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Pour Favor is a boutique wine tasting and consulting company based in the Greater Boston area.
Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or want to add a little more zip to your social club gathering, Pour Favor can help. Contact us for more personal attention - or follow Rebecca’s blog to learn more about the wonderful world of wine!
When we received the call to help with a private wine tasting to be held in November, naturally an Autumnal theme came to mind. But with Thanksgiving not so far off, the event also provided the perfect opportunity to introduce guests to some stellar wines they could keep in mind for their own festivities – and would be sure to WOW their own friends and family come Turkey Time.
In classic form, we started the event with a sparkling wine to set the tone for the evening and whet everyone’s whistles. Who doesn’t appreciate walking into someone’s home and being handed a glass of bubbly?! Not-a-one guest at this affair, that’s for sure!
Off to a festive start, thereafter the focus was on wines that:
1. Pair naturally with traditional fare, and
2. Are predisposed to keeping you from getting weighed down.
Said fare (and occasion) checks that box in and of itself! A big feast is best mitigated by lifting, lower-alcohol, less-robust wines which, in their own right, never compromise on flavor or nuance. Meanwhile, there’s no need to have 101 different wines on offer. So we reigned in the options and focused on wines that were sure to be hits, no matter the palate in the room:
WHITE. We chose a DRY Riesling from the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. The Riesling grape is by nature low in sugar and high in acidity, and plays nicely in the salty/rich foods sandbox. These attributes predispose the varietal to Thanksgiving food-friendliness, and without use of oak during fermentation, helps keep the wine ‘leaner’ and you from feeling so full. Offering a DRY style also solves the Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay crisis you may feel you face – it offers a clean, tart zip over a fleshier-textured wine satiating both preferences among guests. And everyone enjoys a pleasant surprise that the wine in their glass is actually Riesling!
Ravines Wine Cellars’ Dry Riesling adorned our tasting table during the event because it packs such power without giving up finesse – but we also chose this one over others the world wide because it is produced domestically – and there’s nothing more appropriate at Thanksgiving than to enjoy a stellar, American-made wine. (In preparing this post we discovered Eric Asimov quite agreed with our specific choice, too!)
RED. The best domestic Pinot Noir arguably comes from the Willamette Valley, Oregon. The natural cornucopia of flavors that this red grape offers especially when grown in the Willamette Valley are bar-none optimal for a classic Thanksgiving meal: cranberry, red apple skin, dried leaves and a gentle kick of spice are tasting notes we shared during the event; certainly you agree these are aromas and flavors predisposed to a Thanksgiving spread.
Seeking out your local fine wine shop and soliciting a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir recommendation will certainly add The WOW Factor to your table. There are both known, artisanal favorites and hidden gems among more usual suspects depending on what’s available in your market. Use the holiday as an excuse to try a new to you or lesser known producer. (Or, if you see a selection from the optimal 2008 vintage, go for that one!)
With these foolproof tips we know we’ve set your table for success! But most important, we wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday!
Imagine our delight then when a recent client opted for a White Wine Only theme. Their trajectory was more practical given the scale of their event (200+ people): to keep the carpets clean. But nottaone guest “complained” reds weren’t being served, and in fact, the lack of red “distraction” wholly encouraged everyone to just dive in and embrace what was before them. Each of the wines were held in esteem and impressed a certain ‘ah-ha’ moment for the depth of interest they imparted. Let’s just say, guests kept coming back to see what was next in the lineup.
With the smell of autumn clearly in the air these days and especially with a warming sun still abounding, don’t hesitate to saddle up to your fine wine shop’s white wine cooler. Harvest fare is an excuse in and of itself to open that door!
Pumpkin Soup with a(n aged) Jura white? ROCKSTAR COMBO. A lush and lively White Burgundy would be a delight, too.
Need something to get the party started first? Westport Rivers RJR Brut (specifically) offers a cornucopia of autumnal flavors, plus an authentic toastiness and a killer mousse.
Especially as Thanksgiving beckons, don’t underestimate the power of the Finger Lakes region of New York, or the Willamette Valley, Oregon, too. These regions produce killer white wines that are destined for greatness on your dining room table (and will give your carpets a break, even if your guests don’t)!