Tgiving wine selection help please!
Love to cook, very accomplished, but wine is not my thing. For various reasons, I don't really drink, not a teetotaler, but only keep wine around to cook with and usually "2 buck Chuck" from TJs. Will be hosting Tgiving dinner for 12 starting with Cosmo cocktails and apps. Want suggestions on what to serve with dinner. Will have pear/radicchio/raspberry vinaigrette salad, turkey & sides, and apple pie/sweet potato pie/chocolate mousse for dessert. My "go to" has always been several bottles of nouvelle beaujolais, but this year I would like to branch out. Would like suggestions for bottles under $20 ea, how many will I need (I always buy 2 and guests usually bring 1-2). Thanks!
Diane in Bexley: First, a disclaimer. We drink red wine all year 'round. The prominent exception we make is for Thanksgiving, for the wine we serve with the turkey. Now, depending on one's point of view, either we are unqualified to opine on white wines, because we drink whites so seldom, or we are the ultimate authority on wines to drink on Thanksgiving, because that is the only white wine pairing that interests us.
Disclaimer finished, let me add that we have tried many wines on Thanksgiving over the years, and in recent years we have focused upon one specific label, Naia: http://www.tintoyblanco.com.au/wine/naia-verdejo-2007/ (The preceding is an Australian site, so be not daunted by the price listed there. Here is a more realistic approximation of what you should expect to pay: http://www.b-21.com/prodinfo.asp?numb...)
Our settling upon Naia followed by a few years our arrival at the conclusion that the best whites in the world come from the extreme northwest corner of Spain, north of Portugal, mainly Galicia. One criterion for selecting a wine from that region -- one that we have advocated in the past and still advocate -- is to count the number of X's on the label (looking especially at the spelling of the town of origin) and purchase the wine with the most X's. You rarely will go wrong using that as a criterion of selection, however arbitrary it may sound. Another -- more straightforward? -- path is to buy Naia for Thanksgiving dinner.
Zinfandel. Check out the Neyers Pato Vineyard for under $20 (available from Wine Library, depending on what state you live in due to shipping restrictions). I like Zin because you can drink it alone or with savory dishes like sausage stuffing. There are many Zins under $20 that are really excellent including Neyers and the Segehesio Sonoma Zin. No need to spend $50 to get something really enjoyable unless Turley is your thing.
Tons of reccos for turkey and trimmings will be found in earlier threads. See http://search.chow.com/search?query=t...
Personally, I'd be inclined to skip wine with the salad course. If that weren't an option, I'd minimize the vinegar in the dressing and go with an inexpensive pink bubbly or a subdued round white with pearish flavours and good acidity, a Chenin Blanc, for example.
Finding a single wine to go with apple pie, sweet potato pie and chocolate mousse will be a challenge. A late-harvest Muscat (New World, St-Jean de Minervois, Greece, Sicily, etc.) or a tawny port might be the best compromise.
In my opinion, Thanksgiving dinners are perfect for chardonnay, German riesling, and pinot noir. Although, quite often we find ourselves bring nice cabs along to the festivities.
For 12 people, I would go with 6 bottles, although I have no idea how long your dinner will last, and how of drinkers your guests are. Are they only going to have one glass with dinner? If so, then go with 3 bottles. I know that we usually have more than 1 glass with dinner, and usually closer to 2 or 3.
As for options under $20, there are milions out there. This year for Thanksgiving I plan on bringing a few bottles to the in-laws, and plan on popping the following:
Pre dinner with snacks:
2007 Thompson Street Pinot Noir "Posse" (Santa Cruz Mountains)
2005 Kistler Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard
2005 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Materium (after I am guessing a 6 hour decant - I know, infantcide, but I want to see where this wine is now)
Those wines SHOULD be about right for 5 of us, but we'll see. -mJ
HA! No, I wasn't suggesting that at all, although the Thompson Street is close. I was just stating that those were the wines that I was planning for Thanksgiving with my in-laws.
There are a million and one $20 wines out there, and everyone's palate is different, so I didn't bother suggesting any. -mJ