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2011 Thanksgiving Hit List

Beth Ribblett

Those of you who shop with us know that we just love food and wine pairing so helping to make your selections for holiday meals is a real treat. What should you drink with all of those sides and mounds of turkey? There are so many answers to that question that sometimes the best choice would be to open a bubbly, white, red and rose, put them on the table and let people chose for themselves because it’s all about personal preference!

Every year I give a few pairing tips with recommendations from our selection.  To spice things up a bit this year I've asked everyone on staff to make their personal picks.   We’ve chosen traditional and some more adventurous options at different price points so there is something for palate and every wallet.  Each of the wines will have a tag with that silly turkey photo above and if you purchase any four of these wines for your celebration, we’ll give you a 10% discount. And we’ll be featuring 3 of these wines in our Wednesday Nite Flites so come in and try a few to see if they'll suit your menu!

1.  For the wide array of flavors on the Thanksgiving table, sparkling wines are a no-brainer. Bright acidity, fruit and yeasty undertones make bubbly extremely food-friendly. Especially good are Brut Rosé and Blanc de Noir, which can take you from the lox or chevre hors d'oeuvre to the vinaigrette salad right through the turkey and potatoes and onto the pie. The Pinot Noir grapes in these wines provide body, some tannin for texture, red-fruit character, complexity and acid balance. And in general, the bubbles from natural carbonation from the yeast, in concert with the wine's acidity, help cleanse the palate for the next course.

Our Picks: Beth: Laetitia Sparkling Rose, $24.50; Mike: Nicolas Feuillate Champagne, $34.99; Matt:  Segura Viudus Reserve Cava, $9.99;  Kerry: Gosset Brut Excellence, $49.99; Michelle: Basca Cava, $17.99

White wines with lively fruit and acidity and little to no oak are also versatile. With its aromas and flavors of citrus, apple and pear and zippy acidity plus herbal notes, Sauvignon Blanc pairs with everything from butternut-squash soup to green salad to turkey with a dressing made of briny oysters and herbs. Even notoriously tough-to-pair Brussels sprouts will sing with Sauvignon Blanc. Alsatian and German whites like Rieslings, Gewurtztraminer, Pinot Gris with their tropical fruit, citrus, green-apple, pear and mineral notes combined with thirst quenching acidity, work with almost any Thanksgiving dish except the cranberry sauce.

Our Pick:  Mike: 2009 August Kessler R Kabinett Riesling, $14.50;  Matt: 2009 Vending Machine Winery Loula's Revenge, $25.99;  Beth/Michelle: 2009 Királyudvar Tokaji Furmint Sec, $19.99; Kerry:  Chehalem Chemistry, $14.50

Serious dry rosés made from Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Syrah or Mourvedre grapes or blended proprietary rosés have acidity to balance the citrus, red and stone fruits and usually sport structure and a long finish but light tannins.


Our Pick: Mike/Michelle: 2010 Taburno Aglianico Rosato, $14.99; Matt: 2010 Codici Rosato, $11.99; Beth/Kerry: 2010 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Rose, $19.99;

Fruity reds like Beaujolais are a favorite "go-to" pick for Thanksgiving. They bring soft, easy drinking affordability to the table that's perfect for the cornucopia of flavors and large group setting that Thanksgiving entails. With their bright fruit flavors, they can perk up the milder dishes and enough have structure to hold their own with the more robust courses made with sausage and herbs. As an alternative, a good Dolcetto or lighter style Barbera can offer similar characteristics and are real crowd pleasers.

Our Pick: Mike: 2007 Cascina Delle Rose Dolcetto, $16.99;  Matt: 2009 Santo Cristo Garnacha, $9.99; Michelle 2010 Pierre Chermette Beaujolais, $15.99; Beth: 2009 Centonze Frappato, $15.99; Kerry: 2009 Palacios Petalos, $22.99

Syrah and Zinfandel have the spice, dark fruit and berries to bring out the best in cranberry sauces as long as the wine has soft tannins and ripe, forward fruit and the sauce is balanced -- moderately tart and not too sweet.  An alternative could be some of the spicy reds from Southern Italy.

Our Picks:  Mike/Beth: 2009 CS Cellars Vindetta, $19.99;  Matt: 2006 Cellar Masroig Sycar, $21.50; Michelle: 2009 Marietta Sonoma County Zinfandel; Kerry: 2007 Constant-Duquesnoy Vinsobres $20.99

The most popular single wine to choose for Thanksgiving is Pinot Noir. This versatile varietal has tangy red fruit of strawberry and cherry, with nice acidity to balance and low levels of tannin. With elegance and a touch of earthiness to lend complexity, Pinot Noir will subtly support most things on the Thanksgiving table without overpowering them. Cranberry sauce and dessert are exceptions again, with the sauce too tart and the dessert too sweet. Something a little more adventurous, but with a similar profile could be an Etna Rosso or a Sicilian Cerasuolo.

Our Pick: Mike: 2009 Dominio IV Love Lies Bleeding, $22.99;  Matt: 2009 Apaltagua Pinot Noir, $10.50; Michelle: 2009 Stoneleigh Pinot Noir, $14.50; Beth: 2008 Moises Holmes Hill Pinot Noir, $36.99; Kerry: 2010 Terre Nere Etna Rosso, $18.50
 
So there you have it! But remember the most important thing is to drink wines that make you happy with people that make you smile, because that is what it's all about!