Thanksgiving Wines Edition 3

Another Thanksgiving full of stuffing, yams, pumpkin pie, turkey and football is almost upon us.  I talked about some great wines and varietals and how they go with your holiday dinner in my 2009 Thanksgiving pairings article, and those rules still apply.  If you're still looking for the perfect wines to match, I've got a few for you:

  • Santa Margherita Prosecco ($16).  Yes, they do make a normally overpriced Pinot Grigio, but their Prosecco is amazing and a deal at this pricepoint.  Apricots, pears, peach and a hint of white pepper will tickle your tongue.
  • 2007 Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Gris ($15).  A turkey dinner always needs some richness and this wine has it.  Loaded with sweet fruit nuances of peach, pear, melon and apple pie, a touch of minerality, a hint of spice and creaminess makes this the white wine buy of the holiday season.
  • 2007 Grgich Hills Chardonnay ($36).  A steadily amazing wine year after year, this biodynamic, full-bodied but bright white will match your turkey and alot of other dishes.  Ripe apple, mango, oaky vanilla, cinnamon, pineapple and wild honey are just a few of the nuances your senses will enjoy.
  • 2006 Dog Point Pinot Noir ($34).  Recently I've become a huge fan of New Zealand Pinot Noir, and this one keeps me coming back.  Excellent acidity, this wine is vibrant and full of earthiness, mushroom, ripe cherry and plum.
  • 2006 Château de Tiregand Pécharmant ($15).  A hard wine to find but well worth the adventure.  Hailing from Bergerac, this deal is made up of 45% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc.  It's silky smooth and complex, full of dark plum, coffee, blackberry, clove and vanilla.
  • 2007 Cosentino CigarZin ($15).  This is one of my favorite red picks for the holidays- a very festive wine with dark dried fruit and lively spice flavor.  Have to love the jamminess and cigarbox scents!
  • Terradora di Paolo Aglianico ($16).  A southern Italian classic which goes perfect with your holiday dinner.  Ripe raspberry, cherry, tobacco, licorice and more oak spice takes this wine a long way.
  • Dogfish Head Punkin Ale ($9.99/4 pack)  I'm always throwing a beer or two in and since I made a batch of pumpkin ale, I decided to recommend one of my favorites on the market.  The pumpkin flavor is subtle and it does have the spices and a hint of brown sugar on its full-bodied finish.

I hope you go with some of these selections and enjoy the day with your friends and family.  Also, have fun planning those post-Thanksgiving workouts and let me know how the pairings worked!



Get Your Thanksgiving Picks Here

Thanksgiving Dinner

It's that time of year again.  Pumpkins are being turned into pie, turkeys are about to be defrosted, families are planning on being together, and everyone needs to get some holiday hooch.  But what are you supposed to pair with all of the dishes and the turkey?  No need to fear, your Windy City Wine Guy is on the case. 

Now, pairings for this holiday can be difficult, considering the wide array of flavors and dishes involved.  Not only are there savory choices such as mashed potatoes & gravy and stuffing, but there are also sweet dishes such as cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.  Then there's the turkey.  The crackling tasty skin, the moist and dense breast meat, and the salty, fattier dark meat.  All of this makes a perfect pairing almost impossible, but that's why you try multiple beverages!

Elk Cove Pinot Gris

2008 Elk Cove Pinot Gris

and white meat: I can't help it, but I love this varietal with poultry.  The nose is quite intense, with floral aromatics, and leads to a full on citrus party.  Heavy meyer lemon and grapefruit appear on the palate, along with rich honey and pineapple.  Fortunately, this wine can be found for around $15.

Argiolas Perdera

2007 Argiolas Perdera and dark meat: For dark meat poultry, you must have a wine with some body and a bit of spice, and this one has both.  Made mostly (90%) from the


varietal in Sardegna, this wine is packed with cherry goodness, black pepper, licorice, and bittersweet chocolate flavors.  The tannins are firm and supple.  Can be had for $14.  I also like

2007 La Posta Cocina Blend

, a mix of 60% Malbec, 20% Bonarda, and 20% Syrah.  It has weight, color, tannins, and spice, and a $14 pricetag.  Nice.

Pinot Noir can be an excellent wine to have with this holiday, as most are approachable, light and fruity, not without spicy components.  I love the 2007


 Bingo Cuvee ($19.99), not only for it's jammy fruit, but also for the earthy, mushroomy aroma.  Also, a great value Pinot Noir made by

King Estate

, their 2008 Acrobat, is light, fruity, spicy, and available for under $15.  A couple of alternative light reds are the 2007 Saladini Pilastri Rosso Piceno ($11.99), for red fruit, spiciness, and tobacco, and the 2008 Valle Reale "Vigne Nuove" Montelpulciano d'Abruzzo ($12.99).  This wine is made from grapes which face the hot sun on the Adriatic coast, grown from the cuttings of 40+ year old vines.  It is not only an easy drink, but also adds minerality and concentrated fruit.

