From our house to your house, we wish you a relaxing day, a tasty turkey, and a pleasing beverage to accompany it.
Now -- Do you have a date at the wine store tomorrow for something to accompany today's leftovers?
Hold on a minute; we have a few ideas and suggestions that will make things very clear -- or else completely confuse you. Through the years, I've found a number of wines that make comfortable companions to turkey, either at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Of course, I'm also the guy who has said, on more than one occasion, "Give me a fine wine and a fine meal -- and I'll figure out a way to make them go together."
Red wine fans will find that Pinot Noir, or Burgundy if you're into French wines, will go nicely, as will some of the brand-new Beaujolais Nouveau or Beaujolais Villages. Georges DuBoeuf's version of the latter is tasty, with plenty of fruit forward and much flavor from the Gamay grape. The DuBoeuf "regular" Nouveau was close to unpleasant on my palate.
Extremely compatible with food and one of my favorite California sites for inexpensive, food-friendly wines is Bogle, and it offers three at $9 each that are fine values. The '09 Riesling is a bit on the sweet side, but a pleasing accompaniment if you make your leftover turkey into a curry. So are the winery's '10 Sauvignon Blanc and '09 Pinot Noir, the latter an exceptional value. Another good accompaniment is from Napa Cellars, with a fruity, delightful '09 Napa Valley Pinot Noir in the $20 range.
Australia chips in with Frisk, which it calls "prickly Riesling." That translates as a wine with a little spritz, a touch of carbonation, like some good Gewurztraminers. The fruity Riesling's flavors are heightened by the bubbles. The 2011 vintage (that would be a 2010 in terms of our growing season in the Northern hemisphere) is 89 percent Riesling and 11 percent Muscat Gordo, vinified in stainless steel. A hint of sweet makes this an excellent companion to that curry. Good citrus notes in the aroma and on the palate.
Another winning Riesling comes from Pacific Rim, in the Columbia River Valley, made from grapes grown organically and without pesticides. The winery also lets its 150 sheep to roam free in the vineyard as weed-killers. The Washington state winery is located in Richland, and the wine has a bit of sweetness to it, call it medium-dry, but it's extremely fresh and tasty, with grapefruit in the aroma and some pineapple on the palate.
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ZOUNDS AND GADZOOKS, IT'S A ZORK: The search for tight, inexpensive, easy-to-open substitutes for cork continues. Don Sebastiani and Sons, operating out of Sonoma, has an interesting new closure, called a Zork, on wines dubbed Project Paso because they include Paso Robles grapes. Priced at under $15, the new wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and a Red Blend that is made from eight different groups.
The Zork is an artificial cork with a flanged top that is easy to grip and to remove from the bottle. Keeping the wine free from air is a plastic cover that resembles the sealing wax once used to seal letters. It peels off easily and the cork can be reused to keep the wine sufficiently fresh for several days.
The wines are tasty, especially the red blend. It's primarily Grenache (37 percent), but also includes Zinfandel (16), Petite Sirah (14), Mourvedre (11), Barbera (9), Lagrein (8), Tempranillo (3) and Sangiovese (2). Lagrein is a relative of the Petite Sirah first grown in the Italian Tyrol, and also planted in small amounts and used for blending in the U.S. and Australia.
The Sebastianis also have an even less-expensive collection of wines under the Smoking Loon label, ranging from $8-$10. In the same price range, I think the Bogle wines are tastier and show more fruit, but Smoking Loon is passable.