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Wines with turkey?

Thought I would start this thread as an offshoot of the Thanksgiving menu thread. I know little about wine. I am having a smoked turkey, I was planning on serving an old vine Zinfandel, but for another bottle I would like something different. (Only 3 wine drinkers at dinner.) Pinot Noir, Malbec, Shiraz, or something else?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Sounds like you're on the right track with the Zinfandel; Pinot Noir can also be great with turkey - a well-developed pinot will stand up to the flavors of the turkey without overwhelming them.
    Enjoy your feast!

    1. With the smoked turkey, I'd go Zinfandel. That said, I usually serve a red Burgundy/Pinot Noir, Cru de Beaujolais, or a Rioja . . .

      1. Since I'm the one in the family that has to bring the wine to Thanksgiving dinner, I tend to go to the cellar and see what I want to drink. (Of course, having 5 siblings and assorted nephews and in-laws in the mix, I tend to bring about a case.) There is always Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and usually CA Syrah. This year I'm going to bring Washington PNs as part of the mix. I think that Zins from the more northern vineyards where the climate is cooler are better than the ones from Santa Rita south, but that is just a personal preference.

        While zin is correct that a Burgundy, Cru de Beaujolais, or a Rioja would go extremely well, I tend to serve American wines with a quintessentially American holiday.

        8 Replies
        1. re: dinwiddie

          "I tend to serve American wines with a quintessentially American holiday."

          This is the way to go. leave the Burgundies and Bordeaux for some other feast. Thanksgiving celebrates the harvest - the local harvest - so drink a local wine if you can. AFAIK, there are commercial wineries in each of the 50 states.

          1. re: FrankJBN

            >>> This is the way to go <<<

            Oh. So I should drink wines I don't like, just because it's Thanksgiving? (And, in the FWIW Dept., I actually did mention two American wines: Zinfandel and Pinot Noir.)

            1. re: zin1953

              For Turkey Day we ended up drinking:

              Before sitting down to dinner (light, late lunch and during cooking)

              2011 Goldeneye Vin Gris of Pinot Noir
              2004 Loring Rosella's Pinot Noir
              2002 Clarandon Hills Grenache (I know, not and American wine, but it was getting to the point I just had to drink it sometime)
              2009 Porter Creek Zinfandel

              During dinner:

              2007 Radio-Coteau Savoy Pinot Noir
              2006 Kosta Browne RRV Pinot Noir
              2009 Benovia Zinfandel Sonoma
              2006 Shane Valenti Ranch Syrah

              1. re: dinwiddie

                >>> (I know, not and American wine, but it was getting to the point I just had to drink it sometime) <<<

                LOL

              2. re: zin1953

                So those American Zins you mentioned are wines you don't like?

                Nobody suggested you should drink wines you don't like. If indeed there are no American wines you like, of course don't drink them. Just because a course is "the way to go" is no reason for you or anyone else to go that way; in the same vein, just because you reject a course of action does not mean that is not still the best way to go.

                I do find it odd that in a wine-producing country that surely has among the greatest ranges of wines produced there can be not one to a wine drinker's liking.

                Another funny thing is, when I maintain that I don't like Beaujolais wine because I don't like the Gamay, people often assert (mistakenly) it is only because I haven't had "Cru" class wines.

                Doews anyone ever suggest in your rejection of the dozens of grapes and hundreds of styles of different American wines that you simply have not had a nice enough example?

                1. re: FrankJBN

                  Frank? What are you on about this morning? Where did I say I don't like Zinfandel? Do you think I picked my "nick" because I hate Zinfandel? Let's take a deep breath, and not put words in my mouth.

                  In fact I *love* Zinfandel, and some of them, I even think would work with turkey -- just not the overly alcoholic, jammy ones. It is just that I *PREFER* a Cru de Beaujolais with roast turkey on Thanksgiving. Now, if the turkey is smoked, it's a different story, and I'll often serve a Zinfandel or even the more elegant style of supple Petite Sirah.

                  >>> I do find it odd that in a wine-producing country that surely has among the greatest ranges of wines produced there can be not one to a wine drinker's liking. <<<

                  Where have I ever said that there isn't a single California wine that I like? I'm sorry, I must have missed that, and it will probably come as a surprise to the 15-20 cases or so of California wines in my cellar.

                  >>> Doews [sic] anyone ever suggest in your rejection of the dozens of grapes and hundreds of styles of different American wines that you simply have not had a nice enough example? <<<

                  Frank? I have NO IDEA what you're talking about. I've tasted thousands (plural) of wines a year over much of my 35+ years in the California wine trade (and hundreds, if not 1000+, in most of the years I wasn't ITB). I cannot think of one single Vitis vinifera grape that I have "rejected" -- hell, I've even had a Grand Noirde la Calmette I've liked, and that's a grape that Jancis Robinson said didn't deserve to exist! I cannot even thinkg of a STYLE that I've rejected.

