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Thanksgiving Wine Selection - made easy!


Thanksgiving Day is the ONLY holiday every single American celebrates.  It is a day observed ladling up traditions at every opportunity; even if you're not doing what historically you have done, admit it - you're thinking or reminiscing about those things! But when it comes to wine selection there tends to be less tradition in play. For some that is the best part of the holiday - the vinous world is your playground! For others, what to serve or what to bring can overwhelm. We get it.

As part of our "made easy" series, we are offering up a few suggestions for going home with a winner or two.

If we can help with your specific feast or preferences, whether a consultation or shopping or both, don't hesitate to Click 2 Inquire. We relish overturning every rock (no minerality pun intended) to find stellar wines perfect for this time of year. And our holiday special is in play NOW through December 31, 2014!

Winning Whites

Noble white varietals are thought the darlings of Thanksgiving. The best hail from cooler climates, offer mesmerizing aromatics which lure you in, are lower in alcohol, a tiny bit "fleshy," yet deliver a crisp, mouthwatering brightness.

- Et Fille "Deux Vert Vineyard" Viognier ~ Willamette Valley, OR

- Szoke "Mantra" Pinot Gris ~ Hungary

Weinguut Jurgen Leiner "Handwerk" Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) ~ Pfalz, Germany

Gundlach Bundschu DRY Gewurtztraminer ~ Sonoma, California

Rabble-Rousing Reds

We hang our hat on discovering earthy, lightER bodied reds - with backbone. Beware of selecting a wine that's too big, which will just weigh you down given all of the food before you.

- Ravines Pinot Noir ~ Fingerlakes, NY

- Dominique Piron Coteaux Bourguignons ~ Burgundy, France

- Elena Walch Schiava ~ Alto Adige, Italy

- Ameztoi "Stimatum" Txakolina ~ Getariako Txakolina, Spain

Remember, with such a big, intense meal with so many different parts and varied traditions, there are countless wines to choose from. When it come to Food & Wine Pairing, the endgame is BALANCE!



Fun in the sun - with red wine!

It's summer in the city and yet I am drinking just about equal parts red, white and rose. What gives? The temperature - of my red wines, that is! Talking to people every day about wine I know there is a misconception out there that red wine shouldn't go in the fridge. Believe me when I tell you that's far from the truth. Personally speaking, I've found the notion is reinforced when you go out to eat. More often than not if you go to a nice restaurant they are missing the mark with the temperature they serve their wines; it is a challenge for them to keep their glass pours cold enough because they are often refilling glasses or uncorking new bottles and the wine either never goes back into the wine fridge due to the turnover, or it comes from too warm a place on the shelf behind the bar where it is easily accessible.

At home you have the 'luxury' of getting it right. Remember, nowadays room temp is higher than it used to be. And in the summer that's even higher! My house sits at about 80 degrees during the day. My cellar is around 72 degrees in the summer. Red wine (depending on the grape and region it comes from) shouldn't really be served higher than 60 degrees! Here's a chart which breaks it down fairly well.

If you're wondering if it really matters at the end of the day, it does. A wine that's served too warm is wearing a mask - none of its personality has a chance to show let alone shine. Wake up the wine by simply putting it in the fridge for 20 or 30 minutes to get it to serving temperature. That's about the time it takes me to kick off my shoes after my day, flip through the mail and get dinner started. All you have to do is grab the bottle off the rack and get it in the fridge before you start your Unwinding Process!

Of course, there are also wines that fall into the "Chillable Reds" category. These wines don't just loose their mask they virtually frollick in the glass once they get the 40 minute fridge treatment! Beaujolais (France - grape type: Gamay) and Loire Valley Cabernet Franc are fans of a little enclosed "AC" aka your fridge; Nebbiolo, Barbera, Sangiovese, Sciava and Frappato are Italian grapes that are also chill-loving; Spanish Tempranillo that hasn't seen a lot of oak mind it either. If you are entertaining grab the chill bucket and give the wine an ice bath for 10 minutes and you are good to go. Refill the bucket with ice and let your guests enjoy the good life - and learn a new trick!



turning the corner

Many people assume that wine professionals consume all styles of wine in their leisure time.  I am here to tell you this is not so. Wine professionals tend to respect all styles of wine. I.e. a wine can be well made, show all of the right varietal nuances it should as well as (what we call) a sense of place (terroir)), but it may not tickle our own fancy. Remember we are actually in the business of wine; while I don't know anyone who isn't also passionate about our field, the reality is, when we come home at the end of the day, having a glass of wine is not "new" to us - we've been working at it all day. Literally. (I'm sure I've said it before here, but there is a lot of crappy wine on the market. It is our job to suss it out and filter it out of the pipeline so that you, too, will not suffer.) As such, we are certainly apt to discriminate (possibly even more) when choosing a wine to enjoy at our leisure.

This all said, we are human, too. Our preferences can shift, just like yours. And respect can turn to personal appreciation.

For my part I've turned the corner this year in a few areas. One particularly worth noting as fall begins to knock on our door is Beaujolais. Beaujolais is a village in France that is part of Burgundy making a style of wine by the same name from a grape called Gamay. That's right - while Burgundy should be directly associated with Chardonnay (on the white side of the spectrum) and Pinot Noir (on the red side of the spectrum), Beaujolais itself is an area that is just north of the Rhone. Its climate is its own, one where Gamay has its optimal home.

