Wine Reviews Tasting Notes and Education for the Non-Snob, by Vino Joe, a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW)

Wines for Thanksgiving 2011

Yes, another wine column devoted to wines suggested for your Thanksgiving feast.

In the past I spent many hours in the weeks before Bird Day cooking turkey and various trimmings, and matching them with all types of wines in the hopes of finding magical pairings. After several years of this annual exercise, I’ve come to a startling conclusion: [Read more…]

Four Wines for Sushi

I like sushi. Check that: I love sushi; I would eat it 5 times a week if I could afford to do so.

Generally, a good sake remains — for me — the best match for most types of sushi, particularly if I’m having spicy rolls and/or laying on the wasabi heavily. But, I’m not quite as educated on sake as I’d like, and sushi is as good a reason as any to open up a white wine from my rack.

Recently, I opened up FOUR whites with a selection of salmon sushi (regular sushi piece on white rice, an avocado and salmon roll, and a “double salmon” roll). And, all four worked pretty well — and, I think they’ll work with other types of sushi, such as tuna, raw shrimp, yellowtail, scallop, fluke, etc.

Martin Codax Albarino
This is typical Albarino in that it has a distinct mineral quality, good acidity, and white fruit — these elements come straight from the alluvial, granite, slate, and sandy soils of the cool and wet Maritime climate of the Rias Baixas region of Galicia, Spain. The mineral character is an obviously perfect match with just about all seafood. Disclosure: this wine was sent to me as a press sample.
Find Martin Codax Albarino at a retailer near you

Woodbridge Pinot Grigio
Generally, I wouldn’t have given this wine a second thought, based on principle: to me, “Pinot Grigio” comes from Italy. Further, I usually shy away from purchasing mass-marketed wine brands at a retail shop — not necessarily because I’m a snob, but because there are so many other interesting wines to choose from at a good wine shop, and I have plenty of opportunities to taste wines from the “big boys” at chain restaurants with bad wine lists. But, again, I must disclose that this wine was sent to me as a press sample, so I felt obliged to give it a try. As expected, it doesn’t have the racy acidity nor mineral qualities one would expect from a “real” Pinot Grigio from northern Italy. But, its round, slightly melon-flavored California character is actually a good match for the lean salmon sushi.
Find Woodbridge Pinot Grigio at a retailer near you

Carpineto “Dogajolo” Bianco
Like the Woodbridge, Dogajolo is a bit fatter and rounder than an Italian Pinot Grigio, making it a good match for sushi (and other lean dishes). This wine is actually from Italy, but it’s a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon, and Grechetto. The Chardonnay gives the roundness, good weight, and a mild ripe pear flavor; the Sauvignon provides some acidity, citrus, floral notes; I’m not sure what the Grechetto brings, since I’ve never had a pure Grechetto. Disclosure: I work for the company that imports this wine (Opici Wines).
Find Dogajolo Bianco at a retailer near you

Quivira Sauvignon Blanc, Fig Tree Vineyard
This was the most expensive of the four and, not surprisingly, the most complex. Like the Pinot Grigio, its California roots came through — round, good weight, more pear and floral aromas than the green, grassy, “pipi du chat” character you get from French Sauvignon. The flavor was dominated by pear and lime with a hint of spice, and the acidity was mild. It worked very nicely with the salmon sushi, and I think it would work even better with more flavorful sushi such as eel and mackerel. Again, full disclosure: this was received as a sample. If only a sushi company would send me samples as well, I’d really be in business!
Find Quivira Sauvignon Blanc “Fig Tree Vineyards” at a retailer near you

Next time I’ll get a more interesting array of sushi dishes and try more whites. Meantime, what wines do you enjoy with sushi? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Wine for Toning Down Spicy Food

The other day I found myself dining at The Delta Grill in New York City, which you might guess by the name specializes in live blues and “down home Louisiana” cuisine such as Cajun and Creole. If you have ever been to ‘nawlins or watched an episode of Emeril Live then you know that the food tends toward the spicy side. Spicy as in hot, and depending on the dish, it can be “ouch!” hot on the palate.

Generally speaking, the best alcoholic beverage to wash down hot and spicy food is a beer, and The Delta Grill has plenty to choose from. But I’m a wine professional, and as such my first inclination in any restaurant is to find and scan the wine list.

But what wines could possibly work with the hot and spicy tones of cajun cuisine? The higher alcohol content of wine only intensifies the heat — pouring gas on the fire, so to speak. How is that good?

