FD: Wine Column November 25, 2009
The turkey is stuffed and ready, set to go into the oven around midnight for that long, slow cook to perfection.
Will you be ready with the wine when the bird hits the table?
To help ease the pain of procrastination, here are a few ideas for the last-minute wine shopper. Most of the selections can be found at your local merchant or, in the case of Colorado wines, at the winery.
As usual, prices are approximate; you might find them a dollar or two cheaper online but you won’t be drinking them on Thanksgiving day.
A few words of unsolicited advice: If totally flummoxed, look for something you’d like to try and buy that. Most of all, don’t be afraid to try something different from what you normally drink.
There really is a world of great wine out there.
Forget trying to find that perfect white wine match (or any perfect match) for turkey.
It’s all the other dishes — sweet-yet-tart cranberries, buttery mashed potatoes with dark gravy, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and lime Jell-O salad — that are going to throw off your tastes buds.
Unoaked chardonnays offer the pleasure of the fruit without the buttery, vanilla overtones of highly oaked chardonnays.
In many cases, these all-steel chardonnays will be less-expensive than traditional chardonnays because you don’t have the cost of expensive oak barrels to offset.
Some names to look for include Kim Crawford ($18); Guy Drew ($16); Canyon Wind 47-Ten ($11); and Toad Hollow ($11).
Rieslings are immensely popular, and for good reason. This wine matches well with a lot of different foods.
Plus, rieslings usually are lower in alcohol than other whites, something to consider when a Thanksgiving meal can last for an hour or more.
Colorado is producing some terrific off-dry rieslings and you probably won’t go wrong no matter which you select.
Some names we like include Whitewater Hill Grand Valley Riesling ($12); Carlson Vineyards Laughing Cat ($11.50); Talon Winery ($14); Guy Drew ($15); and Infinite Monkey Theorem ($16–$20). The latter is by former Grand Valley winemaker Ben Parsons, who now is in Denver producing wines under the Infinite Monkey Theorem label.
Other interesting whites: “If people are taking just one bottle, they might want to take a white merlot,” bravely suggested Nancy Janes of Whitewater Hill.
Forget those nightmares of drinking white zinfandel. This wine is off-dry, with plenty of fruit and thanks to a brief contact time with the skins, there are some interesting flavors.
“It goes well with cranberries and ham, it just has to get over being pink,” reasoned Janes. (Whitewater Hill White Merlot, $9.50.)
Thanksgiving is the one American holiday, and no wine waves the flag better than zinfandel, the most American of wines.
A carefully made zinfandel (not a blush nor something with over-powering tannins or alcohol, both of which are all too-common) is the perfect match for roast turkey and a heavily flavored sage or chestnut dressing.
Some favorites include offerings from the four “R’s”: Rancho Zabaco, Ridge, Ravenswood and Rosenblum.
My favorite red for the holiday is pinot noir, and it’s hard to beat the price of the Rex-Goliath (named for a 47-pound rooster from Texas, $9).
A bit more, but still under $20, are the Chilean Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo ($11); the MacMurray Ranch Sonoma Coast ($18); and the Pali “Bluffs” ($19). The latter is from vineyards in the Russian River Valley.
Finally, top off the meal with something sweet enough to balance the chocolate cakes and pumpkin pies but with enough acidity to not be cloying or sticky.
Try the Whitewater Hill Zero Below ($18–$20); the Grande River Vineyards Late Harvest Viognier ($20); or the Leroux Creek Vineyards 2005 Aprés Vous, a port-style dessert wine and winner of a Double Gold Medal at this year’s Colorado Mountain Winefest.