14 November, 2011

Winter Whites - Alternative Thanksgiving Wines

With turkey day almost here, the question of which wine to pair with turkey, naturally comes up.  Growing up, my parents always served Riesling or, on years they felt daring,  Gewurztraminer,   Of late, my choice is always Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir, then some more Pinot Noir, even though the bird itself gets marinated and basted in what looks like equal parts Chardonnay and butter.  The folks at Hunter PR were kind enough to send out some things to make this year's Thanksgiving dinner more adventurous.  And luckily, Trader Joe's has the supplies to make a Turkey day practice run as easy as navigating the defrost function on the microwave.  So this weekend I got the jump on holiday dinner planning.

First up, was the '10 Alamos Torrontes, Salta, Argentina($11):  The wine had a clear pale color.  Its aromas were hints of nutmeg, jasmine tea and a limey citrus with flavors of lime.  Crisp with nice acid, the finish was more jasmine tea.  While it was nice to sip by itself, I did not find this the best wine to serve with traditional fare.  It was good with the stuffing, just okay with the turkey, okay with the mashed potatoes,  but unpleasant with straight cranberry sauce. Which sounds like an unfair thing to attempt to pair except that the other two wines were surprisingly tasty with the sweet-tart whole berry sauce.  

The second sample was the '10 Martin Codax, Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain ($15) .  This was my favorite wine to drink by itself.  Its color was citrine and it had yummy aromas of pear and peach.  With medium body, it had a nice mouthfeel and a pleasant peachy finish. While it was delightful to sip, it was not my favorite to pair.  It was okay with the mashed potatoes, but it brought up the gamy flavors of the turkey.  Although I will mention that gamy is not on my list of favorite flavors, so if you love the poultry taste of turkey, you might prefer this. I found it tasted good with the stuffing (cornbread and herb) and surprisingly good with the cranberry sauce.  

My surprise pairing favorite was the third wine, '10 The Naked Grape, Pinot Grigio, California, USA ($8). This wine  was light straw with a slight greenish cast.  Muted aromas of citrus along with flavors of pears.  Its mouthfeel had a pleasant roundness and medium body with a nice finish of Bartlett pear.  While the wine itself was simple and clean, my surprise was how well this offering went with the Thanksgiving food.  .  With the buttery mashed potatoes, the savory side of the pear flavors were heightened.  It was good with the turkey and good with the stuffing and surprisingly tasty with straight cranberry sauce.  And for under ten dollars a bottle, a great deal.  

So I think I will be mixing it up a little and inviting some newcomers to the holiday table.  If you are looking for a super affordable, easy to pair wine, here are three good candidates.

I received these wines as samples

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