Certainly, that argument has merit. Generally speaking, most wines will indeed heighten the heat. But if you are like me, and hell bent on finding wines that work with spicy foods, it is an absolute possibility.

In this case, I perused the wine list at Delta, and found — much to my delight — KWV Steen. Delight not only because the perceived sweetness of Chenin Blanc is a perfect foil to fiery food, but also because it just happens to be a wine imported by Opici. I swear on my grandparents’ grave that I had no idea we had an item on the list — it was completely random (and strangely random at that; most of the list is comprised of mass-market, well-known brands) to find it there, and completely random that my wife and I stopped in for a meal (our dog was being treated at an emergency vet hospital a few blocks away). Had the KWV Steen not been there, I likely would have gone for a preferably low-alcohol, similarly fruity wine such as Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Vouvray, or Pinot Gris. In most cases a rose would work just as well, as might a light-bodied red such as a Beaujolais Villages. In fact, I might even go so far as to drink a (gasp!) White Zinfandel; the sweetness will extinguish the fire on the palate.

OK, that might be a stretch. If White Zin was the closest thing to an appropriate wine match, I’d most likely turn the page to the beer list — and there’s no shame in that.

More Wines for Thanksgiving

Last week you read about several wines that are ideal for the Thanksgiving feast. Today the last-minute shoppers have a few more to consider.

Dinari del Duca Grillo 2007

Buttery texture and flavor is the immediate characteristic hitting the palate, carrying delicious lemony citrus and pear flavor. A nice mineral component arrives somewhere in the middle and stays through the finish. Works with everything on the table.

Georges Duboeuf Pouilly Fuisse Domaine Beranger 2007

Clean, crisp, zesty. White fruits – citrus and pear. Good acidity. Does not overpower the food, but rather stays off to the side and accentuates flavors. A mild, warm, toasty vanilla spice flavor echoes in the finish. On its own this wine has a nice limey citrus and ripe pear flavor, with mild vanilla spice and honeyed flavors as well. A nice enough wine to drink alone, but with the medium-high acidity, it really comes into its own with food, especially with roast turkey and many of the other dishes on the Thanksgiving table. This is a quality Pouilly-Fuisse at a fair price.
Find Duboeuf Pouilly-Fuisse Domaine Beranger at a retailer near you using Wine-Searcher

Bouchaine Pinot Noir 2006

Smells like Cherry Coke — lots of sweet black cherry, vanilla, and cola aromas. On the palate it tastes like a bite of black cherry mixed with black raspberry and small dose of vanilla spice. Tannins are mild, acidity is mild to medium, becoming more apparent in the finish. A good choice for roasted lean meats such as turkey, and it pairs just as nicely with mushroom dishes and chestnut gravy.
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Concilio Pinot Noir Riserva Trentino 2003

This wine has typical old-world Pinot Noir aromas of cherry, earth, leather, blackberry, and a slight hint of vanilla spice. In the mouth it has a glassy smooth texture and warm, round mouthfeel, with flavors of red raspberry, cherry, and a touches of sweet tobacco, spice, and mineral. Acidity is appropriately medium, tannins are mild to medium and firm. If this was tasted blind, I might have guessed it was a Premier Cru Burgundy. It is a fine complement to most Thanksgiving dishes.
Find Concilio Pinot Noir Riserva at a retailer near you using Wine-Searcher

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais – Nouveau and Cru

You can read all about Beaujolais Nouveau 2008 here. Please don’t consider other vintages of Beaujolais Nouveau for Thanksgiving, unless it is for salad dressing. A bottle of Nouveau at the Thanksgiving table is a festive, inexpensive addition, it is enjoyed by many neophytes, and it pairs well with just about everything — including the cranberry sauce.

If Nouveau is a little too low-brow for you, then you should consider a “real” Beaujolais — in other words, a Cru Beaujolais. Most decent wine shops will have at least a few on their shelf, from well-known producers such as Duboeuf and Jadot.

“Cru Beaujolais” are wines made from Gamay grapes grown in the ten best areas of the Beaujolais region. You will see one of these names on the label: Brouilly, Chenas, Chiroubles, Cote de Brouilly, Fleurie, Julienas, Morgon, Moulin-a-Vent, Regnie, Saint-Amour. These names represent those smaller microregions inside Beaujolais, and represent the best the region has to offer. Some people prefer one Cru over another, but generally speaking, Beaujolais from any of those areas will go very well with just about every dish that can be placed on a Thanksgiving table. They all have cherry and red berry aromas and flavors, good acidity levels, soft to medium tannins, and are extremely food-friendly. Best of all, most cost in the $15 – $30 range, which to me is reasonable for a holiday celebration.

