Monday, November 23, 2009
Thanksgiving Wines – Part 1
If you're thinking about busting out a big Napa cab or Chardonnay for your Thanksgiving meal, well, we'll be nice and say please reconsider.
Unless you plan to serve juicy steaks or lobster with butter sauce, those bold, oaked wines won't be at their best with Thanksgiving foods. Frankly, not many wines can carry an entire Thanksgiving meal given the crazy clash of flavors that ride in on stuffing, gravies, those once-yearly sides, the bird itself and your family or host's specialties.
Here are a few tips we hope you'll find helpful:
Offer two or more different wines. Depending on the size of your crowd, have more than one wine style at the table. Even though you might not care for rosé, someone else at the table probably does, or at least might be willing to give it a swirl at holiday time.
Leave the oak in the forest. Many Thanksgiving foods just don't go well with oaky wines. If you simply must have your Chard, try an unoaked variety. Not sure what's oaked and what's not? Ask your wine merchant or look for key words on the label like fresh, clean, fruity, or stainless-steel fermented that might indicate an unoaked Chardonnay. Words that imply an oaked style are toasty, vanilla, rich, smoke or creamy.
Check the alcohol percentage. High-alcohol wines will not only make you tipsier, they can also taste hot or harsh with all that food. Go slow and go low. Look for the alcohol percentage on the bottle before you buy. Choose wines below 13.5%, or save blowtorches for late in the meal. Zin lovers, beware – Zinfandels are generally higher in alcohol.
Be safe. Agree on who'll be the designated driver and stick to it. All that good food doesn't soak up alcohol and won't help your liver metabolize it any faster. Be careful not to flood your engines and if you do, give your car keys to the tee-totaler.
Next post, we'll give you a few suggestions on value-priced wines you can find around town or drop us a comment and we'll get them to you sooner. Watch for more wines we like on our Facebook page, too. Find the fan box in the right column of this blog and FAN our page today.