                  That said, there are certainly grapes and styles which I *prefer* over others, but there is a difference between being able to taste (for example) a high alcohol, ├╝ber-jammy, highly oaked Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, or a similarly styled Pinot Noir, and a) "rejecting" it (to use your term), and b) realizing it is a very good, perhaps even excellent wine, in a style that one doesn't enjoy.

                  As you may already know from past postings, I've judged wines professionally for some time. I remember, years ago now, when I was tasting wines up in Santa Rosa for a famous wine publications annual awards. There were five judges per panel, and I was lucky enough to be assigned to the Pinot Noir panel. Overall, IIRC, the five of us were composed of three wholesaler, one retailer, and one restauranteur.

                  One of the Pinots was, I thought, stunning but a bit oaky for my taste. Still, it was an excellent example of a Pinot in this more opulent, oaky style, and I thought worthy of a Gold Medal. So did three other judges, as it turned out. The last judge, a wholesale rep AND someone studying for their M.W. (and who now IS a Master of Wine), gave the wine "No Award." The rest of us were rather surprised, and asked why this individual voted that way. "It's flawed. It's over-oaked," came the reply. Now, it didn't make all that much of a difference: four votes for "Gold" and one "No Award," the wine would receive a Gold Medal; but if all five of us had said "Gold," it wold have received a "Double Gold," and been entered into the "Best of Show" category. So someone asked, "Flawed? Is it flawed as in a fault -- like too much volatile acidity, or mercaptans? Is being over-oaked that kind of a flaw, or is it a matter of threshold, or personal taste -- one man's 'over-oaked' is another man's 'nice level of oak'?"

                  "No," came the reply. "It's like mercaptans; it's a fault."

                  Now, Frank, just for you, let me explain that I would never reject a style of wine. Nor, for that matter, have I ever rejected a grape . . . PROFESSIONALLY. But in matters of personal taste, there are certainly wine I prefer more than others, and some that I don't like, just as every other individual on the planet. We each have our own individual, personal palate preferences.

                  Instead of *presuming* that I (e.g.) dislike all California wines, period, or that I don't like all Zinfandels, why don't you look at the context: I prefer certain, specific wines with certain, specific foods.

                  Why is that so hard to understand?

                  AND, as a reminder, Frank, should you look at my original post in this now-moribund thread, I wrote: "With the smoked turkey, I'd go Zinfandel."

                  So, again, what ARE you on about?

              3. re: FrankJBN

                But for me, the local harvest is French.

                So we had a wide sampling of French harvests -- we started with a Cremant de Loire, and split to a wide variety of lovely reds - -we had a few Saumur-Champigny, a few Minervois, some Burgundy Grand Crus, and others I'm not even sure I got a good look at as they were passed up and down the tables.

                There were a lot of empty bottles and a lot of happy faces...and everything I had in my glass was really lovely with the motley flavors of a traditional American Thanksgiving meal.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  I'm sure it worked perfectly! (Next year, we'll all coming to your house!) ;^)

            2. I usually offfer a couple wines, a Cru Beaujolais and a Riesling, which I think would go with smoked turkey, BTW.

              This year, though, it's only me, the missus, and the mother-in-law. One bottle of 2007 Willi Schafer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett will do us fine.

              1. You guys have said it all, so let me just jump on the bandwagon: Cru-Beaujolais (Morgon, Fleurie, Moulin-a-Vent), red Burgundy (from lacy Chambolle to meaty Gevrey), and German or Austrian Riesling.

                I love Zinfandel, but I find it's heft too weighty, it's fruit too ripe to make for a particularly good food wine. And given that the Thanksgiving meal is a gustatory marathon requiring a considered pacing by the veteran eater - and given that Zins can clock in at 15% ABV and more - I find that I'm simply far too drunk after only 3-4 glasses of the Z for it to work in this context. For American wine, I'd go with Oregon Pinot Noir. That is, if it was as good as red Burgundy.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                  I've discovered a couple of cooler climate Zins that are delicious, lighter in weight and alcohol and have great acidity:
                  2010 Novy Russian River Zinfandel: $19 at SF K&L
                  2011 Dashe Les Enfants Terribles McFadden Farm Potter Valley Zinfandel(13.6%ABV):
                  $24/winery
                  I'm bringing the Dashe and a 2007 Lazy Creek Anderson Valley Pinot Noir which came into work earlier this week at $19.99 and after tasting it last night I grabbed 2 of last few that were left. The punt and bottle on this baby are serious and I'm looking forward to laying the other one down for a while to see what happens.

                  As far as whites are concerned, I'm keeping to Mendocino:
                  2010 Foursight Charles Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc: $20/winery
                  2011 Navarro Chenin Blanc (60 yr old vines: last vintage ever from this vineyard: sold out)

                  I'd totally bring a nice Riesling and/or Rose if I knew someone besides me would drink them.