Thursday, November 20, 2014

A users guide to White Wine for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is in a week! Can you believe it? Are you already planning your meal? Have you got everything down to a science now? Are you dreading your family coming over and everything being a mess? Are you so excited because that one cousin you love dearly is coming this year and you know its going to be a good time? While I might not be the cook in my family, when it comes to picking out what wine goes with what food, I master it! Oh and I am pretty good at opening and pouring too. These jobs matter! Or at least I tell myself it matters. And thank God I don't have a mother in law who glares at me when I don't cook and just sit on the couch holding someone's baby in one arm and a glass of wine in the other!  
So for those of you who aren't in the same boat as me, I am going to help you pick out a few wines that will go with your Thanksgiving meal! I might not can cook your turkey or make you mashed potatoes but I CAN pick out a wine!!!!!! :) :)
For those people who love a good white wine.....the best wine to pair for Thanksgiving in a good oaky buttery Chardonnay.  Especially if the turkey you are eating have been marinated in some butter. The light smoky savory piece of turkey, just melts in your mouth. You need a wine that has some back bone to it. A wine that will stand up next to it. And Chardonnay does just that. A few ways to describe Chardonnay are these words: vanilla, baked tart, crème brulee, pie crust, butter, coconut and caramelized sugar. These are the characteristics you want in your Chardonnay when having it with Thanksgiving. And you might be thinking, that's a lot of oak and butter for one meal. But you don't just eat turkey correct? You eat a whole bunch of other flavors. Chardonnay is just the best at complimenting all of them at once!
So you're asking...well that's great Dani. Thanks. But how am I to know which one is by the bottle. 
Depending on your budget, here are some really good wines for you to choose from. You should be able to find these in any grocery store or liquor store.
 Toasted Head Chardonnay- It smells like pear, nectarine, banana and a little spice. On the palate, citrus and tropical fruit with toasty butterscotch oak, and has a soft finish. Around $9-$12 a bottle.

Franciscan Chardonnay- The palate has fresh pear and citrus flavors with a mouthfilling, creamy, round finish. Bright fruit flavors and a silky texture lead to a lingering finish of apple, honeysuckle and vanilla. Around $14-$20 a bottle.
La Crema Monterey- exotic floral and tropical fruit on the nose. Butterscotch, lemon peel, grilled pineapple, honeysuckle and a hint of spice on the palate. A toast and caramel finish. (note: La Crème comes in a few different varieties of Chardonnay. For Thanksgiving, I believe the Monterey will go best). Around $15-$20 a bottle.
 DeLoach Chardonnay Russian River- Buttery, tropical fruit with a hint of banana and pear. If you are wanting something a tad lighter, this is it. It doesn't scream butter and oak but has just enough in it for it to be amazing with Thanksgiving. Around $15-$22 a bottle.
Cuvaison Chardonnay- Has a lovely aromatics of honeysuckle, lily, acacia blossom and clove spice. Upon tasting this wine, it has white peach, apricot, nectarine and lime zest all tied to a bright, long, refreshing finish. Again, for something on the lighter side. This is one of my very favorite Chardonnay's. It is what I drank at my wedding! Around $20-$26 a bottle.
Sonoma Cutrer- Fruit aromas of apple, pear and white peach are accented with toasted nuts, oak spice, a hint of vanilla and a touch of butter. This wine is a medium-bodied, mouth-filling wine. The creamy richness is balanced with a bright acidity and highlighted with flavors of apple, pear and lemon zest. Around $20-$26.
Rombauer Chardonnay- Juicy peaches, pineapple and lime on the nose, followed by vanilla and cedar. Ripe tropical fruit and fig jam help give it a silky palate. Soft spice, vanilla and nectarines on the finish. Around $32-$38 a bottle
Anything over this price point, ask me in the comments and I will recommend. Oh, and I will be coming to your Thanksgiving if you are spending over this for a bottle!
So you are saying to me, Dani, what if I don't like Chardonnay. I've tried many different ones and I just don't care for them. Any other suggestions you might have! And my answer would be YES!
Champagne surprisingly just isn't for New Years. It actual pairs amazing with food. And when I say Champagne, I mean real Champagne, from France. Not sparkling wine. But with a budget, it is hard to find a true Champagne under $30 a bottle. So...with that in mind, get Prosecco. Prosecco is the Italian version of Champagne and honestly, taste as close to true Champagne as you can get.
A few Proseccos I like are Lamarca, Zonin, Mionetto, Martini & Rossi, Ruffino and Tiziano. They range from $9-$16.

So you don't like Chardonnay and you say all the bubbles give you a headache...anything else you might suggest? YES!
A dry Riesling will go great for Thanksgiving, especially if you are the type that likes something on the sweet side. Dry Riesling's aren't that sweet. They are more acidic and have a lighter palate. They tend to be crisp, dry and have more of a jasmine, citrus flavor to them. But they can have a hint of some sweetness to them. I don't like sweet wine. Make's me sick. But I LOVE dry Riesling. Germany and France make great ones.  If they come from France, they come from the region called Alsace. If you like to eat ham at Thanksgiving, a dry Riesling from Alsace would be an amazing pairing! I will tell you this, Alsace is hard to find. Spec's has a great variety of them just FYI! My two favorite brands for Alsace wine (and they don't just make Reisling, they make other varities) are Trimbach and Zind Humbrecht. They range from $22-$30. A dry Riesling from Germany ranges from $10-$20.

Stay tuned to tomorrow where I will suggest some amazing RED WINE to go with your Thanksgiving dinner.