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22 November 2006

Phat Pheast

Turkey Blah blah blah what wine to serve with your turkey blah blah.

There is always something annoying about wine opi to the turkey-centric thanksgiving dinner.  Take a step back and think for a moment:

Just what exactly does turkey taste like?

If we’re talking industrial, DD-breasted birds from Butterball, I think the best flavor descriptors are either a) watery, faintly poultry-like or b) dry, faintly poultry-like.  What this means from a wine perspective is this: Damn near any wine will be fine with most turkey.  Bring me an heritage gobbler, and then we can really talk wine & turkey pairing.  However, for the best Thanksgiving wine experience, I suggest focusing on the sides. 

Here is a handy-dandy list of suggested wine-to-side-dish pairings:

  • Stuffing (traditional/Stove-Top style): Young, crisp Pinot Noir or Alsatian Riesling
  • Stuffing (low country-style with sausage and sage): Chianti or California white Rhone blend
  • Butter/buttermilk mashed potatoes + brown gravy: Cava, Cremant, Barbera d’Asti or d’Alba
  • Roasted sweet potatoes (not yams): Beaujolais Cru, Tempranillo (e.g. Rioja from Spain)
  • Candied yams: Superfruity California Merlot, Australian Shiraz
  • Cornbread & butter: Young, un-oaked Chardonnay
  • Jell-O Salad: tapwater, Mountain Dew

Finally, a good rule of thumb for Thanksgiving imbibing is, “When in doubt, go light, fruity and/or bubbly.”

Three wines that will be on my Turkey Day table:

  1. Segura Viudas Aria Brut Nature, NV ($10)
  2. Domaine Weinbach Riesling Cuvee Theo, 2004 ($30)
  3. Georg Breuer Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir), 2004 ($20) [German Pinot Noir - give it a try!]

Tell me what wines will be lubricating your feast of thanks tomorrow.


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I usually like to offer a white and a red, and living in Santa Barbara my first thought is always the Burgundian wines. I have a delicious 2004 Chardonnay from Ken Volk that won some gold awards at Orange County; I also have the ever-satisfying Chardonnay "Cuvée Diana" from Longoria. I imagine either one of those will do for a white. On the red side, I have a 2004 Pinot Noir La Coline Vyd from Tantara -- Tantara was a great hit last year at Thanksgiving, so perhaps I should repeat it again. Or I might get out a Sea Smoke.

Before dinner might be an opportunity to try out a little Italian "toasting wine" that Ardison Phillips turned us on to -- Moscato D'Asti Moncalvino. Slightly sparkling, sweet but not cloying, and very low in alcohol (in the 5-6% range), it's a lovely way to start out a lengthy feast.

And for dessert (if we get that far...)? The possibilities are varied, but I might lean toward a bottle I brought back from Vancouver last January -- Paradise Ranch Okanagan Valley Icewine.


hey - good call on the Tempranillo with the roasted yams! But where's the Grenache? I can't imagine a roasted stuffed turkey without Grenache, but that's just me. (Wineguy: seek ye the Jaffurs 2004 Grenache.) Have a happy! - j


At Tarragon Restaurant in Sunnyvale, I expect to pair my gobbler tomorrow evening with Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin. Being that it's my mom whom I'm entertaining, we'll just order a half bottle.

But after I return home, I'm going with a red. Anything red.

A thoughtful post, Beau.


We're taking a couple of local bottles to the feast in Pittsburgh tomorrow. Both are from Chrisman Mill Winery; one is their Ensemble white (made from Chardonnay grapes, if memory serves), the other is their Norton red.


2004 Byron Pinot Noir. Yummy. I'm got three ready to pour.


After dinner, try dunking your biscotti in the Moscato. Totally unnecessary but damn tasty. And I envy your Okanagan Icewine selection - sounds perfect.

D'oh! I have to confess to nearly always overlooking Grenache. Why is that?

Can't go wrong with the Widow. But splurge for a whole bottle - it is a holiday after all (and maybe mom will be buying??)

Y'unz have a happy turkey day!

Savor the Pinot.

Happy Thanksgiving fellow imbibers.

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