Thanksgiving dinner is arguably the biggest feast Americans enjoy in a given year. More time and energy goes into planning and preparing this meal than any other. Choosing a wine to serve that not only pairs well with a dozen side dishes but also appeals to everyone from Aunt Margaret to Cousin Bobby can be a daunting task. In the spirit of Turkey Day, IntoWine.com posed the question to a panel of wine experts: What pairs well with Thanksgiving turkey?
"The traditional Thanksgiving meal, to the English, who don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, would be considered almost identical to their Christmas dinner. Turkey with all the trimmings. An English friend recently asked me what I thought of the difference between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The answer quite simply: a tree, gifts and crackers. Crackers are an indispensible accoutrement to the English Christmas dinner table. They look like small wrapped colorful tubes, inside of which are surprises [trinkets, indoor fireworks, paper hats and lame jokes]. These fall out, piñata style, when two people pull at each end, as it suddenly breaks open with a loud crack.
Drinking is an all day affair. I’ll be starting my Thanksgiving with Montsarra Cava, which I drink regularly as a perfectly delicious alternative to expensive Champagne. I might opt, instead, for my own Broadbent Vinho Verde, which has lower alcohol and a very subtle spritz. With the turkey, I’ll probably drink a white wine, perhaps a Sauvignon Blanc, my favorite Spy Valley, the most delicious one I’ve found from New Zealand. However, Riesling is also fantastic with Turkey and selections like Guntrum Dry Riesling from the Rheinhessen or Dr. H by Dr. Hermann in the Mosel are not only delicious but also kind to the wallet! For the more adventurous, a Gewurztraminer, such as Aresti Gewurz from Chile offers a little more complexity to the meal. If you insist on a red wine with turkey, no question, my choice would be Chateau Musar, which goes with almost everything! However, they also make a wonderful crowd pleasing rose called Musar Jeune, which would be fun with turkey.
Our 2013 iteration of this list is intended as a source of education and discussion. The making of this list is never an easy process. Who are the most influential wine people in the United States, and how exactly do you define ‘influential?’ Does influential mean people who move markets, impact consumers, inspire winemakers, form policy, and create debate? Yes. Though some decry the consolidation of the wine industry (and that is an issue worth considering) we are not trying to suggest who is “good” or “bad” within America’s wine industry. We merely define the Top 100 people, from winemakers to law makers, bankers to bloggers, and sommeliers to celebrities who influence wine; how it is made, marketed, perceived, sold, shipped, purchased, shared and consumed. As was true in 2012, we sought help to assemble this list people from a diverse group of people and we are grateful for their input. And we chose to release it today, January 29th, as it was on this day in 1919 when the pathetic policy of Prohibition was ratified; the effects of this lunatic legislation still evident in our country’s inability to ship and sell wine across state lines. We honor winemakers, wine drinkers and wine lovers of every conceivable demographic. Use this list, comment on it, share it with everyone, learn from it, and continue your joy of being IntoWine.
In putting together a list of the top California Cabernets, there is sure to be some disagreement. I tried to include those wines that have a track record, the wineries still making great wines, those that seemed to have the commitment for the future and some personal favorites. I am sure I left some out.
1. Shafer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select – It’s always hard to name the number one wine. But this has a track record that’s very long. Even in less than stellar vintages, it is an outstanding wine. They just don’t seem to make a dud. My only complaint is the price at over $200 a bottle. But, in comparison to other Napa Cabs or elsewhere in the world, this is a fair price.
In my last article, I listed the Top 75 French Wines to Try Before You Quit Drinking. In this article I look at the “non-dump bucket” list for wines from California. This proved to be a different task. First, very few wineries have a long track record of making great wine. Secondly, while California is diverse, it does not have the diversity of climates and terroir and grape varietals of France. Still, it does produce some of the best wines in the world and any wine lover should make it a point to try as many of them as they can. Here is my list:
1. Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon – It’s hard to pick the first wine. This one is a great wine in every vintage and has been for a long time. Expensive but still possible to afford and made in large enough quantities to be found in grocery stores. Every lover of Cabernet should try this once.
If you are a wine lover, wine connoisseur, wine aficionado or even if you just like to have a couple of glasses on a Friday night, it soon becomes obvious that there are some wines that are held in a higher esteem in the wine world. Sometimes, it is because these wines are very rare. Other times, it’s because the wine has a place in history. Sometimes it’s because the wine is just that good. Here is a list of 75 wines from France that make up that category. A few caveats. I have not tried every wine on this list. Some I have and others I hope to. Many of these wines are rare and hard to find. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be on the list. After all, if the opportunity presents itself, go for it.
IntoWine recently caught up with the Coravin System's founder, Greg Lambrecht, to discuss what the Coravin can do for you and to get the latest on this wine drinking invention and what affect it will have on the wine industry.
What is the inspiration behind the Coravin System?
As a medical device inventor with a passion for wine and innovative technology, I came up with the idea of the Coravin out of necessity. My wife Lee became pregnant with our second child and stopped drinking wine with me. I wanted a great glass of wine with dinner, but didn't want to commit to the whole bottle.
California Cabernets are some of the best wines in the world. Unfortunately, the pricing on many of them has gotten quite exorbitant. There are a plethora of great wines for $100 or more. Even at the $75 mark, there is no shortage of outstanding wines. So, for purposes of this list, these are my favorite five California Cabernets priced at under $25 per bottle. In addition, I only chose wines that are very consistent from vintage to vintage. Finally, I have avoided rare and hard to find wines for this list.
Ah the ubiquitous list. Everywhere you turn these days there is a top 10, the best 50, or some iteration of a who’s who list. So we can’t resist, besides, our Top 100 Most Influential Wine Industry list scored a lot of buzz, created a lot of chatter and even made a few enemies. This list is all about winemakers, those currently making wine here in America – not the great ones who have come before, but folks who make wines you can find now. There are some 7,000 bonded wineries in the U.S., and there’s a lot of forgettable wine being made. And in a world of homogenization of wine styles and a sense that our domestic wine industry is not legitimate without a French or Italian flare, we desire to promote regional flavor profiles of all American wine craftspeople. There are names here you’ll know and recognize, and names you never heard of but everyone on this list is influencing the public, fellow winemakers and the media in large and small ways. Use this list to learn about wines, varieties and regions you may not have considered; comment on it, share it with everyone, but above all continue your joy of being IntoWine.