November 20, 2007

Ten Wines talk turkey, trimmings: These easy-to-find pours under $20 worth a toast

It's the day before Thanksgiving and you still haven't decided on what to pour for Thanksgiving dinner?
Chill out. Here's a list of 10 bird-ready wines. All have enough chutzpah for the myriad dishes they have to compete with yet have the restraint to allow the flavors of even the most delicate dish on the table to shine through. These are all relatively easy to find and $20 or less, but if you can't find the exact wine, ask the wine store clerk for something similar.
Taltarni Victoria & Tasmania Brut Tache, Australia ($17-$20): The pale cranberry hue and the tiny bubbles are as celebratory as the meal; the crisp, dry strawberry flavors handle everything from white meat to green-bean casserole.
Man Vintners 2007 Western Cape Chenin Blanc, South Africa ($9): Chenin blanc has a waxy, rich feel that provides an excellent backdrop for a variety of flavors; this version is particularly bright and crisp, like a fresh fall apple.
S.A. Prüm 2006 Mosel Essence QbA Riesling, Germany ($11): Ignore the bargain-bin Piesporters and go straight for this German riesling, which offers the lively lime zest and sleek minerality of a wine twice its price. It strikes an easy balance for both turkey and sweet potato pie.
Argiolas 2006 Sardinia Costamolino Vermentino, Italy ($13): A broad, marzipan texture underlines ripe golden-apple flavors, providing a pleasant backdrop off of which to play turkey with all the trimmings.
Muga 2006 Rioja Rosé, Spain ($11): Bright strawberry flavors have enough power to stand up to dark meat, while the wine's bright acidity keeps it light on its feet.
J. Lohr 2006 Monterey Wildflower Valdiguié, California ($9): Valdiguie was thought to be gamay, the same grape that's grown in France's Beaujolais region. It's not, but J. Lohr's valdiguié has similar bright, cherry-juicy flavors, an easy-going red that's particularly good with a touch of a chill on it.
Georges Duboeuf 2006 Moulin-à-Vent Domaine des Rosiers, France ($15): Forget the Nouveau and go straight for this village Beaujolais. Its bright raspberry flavors are deepened by earthy, smoky spice, the impression flavorful yet light in texture.

Morandé 2006 Casablanca Pionero Pinot Noir, Chile ($10): Soft and velvety, this has diaphanous dried cherry and spice flavors that can get along with white meat, as well as sausage stuffing.

Mattei 2005 Piemonte Barbera, Italy, $12: As cheerful as its cherry color, this is bright and fresh, with frisky red fruit flavors that have just enough of a tannic grip to take on a turkey leg with gravy.

Rancho Zabaco 2005 California Dancing Bull Zinfandel, California ($10): Although it's not native to the U.S., nobody does zinfandel as well as the States, so this might be the most patriotic choice. Most zins, however, are built more for steak than turkey. Stick to the lower end of the weight scale (which conveniently coincides with the price scale) for the best match; Rancho Zabaco's $10 Dancing Bull zin has the vanilla-licked blackberry flavors you'd expect from the grape, with a light, bright feel that keeps the appetite up.

This article first appeared in the Denver Post

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