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Nov 20, 2001 01:07 PM

thanksgiving wines

  • s

I am looking for some solid wines for a traditional Thanksgiving meal around $10 a bottle. Both red and white. Any suggestions?

Also, I noticed a post that warned against stuffing a brined turkey. Is this fact or fiction?

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  1. I would think that a brined turkey would be safer for stuffing, rather than less so. The salt kills bacteria. I prefer to bake a stuffing/dressing in a pan, personally, but always brine my turkey. It makes a huge difference in flavor and moistness. Just don't salt the outside of the bird to avoid making it too salty.

    As far as wines go, any wine, red or white with good acid and fruit, to deal with the sweeter dishes would work. A wine that is too dry can taste sour if the dishes are very sweet. Gerald Asher, in Gourmet Mag. recommends Syrahs and 2 are under $10. The R.H. Phillips Dunnigan Hills '99 at $9, and the Montpellier Vineyards California Syrah '99 for $7. A Pinot Noir would be nice if you can find one for $10, and a Reisling could be very good, if you'd like a white. Smith-Madrone from Napa Valley is delicious. We've been buying a Pinot Gris from Argentina made by a French family, Lurton, for $4.99 at Berkeley Bowl. I also just saw it at Whole Foods in San Raphael. French Rhone Valley reds can have an earthy sweetness that is really good with roasted root vegetables.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Ann Leneave

      I think there might be a local connection to the wine made by the Lurton family. Denise Lurton is the wife/partner of Jean Pierre Moulle - formerly of Chez Panisse. Jean Pierre and Denise are doing tours of France these days. The Lurton family has been in the wine business for many years.

      1. re: gordon wing

        That is interesting, Gordon. There is a feature on cassoulet, in the latest Fine Cooking magazine, with Jean Pierre Moulle. I met him once while getting a behind-the-scenes-tour of the Chez Panisse kitchen. Very nice man.

        We had a Sauvignon Blanc from Jacques & Francois Lurton last night. Nice for $6.99 (at Whole Foods).

        I'll bet that Pepperwood Grove Syrah is good. One of their zinfandels beat out much more expensive zins in one of our wine tastings.

        1. re: Ann Leneave
          randy salenfriend

          Just had the Pepperwood Grove Syrah and IMHO, the Montpellier is superior. As a pinotphile, the best value we have found regarding this varietal is the Villa Mt. Eden 1999 Coastal for about 7.99 to 8.99 depending on retailer. At that price point, it is hard to beat and is some pretty tasty juice.

    2. this was from the

      Every year we're bombarded with questions about what wines to serve with Thanksgiving meals. The trick here is that most Turkey Day meals include a wide range of side dishes that wouldn't all necessarily "go together" on any other day of the year. How do you match Sister's candied sweet potatoes with the little marshmallows, Uncle's special chopped salad with
      peppers, and that rather embarrassing family favorite green bean casserole, not to mention the the myriad turkey and dressing recipes, with any one particular wine?

      Our answer is to choose wine that is as versatile as possible, meaning medium-bodied rather than overly rich, ripe, buttery, or tannic. Walk this line with a red and a white choice, and you just about can't go wrong. We tend to like a Chardonnay for the white, and if you're concerned about your favorite red being too heavy -- try decanting it for a couple of hours before
      lunch is served! Here are a few suggestions:


      Canoe Ridge 1999 Chardonnay Columbia Valley ($15). Medium-bodied but still very well made and quite flavorful. Elegant fruit is layered with spice
      and creamy oak, with very good acidic balance. Ready to drink now and over the next two or three years.

      Chateau Souverain 1999 Chardonnay Sonoma County ($14). Refreshing, showing balanced fruit, good concentration, and touches of toasted nuts and spice along with integrated oak. Ready to drink now and over the next year.

      Gallo of Sonoma 1998 Chardonnay Dry Creek Valley Stefani Vineyard ($22). Perfectly balanced and full bodied, this wine shines with ripe pear and apple fruit, along with touches of spicy oak and kiwi. Finishes clean. Ready to drink now.


      Flora Springs 1999 Merlot Napa Valley ($22). Well built but smooth, with ripe fruit and sophisticated toasty vanilla oak. Lovely finish. Ready to drink
      now and over the next four years.

      Frei Brothers Reserve 1999 Merlot Sonoma County North Coast ($15). Medium-bodied with tasty red cherry and dark plum fruit accented with toasted vanilla oak and an appealing touch of earthiness. Thoroughly enjoyable.
      Ready to drink now and over the next year or two.

      Pepperwood Grove 1999 Syrah California ($8). We were just telling a friend at a local wine store that this wine has become one of our annual favorite best
      buys, and this vintage is another reason why! Lipsmacking good, with ripe currant fruit studded with touches of espresso and vanilla -- all on a smooth
      frame. Ready to drink now and over the next year or two.

      Steele 1999 Pinot Noir Carneros ($20). Smooth and velvety, with soft fruit combined with touches of dark chocolate and spicy oak. Wonderful finish. Ready
      to drink now and over the next three years.

      1. I'm fond of Gewurztraminer with the Thanksgiving table. Fetzer is under $10.

        I always have Zinfandel, choosing a uniquely American wine to celebrate our national holiday. This year we'll be drinking the 1993 Scherrer "Old & Mature Vines" Alexander Valley Zin.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I bought the Fetzer 2000 Echo Ridge Gewurztraminer that made the top 10 in a recent Chronicle Magazine top 100 wines article for $5.49 at Trader Joe's (before the article came out).

        2. I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Beaujolais nouveaux. They go very well with turkey and the sides, and the timing is excellent (turkey week falls the week after the release of the new Beaujolais). I brought a bottle to dinner, and everyone loved it.

          I really enjoyed Jean-Claude Boisset's Beaujolais, with the pink label, available at Safeway for $9.

          2 Replies
          1. re: garçon

            We had Beaujolais at my house, too. It was Berringer's and it was just the right thing for the turkey. Everyone loved it.

            I had been wondering why there were no California Beaujolais wines, so I was delighted to see one appear at Beverages and More, and even more delighted to see that they were selling it for $5 a bottle!

            1. re: Sharuf

              Thanks for the tip about the local beaujolais, I'll have to try one.

          2. s
            Stacey Sullivan

            I know this is a little late but perhaps it may help for Christmas turkey. The Fogarty Gewurtz ($15) - big floral, fruity nose but lovely and dry in the mouth - is a great Gewurtz to spring on folks who were scared by a bottle of Blue Nun at a formative age. Last year our red was a Wild Horse Pinot Noir - this year it was a Gevrey-Chambertin that North Berkeley Wine had for $20. Both of them set the food off very well indeed. I love Zin but it seems to be a bit much with turkey. I still run into too many US Pinot Noirs that are one-dimensional - Cherry Kool-Aid with a kick - but you can get decent French Burgundies for not a whole lot of money these days. I'm one of those benighted souls who just doesn't get Beaujolais Nouveau - every one I've tried reminded me of a high-end version of Boone's Farm Strawberry.