Beaujolais is perhaps known best for the unique winemaking style they employ there - carbonic maceration. Long story short, this process means that the grape juice ferments inside of the grape skins. This process creates a style of wine that is much higher toned, bursting with fruit and few tannins. Apply this process to an already fruity, high acid, light skinned grape (Gamay) and you have a wine that surely follows suit.

For a long time I could respect these wines but struggled to get on board despite the fact that there is actually a fairly dynamic range of flavors/styles within the Beaujolais category itself. (I'll save those differences and why for another post.) Suffice it to say, I've turned the corner. We've encountered several wines of late that have less of the funky circus peanuts meets bubblegum flavor profile I find off-putting - so much so I've not only enjoyed several Beaujolais at home, but I've even found myself opting for it off of a wine list full of other desirable options!

My point today, dear reader, is you never know when you're going to have a new appreciation for something even after years of being in your 'rut'. So keep tasting, keep exploring, and keep an open mind! You are apt to discover new friends.



Women and (Red) Wine (Pairing) - plus Dr. Vino's sipped/spit list

How many articles have you read where the bone being picked is over who gets the wine list in a restaurant, the man or the woman? This week I stumbled on another, which parlayed a bit off of the recent Brigham study about women, wine and their weight. Take a look at this one and report below what is your experience on the topic. I can't help but wonder if this is a regional/cultural thing, because I can't remember the last time someone didn't hand me the wine list. I have no real beef on this one - at least here in Boston. You? Next up, if you don't yet know what are some great options for pairing wine with fish - or are looking for at least one new idea - check out this piece.

Last but not least, if you enjoy a good laugh with your wine, go here for Dr. Vino's recent "sipped or spit" piece. For me this occasional Vino post theme is a lovely, not so guilty, pleasure!



"family" wine emerges in MA market

Rethore Davy GamayA few months ago I discovered a wine bearing my family name, Rethore, would be coming to market here in Massachusetts. Tra-la! I had my father do a bit of more specific digging (we knew we were French, but...) and learned my family is actually from the Loire Valley; long story short, it is possible the folks who make this wine are, in fact, cousins. (See! I knew it was in my blood...) The Loire Valley is lesser known for its Gamay wines. (Recall Beaujolais in Burgundy is the appellation in France where these wines are at their best.) The Loire is better known for Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and, for the reds, Cabernet Franc.  Yet, Rethore-Davy has crafted a Gamay for the red-wine-drinking public.

Finally landing on our shores, I had the opportunity to try the Rethore-Davy 2007 Gamay last Friday night. And it was exactly as it should be: bubblegum-flavored, tart and a bit high in acid. Not my favorite grape, that Gamay. But it is wicked cheap! For about $11 those who enjoy a solid expression of Gamay can enjoy the Rethore-Davy here in Massachusetts and possibly elsewhere in the US.

A bit anticlimactic, I have to admit. But cool nonetheless. Perhaps one day soon I'll get to try their Sauvignon Blanc? (That one seemed to get a solid review from a fellow blogger.) Here's hoping!

Is wine in your lineage? Have you had the chance to taste an offering?



Drinking red after Memorial Day

Lambrusco at Pour Favor's March Wine & Style eventFolks have been coming by the shop with great gusto for warmer temps;  and they have been seeking out red wines for the occasion! No, we're not just talking about "BBQ wines". We're talking about wines to sip and enjoy with or without a meal while you sit on your porch watching the sun go down. Today I'm going to share some lesser known varietals or unique regional offerings (hybrids or blends) perfect for just such an occasion. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is taking this list (or a modified version, as you see fit) to your local shop to see which offerings they have on offer. These are some cool wines to keep your summer fresh - but they aren't necessarily available at every shop. They are, no less, worth seeking out.

Zweigelt. Austrian fruity goodness. Some earth. Often a touch tart. Lively. A hybrid of  St.-Laurent and Blaufrankish.

Dole. A Swiss wine, which blends Pinot Noir and Gamay. Fresh, ripe redberry fruits and cherries. Distinct in its own right, it has a unique identity I think many palates will embrace.

Dornfelder. Some argue this is the new "hottness" out of Germany. Another red berry-fruited wonder, but with a great spice. Terrifically light on its feet - without ever leaving planet Earth.

Gamay. Low tannin, light style red. Very fruity and THE grape in Beaujolais red wines. Seek out Beaujolais Villages offerings to get a bit more depth in your glass (aka a dash of Burgundian earthiness).

Lambrusco. An Italian, frizzante style wine. Vinified sweet and dry - so ask to accommodate your taste or intentions. A lovely spectrum of depth and redberry fruit flavors on the market.

Some of these may be familiar to you as we've bantered about several in the past. But I've been known to get stuck in traditional ruts when on a mission for an aperitif or a lighter style red to accompany a meal on a hot day. So, go on! It's a big bad world of refreshing RED wine out there.  Remember these options and... experiment!

What other reds do you like on a hot day? There are several more out there... please chime in!