Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - Thanksgiving Wine and Recipes with Dunk and Crumble

It's here, it's here!  T-day!  Are you ready?  Recipes prepped, table set, wine chosen?

If you're looking for any last minute inspiration, my friend Molly from Dunk and Crumble is sharing some amazing recipes and asked me to jump in with suggested wine pairings.  Check it out on her blog here!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Wine and cheese, just two of the many things I'm thankful for this year!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - What to Drink for Thanksgiving 2015 Edition

It's a toss up, but Thanksgiving might just edge out Christmas as my favorite holiday.  It's the official kick-off to the holiday season, it's my favorite meal, and I love the tradition of it all.  As I've gotten older, I've started to appreciate the wine pairings that go along with it as well.

I had so much fun hosting a Thanksgiving wine tasting for a client last week, I wanted to share my picks for what to drink with this year's Thanksgiving dinner.  

I wanted to play on traditional Thanksgiving pairings, but also explore some variations in regions and styles.  

A few general rules of thumb for pairings:  

1.  Remember at the end of the day, it's celebration, don't get too caught up in what to pair or perfect matching, drink what you like and enjoy the time spent with family and friends!

2.  When planning for your party, figure one bottle of wine per person.

3.  Wines should be lighter in alcohol, this is a long meal and a long day of celebrating, you wouldn't want your guests getting a little too toasted before the end of the meal ;-)


As guests arrived I poured a simple Italian Prosecco to start things off.  Bubbles are so much fun to kick off any celebration (or to take a standard night at home up a notch).  While Prosecco is great on its own, the play of a touch of nuttiness combined with a bit of sweetness is a great compliment to many traditional Thanksgiving side dishes.  


We kicked off the official tasting with a flight of Rieslings.  The mix of body, weight, spice, and rich fruit of Riesling stand up well to the richness of the Thanksgiving meal.  

First off, a bone-dry Reisling from Austria.  The 2014 Leth Riesling comes from the Wagram region in the northwest corner of Austria.  High-acid, light bodied, with citrus and tropical flavors balanced with a nice minerality.  This Reisling will challenge everything you think you knew about Reisling (it's not sweet!).

Next up, we compared the dry Riesling with a semi-sweet version from Dr. Konstantin Frank in NY's Finger Lakes region.  Dr. Frank is known as the father of conventional grape growing in the Northeast, he proved many naysayers that wine grapes could grow and thrive in the cooler climate.  The slight residual sugar gives this wine a sweetness that stands up well to the presence of fruit, sugar, and salt in the meal.  

Moving on to the reds,  we tasted a 2013 Beaujolais from Chateau Cambon.  Many of you may know Beaujolais as the traditional "Thanksgiving" wine, with Beaujolais nouveau being released on the third Thursday in November offering a preview of the most recent vintage.  This Beaujolais from Chateau Cambon is what is known as a Beaujolais Village, hailing from a vineyard in between the famous villages of Morgon and Brouilly.  The wine had a high acidity and nice raspberry flavors with a bit of minerality as well.

Our last wine was a 2013 Pinot Noir from Montinore Estate in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.  Typically, Oregon Pinots are going to be slightly more earthy than their California counter-parts, and more in line with the old-world style.  Another high-acid profile, with slightly darker fruits and a smoky, mineral finish.            



The earthy mushrooms in this brie paired so well with the Pinot and Beaujolais!
Aged Gouda is also a great match for higher-acid reds.
To finish things off, I poured a dessert wine from Orin Swift.  Their non-vintage Mute is a dessert wine made in a style similar to port.  Made from predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon blended with 4 Portugese varietals and fortified with brandy.  Many may choose a dessert wine or port to cap off your meal and be perfectly satisfied with that alone, for those that are looking to pair with a sweet bite, this is delicious with pecan pie or the obvious chocolate pairing!

Winning combination to finish off any celebration!
If you have any tips or tricks for what you like to drink I'd love to hear, leave in the comments below!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - 2008 Urbión Vendimia Rioja Crianza

Something new and different for me this week!  My friends came over last night and I grabbed a random bottle from my wine stash.  I honestly can't remember when, where, or how I came to acquire this bottle of wine, but I was pleasantly surprised!  You've probably gathered that when I'm not drinking CA wines, I tend towards France.  But Spain is quickly becoming a close second favorite from the old world.  

This 2008 Rioja from Urbión smells like a mix of red fruits and chocolate.  The palette was bright and juicy, nice balanced acidity, hardly any tannins, and a silky smooth finish that tasted a bit like balsamic vinegar (in a caramelized syrupy way).  Such an easy wine to drink.  I'm supposed to be detoxing this week but I poured myself a second glass….oops!


Wine:  2008 Urbión Vendimia Rioja Crianza
Purchased:  Can't remember!
Price:  $18.99 retail

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - Lewis Cellars 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

My family friends live in New Jersey and offer a wonderful respite from city life.  My "country home" as I like to call it; comfy and cozy and every visit is capped off with a delicious, home-cooked meal.  And when I'm really lucky, there's a bottle of wine pulled from the cellar!

Last weekend we enjoyed a bottle of Lewis Cellars 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.  Everything I love in a Napa Valley Cab, it was rich and luscious, with flavors of currants and dark plum, tobacco, mocha and a hint of oak.  The tannins were still there, but had softened from what I imagine they were when this was bottled.  



Every sip was a dream, and it paired perfectly with the beautiful standing rib roast!  A spectacular Sunday dinner indeed, I need to get out to the country more often!    

Wine:  2007 Lewis Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Purchased:  Enjoyed with dinner, latest vintage available here
Price:  $90 retail
 

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