Another varietal not to be missed is Chardonnay, as a weighty white wine can make it through the meal.  The Clara Benegas Chardonnay ($9.99) is another great value from

Michel Rolland

, as it combines rich pear, caramel apple, and mango, with a hint of vanilla.

For the big red lovers, I recommend a trip

down under

.  The 2005 Pretty Sally is a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon and 37% Shiraz.  Full bodied and full of both dark fruit and spice: cumin, pepper, and baking spice.  Great value for $17.99.  I am also a fan of the 2006 Cimicky "Trumps" Shiraz ($18.99) for its dark flavor, smokiness, and excellent length.  Also, stay down under for your 

sweet tooth

, as I recommend

2008 Two Hands Brilliant Disguise Moscato

($14.99).  Great acidity accompanies honey sweetness and a slight sherbert flavor.  Kind of different from an Italian version, but really good.

No party would be complete without a sparkling wine, not to mention they are usually the most versatile beverage in your arsenal.  The

Graham Beck Brut

($14.99) is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from South Africa.  It's full, creamy, and reminds me of lemon meringue pie.

Frog's Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale

I also gotta have some beer, and pumpkin ale is on my list.  The

Hoppin' Frog Double Pumpkin Ale

out of Akron, Ohio, is festively full of flavor: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and pumpkin pie blast in your mouth.  A great pumpkin beer.

If all of this isn't good enough, you can go back to my

'08 pairings

, or my




.  Either way, I hope you get the most out of these pairings, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!  Let me know how those worked out for you.

Vintuba and WCWG Team-up for Thanksgiving Pairings

vespaclearsmall1I decided to hop aboard the VINTUBAVespa and do a tour of Thanksgiving wine picks with Vintuba Podcasters Chris and Jon.  They graciously invited the WCWG to announce my holiday picks and give feedback on theirs.  Vintuba is a great website which takes a world tour, giving you info and podcasts on wine, hosted by Chris, who works in the Sonoma wine industry, and Jon, a novice wine drinker from St. Louis.  Check out their site and our Podcast!

Thanksgiving Holiday Wine Pairings

66843409_f9cad3907b1Thanksgiving is on the way, which means family, turkey, lots of side dishes, and pumpkin pie.  These are staples of our American holiday.  But where there is food, there is drink, and the Windy City Wine Guy is here to help you with your holiday pairings.

First thing to remember, a perfect pairing can be difficult because there are so many dish options at a Thanksgiving dinner.  Even a turkey can be difficult because the white meat is so different from the dark meat.  I always love a challenge, so I have selected some beverages which will be perfect pairings, and others which are more versatile.

Perfect pairings for the turkey:

2007 Ponzi Pinot Gris and white meat- this wine has great body, spice, and fruit.  Vanilla, clove, and almond accompany sweet golden apple and melon.  This was fermented and aged in stainless steel, but allowed to undergo a partial malolactic fermentation, giving a rich and creamy texture.  Perfect for lean white turkey meat.  I have seen this available at stores for under $15.

2005 Rivetti La Spinetta Barbera d'Asti "Ca' di Pian" and dark meat- the perfect match for fatty meats is a wine with crisp acidity and good tannic structure.  Ca' di Pian has both.  It also has lush cherry, plum, and gamey notes.  I love this Barbera.  It is available at most stores for under $20.

Now we can get into more versatile beverage options.

Elysian "Night Owl" Pumpkin Ale- there is a consensus that this Washington brewery makes the best pumpkin ale.  It has a great orange color to accompany pumpkin and spice- nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon.  The body is medium and creamy.  These flavors mix well with most Thanksgiving spreads.  This beer can be hard to find and is only available in 22 oz. bottles, so try Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, made by a Delaware brewpub.  A fuller style with the same flavor profile and widely available in Chicagoland.  Four-paks are $9.99.

Domaine Chandon Riche- this sparkling wine has all Champagne varietals (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay) plus some Muscat.  These varietals rend a full and well rounded wine and the Muscat adds a touch of richness.  Perfect and versatile, and under $20.

Red Burgundy varietals- Pinot Noir and Gamay.  These wines have red fruit flavor and crisp acidity which makes them versatile beverages at the dinner table.  2007 O'Reilly's Pinot Noir has some good body and spice-always my big value choice at under $18.  For Gamay, you have to buy Beaujolais, and Georges Deboeuf is the best.  2008 Deboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau is an easy drink under $12, while his Moulin-a-Vent has more tannin and spice from its oak aging for under $15.

2007 Seghesio Zinfandel- if you want more body and juicy fruit, go for the zin.  Structure, spice, ripe fruits, and oak flavors are all a part of this rich and festive wine.  It will handle any food this holiday can throw at it!  WCWG loves this wine for $20.

2006 Valter Barbero "Serena"- for the sweet wine fans.  Based on the brachetto varietal, this Italian semi-sparkling (frizzante) pink wine is refreshing with strawberry and raspberry flavors.  The fruitiness is the versatility.  Under $10.

These beverages are sure to give you and your family the perfect compliment to a traditional American holiday.  I wish you the best of holidays and look forward to your feedback.

(image courtesy of flickr)