and Slightly Acidic. Wine Types are Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, and Chablis
Grassy – Refers to Herbal Characteristics often associated with Sauvignon Blanc
Meritage – pronounced just like “Heritage”, is a proprietary term used to denote red and white Bordeaux-style wines without infringing on the Bordeaux region’s legally protected designation of origin. Winemakers must license the Meritage trademark from its owner, the California-based Meritage Alliance. Member wineries are found principally in the United States, though increasingly elsewhere.
Oaky – A reference to a nuance in a wine resulting from wooden oak barrels that wines are aged in. This term is common to Chardonnay’s and Cabernet wines.
Rose′ - “pinkish”(French). Depending on the grapes and winemakers style the wines can be