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!


 

Wine Pairs with Pop Tarts – and 6 other “cool” Back 2 School foods

apple-pop-tarts-5From cronuts to gourmet grilled cheese and everything in between, Chefs are having a blast in the ever-evolving, no-holds-barred 20Teens playground. The more kooky or ‘old school classic’, the greater the delighting riff for foodies and the casual consumer alike.

Whether an individual trend is coming (donuts, cronuts and Pop Tarts) or going (cupcakes!), wine has been around for 12 THOUSAND years – so it has outlived every up and down and continues to find its place in our hearts.

Here are 7 Worthy Wine Pairings not only to get you through the first full week back to school, but that give you key street cred as you and your tastebuds get throttled into Hipdom!

 

Monday

Classic Peanut Butter & Grape Jelly: Festive and fruity Lambrusco

Gourmet Peanut Butter & Apricot Jam: Exotic and spiced Gewurtztraminer

 

Tuesday

Ants on a Log: Sassy, grassy Gruner Veltliner

 

Wednesday

Apple Cider Donuts: Appley, Pear-y, bright and lactic White Burgundy

 

Thursday

Sarma Pistachio Pop Tarts: Fleshy and zippy Spanish Albarino

 

Friday

Poutine: Gamey yet silky Cotes du Rhone Rouge

 

Saturday

Gourmet “Spanish Fig & Olive” Grilled Cheese, w/ grated Manchego cheese: bold yet refined Priorat or Montsant red

 

Sunday

Reinvented “BLT”, aka zucchini latke, heirloom tomato and sweet corn custard w/bacon vinaigrette ~ Rustic and charming Nebbiolo

 

 

And, guess what?! These suggested wine pairings are just a starting point. There are many other fun directions to take, too. With wine, the options can be endless. So get out on the playground and start swinging!
 
 

Apply the Rule of 3 to discover Food/Wine Pairings you will relish

We recently taught a wine seminar at Harvard University celebrating the Art of Food/Wine Pairings. Our muse? West Coast Wines! California, Washington and Oregon were all gainfully represented.

The red wines we shared we shared with Harvard students during a recent Wine Seminar we taught.

The red West Coast Wines we shared – the whites were chill’n!

It was not lost on us that the underlying vinous theme focused on wines from a part of the world that is quite large and quite diverse; it’s a culinary Choose Your Own Adventure. And so the food pairing principle “if it grows together it goes together” is, quite simply, harder to exemplify. Not to worry!

If you cannot at least start out PAIRING BY PLACE and, therefore, tapping into the local cuisine which blossoms naturally with wines grown in a particular region, then you must make a go of it by applying one of these principles to achieve a balanced, complementary, aw-eliciting experience:

 

PAIR TO COMPARE.

Consider the weight of the dish* (usually taking into consideration how it is prepared (e.g. steamed vs. grilled vs. roasted) and if it is dressed in a rich sauce or just a squeeze of lemon). You’ll want the weight of the wine to match the weight of the dish. Consider also the acidity in the dish. Is the dish bright? Does your mouth water at the thought of it (like the thought of grapefruit, tomato sauce or dill pickles)? If it is a high acid dish, you’ll want a high acid wine. What about sweetness? BBQ sauce is Zinfandel-loving because Zin tends to be bold, bursting with ripe and/or dried fruits. While the wine may be vinified dry, the flavor experience from all that fruit complements the sweetness of the BBQ sauce. Last but not least, consider the ‘meatiness’ of it. Is the bold factor dialed all the way up? Whether it is a hearty vegetarian dish like sauteed portabellas and eggplant, or roast lamb and potatoes, the more savory the dish the more tannin-loving (aka how dry your tongue feels after you swallow) it will be. High tannin/very dry wines marry perfectly with hearty, “meaty” fare.

 

PAIR TO CONTRAST.

Alternatively you’ll want to create balance by contrasting what’s on your plate. Consider the saltiness of the dish. Fried foods, often Chinese fare and meats like Ham or charcuterie tend to be saltier and require a wine with a sweeter or more fruit-forward composition to create a harmonious palate experience.

 

While these principles are sure to get you started, there’s something awesome to be said for the exploration itself, for figuring out how flavors jive – for finding out the hard way, and if you’re lucky, for finding out the optimal way. Each revelation is a win in itself – inspiration promotes celebration (and keeping at it)! So most important, HAVE FUN on the journey.

 

 *   By “dish” we don’t just mean the protein on the plate! Consider the sides as well (sometimes they are more interesting and fun to pair off of), or what components you want on your fork – the ‘bite’ in its entirety.