The Wine Cellar: To satisfy a crowd at Thanksgiving, offer different wines
Traditional Thanksgiving dinner provides one of the year’s most enjoyable but daunting meals. Contrasting aromas and flavors in traditional dishes combine with a diversity of tastes with guests from far and wide.
Your relatives might never see eye to eye on their preferred glass of wine. Take the best tack by offering a variety of wines to placate all parties concerned. Wines with contrasting colors, aromas and flavors enliven the conversation.
With a little effort and early shopping, please the multitude of assembled tastes without breaking the bank. Just relax, have fun and try:
The 2013 Eberle Muscat Canelli, Paso Robles, California (Luxury 33479; Chairman’s Selection, on sale, $9.99) satisfies palates with a sweet tooth without sacrificing excellent balance. Pittsburgh-native Gary Eberle, a Rabelaisian winery owner and wine lover if there ever was one, calls this “hot-tub wine.”
The metaphor aptly captures the wine’s forward, exuberant character. White flower and peach aromas tantalize the nose. Lush, ripe apricot and peach flavors balance with fine, zesty acidity to balance the fruity, off-dry finish. Serve as a sprightly aperitif to kick off the festivities. Highly recommended.
For a crisp white, turn to the 2013 Cave de Lugny “Les Charmes” Chardonnay, Mâcon-Lugny, France (Luxury 45062; $13.99). The grapes grow in Burgundy’s southern-most reaches on a 260-acre vineyard with notable terroir. The 40-year-old, on average, vines grow facing southeast in chalk and limestone soils. Just enough sun typically ripens the grapes while the soils lend an elegance not often seen in other Mâcon white wines.
Fresh citrus, apple and white-flower aromas waft from the glass along with subtle earthy hints. On the palate, refreshing apple and grapefruit flavors unfold wrapped in bright acidity and lovely, understated creamy notes. The wines finishes dry and fruity. Recommended.
For a refreshing, balanced red, enjoy the 2012 Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages, France (5878; on sale, $14.99). The wine comes from the impeccably talented Maison Drouhin located in Beaune. Led by four Drouhin siblings, the firm cultivates its own vineyards and works in close partnership with local growers to tend the gamay vines in meticulous fashion.
The resulting wine delivers superb quality considering its relatively modest station in Burgundy’s dazzling firmament. The ruby-red color offers dark red-fruit aromas with light brown spice and pleasant earthy touches.
Fresh red-fruit flavors follow with crispy acidity and elegant, understated tannins. The dry and fruity finish lingers pleasantly. Highly recommended.
For a complete change of pace into a more robust red, try the 2012 Peirano Estate “Immortal Zin” Old Vines Zinfandel, Lodi, California (Luxury 39394; $12.99). This is an old-timey zin in the best sense.
The story began when Giacomo Peirano emigrated from Genoa, Italy, in 1879. He prospered with a dry-goods store serving local miners, and, eventually, he purchased 300 acres of land for farming and grape growing.
Being a rather diminutive gent, standing only 5 feet tall, he planted head-pruned zinfandel vines trained to stand only 3 feet tall. Today, many of the old vines — some approaching 115 years — retain the same height while producing a meager but magnificent crop of fruit.
The wine’s purple color exudes intense dark-blackberry and brambly-spice aromas. Rich, mouth-filling dark-fruit flavors meld with light, toasty notes from aging a small portion of the wine in new French-oak barrels. Bursting, fresh acidity and smooth tannins balance the 14 percent alcohol by volume. Highly recommended.
The N.V. Feuerheerd Porto Reserva Ruby, Portugal (Luxury 33264; Chairman’s Selection, on sale, $14.99) delivers a classic fruity and robust fortified dessert wine. Made in the Duoro Vallay from a traditional blend of touriga Franca, tinta roriz, tinta barroca, touriga nacional and tinto cão grapes, the wine’s dark-purple color offers intense dark-plum and caramelized brown-spice notes. Rich, dark-fruit flavors and a zesty streak of acidity balance the off-dry finish and hefty 20 percent alcohol by volume. This wine will help put a topper on meal alongside the pumpkin pie. Recommended.
Dave DeSimone writes about wine for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at [email protected].