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Holiday wine suggestions

Taken from Mina Williams', Blanc & Rouge, Seattle DINING! December 2018 podcast

Thanksgiving is actually one of the most difficult meals to pair wine with because it's not just an entrée, turkey. You have to consider everything else in the meal if you're having one wine. That means cheesy potatoes, cranberry, gravy, salad dressing, etc. Consequently, you need to develop a wine strategy.

1. Consider course work. Offer a wine to pair with each course.

2. Get a mix of wines and "let it happen!"

3. Choose your own adventure.

a. Give each guest 2-3 empty glasses.

b. Put 5-6 bottles on the table and let people have some fun. It's a great way to learn more about your palate, i.e., try each wine with the same food and see what you like best. Or just enjoy and don't think about it.

4. You can never go wrong with bubbles: Prosecco, Cava, Champagne, Crémant, sparkling whites.

A few items to consider:

1. Beaujolais Nouveau

a. Released in November each year

b. Meant to be enjoyed immediately, don't save!

c. Fruity, fruit forward

d. Good with conflicting dishes


2. Montinore Estate Riesling

a. From Oregon, new world

b. Almost dry, not a lot of minerality

c. Very food friendly


3. Va Piano Cabernet Franc Rosé

a. Cab Franc is very good with roasted poultry

b. This Rosé has enough of a backbone to stand up to smoked turkey or ham; it's not light or frivolous

c. Fruit flavors

d. Rosé can go with so much. It's a great hostess gift and wonderful to drink while you're cooking!


4. Montinore Estate Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley

a. Pinot Noir is very versatile, light-skinned grape

b. Perfect with salmon if you're doing a Northwest holiday meal

c. Good with turkey as well, has enough acid to stand up to ham

d. American Pinots run the full gamut (based on dirt and vines), you'll have to taste test!

5. New Zealand Pinots

a. Partially old world and partially new world flavors, best of breed

b. Production techniques, steering of flavors of new world

6. Gamay, village designate (big brother of Beaujolais Nouveau)

a. Certain grapes only can be grown in specific villages, so they don't put the grape on the label

b. Taste of violets

c. Goes well with turkey


7. Transcend Zinfandel

a. An outlier, not a traditional choice that people think of

b. 2 types: high octane, chest thumping, fruity, high alcohol, great with ribs. The other example is Transcend from California.

c. 80% Zinfandel, a little Syrah, drop of Petit Syrah, and Cabernet

d. This is lighter than classic Zin, almost infused with raspberries

e. Goes well with turkey and trimmings and mashed potatoes


8. Dolcetto ("little sweet one") from Italy

a. Flavors of cherries and raspberries

b. Higher acid, little bit of tannin


Turkey wine is very easy. People should not be frightened.

There's something for everyone. You just have to know what lane you're in.

Definitely head to a wine shop and ask questions and taste different wines.

Mina was on our October 2019 show and will be back for the December 2019 podcast with more holiday wine information. Don't miss an episode!

Mina Williams and her husband Bruce Rutkin own Blanc & Rouge, a wine shop/tasting room/classroom/wine events company in Snohomish, Washington. 801 First Street, Snohomish. 360-568-0850.

November 2019

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