Forget the stress of matching wine; offer choices at Thanksgiving
The traditional Thanksgiving feast muddles flavors and personalities more so than any other holiday meal. To avoid another source of stress, forget trying to select perfect Thanksgiving wines.
Instead, shop early and offer wines across the spectrum — white, rosé and red — to please every taste. Then just relax, enjoy the meal, and give thanks for the opportunity to share food and wine in peace in this otherwise chaotic world.
For the whites, start with the 2014 Famille Hugel Gentil “Hugel,” Alsace, France (5259; on sale: $11.99). The Hugel family traces its roots to 1639 when Hans Ulrich Hugel settled in Alsace after the Thirty Years War devastated the region. With his son, he established the Hugel “brand.” After 12 generations, engaging family members still operate out of the quaint village of the Riquewihr while carrying the Alsace banner worldwide.
This wine blends classic Alsace varieties grown in clay and limestone soils before hand-harvesting. Gewürztraminer and muscat contribute spicy aromas, pinot gris adds fruity depth, riesling adds elegance and, finally, sylvaner and pinot blanc contribute freshness. With hard-earned savoir-faire, the Hugels create a harmonious whole. Enticing aromas of roses, peaches and citrus lead to delicious, crisp citrus and tropical-fruit flavors. Zesty mineral notes balance the dry finish. Highly recommended.
Also from Alsace, the 2014 Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Blanc “Les Princes Abbés,” Alsace, France (Luxury 99212; $15.99) delivers a light-golden color with delightful pear and apple aromas. Delicious fruity flavors balance with pure minerality and a touch of creaminess through the dry, soft finish.Recommended.
The 2014 Thierry et Pascale Matrot Bourgogne Blanc, France (Luxury 73018; $19.99) comes from chardonnay grapes grown near the famed vineyards of Meursault in Burgundy, France. The wine’s light-golden color unfolds light citrus and earthy notes, bright citrus flavors with crisp acidity. There are fresh mineral notes through a clean, dry finish. Recommended.
The 2012 Domaine des Baumard Savennières, France (Luxury 99310; $24.99) comes from chenin blanc vines overlooking the Loire River. They toil in slate, sandstone and sand over “mother rock” of rhyolite. The latter is an ancient volcanic rock resembling hard granite but rich in silica. To force the vines to sink roots deep into the mineral laden subsurface, winegrower Florent Baumard uses organic methods to create a vineyard alive with microbial-rich top soils.
After hand-picking and sorting the fruit, gentle, pneumatic pressing takes place before fermentation and aging in stainless steel. Spending time on the lees, i.e., spent fine yeasts, before bottling adds richness and creamy notes.
The wine’s light golden color offers ripe citrus and subtle flinty aromas. Ripe grapefruit and peach flavors balance with vibrant acidity and mouthwatering mineral notes. With every sip, pure citrus fruit and freshness resonate in the long, lingering and completely dry finish. Splendid wine. Highly recommended.
For a tasty rosé, try the 2015 Dominio de Punctum Lobetia Rosado Vino de la Tierra de Castilla, Spain (1569; $9.99). Made from garnacha grapes grown organically in a cool, yet sunny, climate with dry sand and limestone vineyards south of Madrid, this delightful wine’s light salmon-pink color unfolds light cherry aromas. Tart red-fruit and peach flavors balance with crisp acidity and a dry, refreshing finish. Recommended.
Turning to the reds, the N.V. Our Daily Bread “Zin,” Zinfandel, California comes from fruit grown organically without synthetic chemicals. The dark ruby color offers vibrant aromas of raspberries and brambles. Fresh berry flavors, bright acidity and moderate tannins meld perfectly around only 12.5 percent alcohol. Bottling occurs without sulfites to ensure optimum fruity freshness and pleasure. This is about as pure as it gets for delicious, unadorned zinfandel intended for simple enjoyment with good food. Give thanks for a California wine free from hype and hustle. Recommended.
The 2015 Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages, France (7208; on sale: $10.99) comes from a warm, outstanding vintage which accorded tremendous quality to otherwise modest wines such as this. Made from gamay grapes from young vines grown on primarily granite soils, the wine offers a saturated ruby color piping with raspberry and strawberry aromas. Juicy red fruit with pleasant earthy touches balance with fresh acidity and fine tannins. Delicious! Highly recommended.
Dave DeSimone is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.