Three I tasted this past week with my “faux Thanksgiving” and can recommend are:

Georges Duboeuf Julienas “Chateau des Capitans” 2007

Georges Duboeuf Fleurie “Domaines des Quatre Vents” 2007

Georges Duboeuf Brouilly “Flower Label” 2007

Yes, I tasted a lot of Duboeuf, mainly because that’s the brand I find at the shops in my area, and also the brand that you’re most likely to see in your town. Don’t limit yourself to Duboeuf, however, as there are several other Beaujolais producers worth trying. Bottom line is, if you see “Beaujolais” on a wine label, there’s a pretty good chance it’s going to work well with the Thanksgiving feast. Other “reliables” for Thanksgiving matching include Pinot Gris (particularly from Alsace or Oregon), Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel.

Happy Thanksgiving !

Wines for Thanksgiving

A week from now, the USA will be celebrating the annual “bird day” better known as Thanksgiving, enjoying a feast of myriad dishes surrounding a roasted turkey. As a result, the cork dork within you is running mad with imagination — what wine, or wines, will match with the big bird AND the assorted accompaniments?

Look no further than this website to answer that question. The entire staff (which consists of me, myself, and I) has already muddled through a “mock” Thanksgiving dinner, for the sole intention of providing you with the best wines for the Great American Feast. Yes, it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it … so let’s talk turkey!

First, let’s go over the dinner itself. I “cheated” with the bird — instead of getting a fresh, organic tom and putting it through a proper brine, I bought an on-sale, 13-pound, sodium-injected frozen turkey from a brand called “Riverside”. But, I did at least try to inflict some gourmet wisdom on the formerly feathered friend — I followed this recipe from Lidia Bastianich, which among other things suggests that you stuff and surround the turkey with vegetables (which eventually are mashed into a delightfully tasting gravy), and also offers the idea of glazing the turkey with balsamic vinegar — both for flavor and color. Following with the balsamic theme, I also followed this recipe for roasted green beans, and added simply roasted carrots and potatoes, baked sweet potato, creamed onions, Stove Top stuffing, and of course, cranberry sauce (straight from the can). Finally, I pulled one other “secret” which led to a perfect bird: chilling the breast on ice packs for a full hour before roasting. This lowered the temperature of the white meat, but kept the dark meat at room temperature, and in the end, both meats were equally done (and juicy) at the same time. No more turning the white meat to sawdust while the dark meat lumbered its way to 165 degrees!

But hey, this is a wine blog so enough with the food … on with the wine.

First, I tried white wines. Right off the bat, “Wine by Joe” Pinot Gris was a perfect pairing to everything on the table — and has a nice, soft, flavorful fruitiness that makes it a great choice as an aperitif as well. I recommend it highly for the Thanksgiving table for its versatility. It doesn’t hurt that it sounds like I made the wine (I didn’t, trust me).

I next tried a Viognier which will remain nameless, because it simply didn’t work. That doesn’t mean Viogner in general won’t work — its flabbiness and spicy character should match well with many of the Thanksgiving dishes. However this one in particular was not agreeable. Perhaps it was too old, or maybe it was because it was French (just kidding!).

The next white that worked was Clean Slate Riesling, which has quickly become a favorite in my home. The rich, ripe, apple-y flavor melds well with nearly everything you can put on a table, and is especially complementary to traditional Thanksgiving dishes — both sweet and savory. If you can find it, get it — it’s reasonably priced and everyone will enjoy it (even the beer drinkers).

Next I tried Bouchaine Chardonnay, which to me is more of an aperitif than something for the Thanksgiving table. Its rich, spicy vanilla, apple, and toasty aromas and flavors are exactly right while the house is filling with the smells of baked apple (or pumpkin) pie, roasted chestnuts, the turkey, the vegetables, and the stuffing. It has a creamy, round character and warmness that makes you smile, and though it paired nicely with the equally creamy creamed onions, it was a little too over the top in flavor for the turkey. Nevertheless, I like it as a wine to serve with appetizers and conversation, and there will be Chardonnay lovers who think it is just wonderful with the meal.

After the whites it was time to test the reds. First up was Blackstone Pinot Noir, which was surprisingly delightful. I say that because I have a tendency to poo-poo the well-known, mass-produced brands, and as a result am taken aback when one impresses me. The Blackstone Pinot Noir had ripe, bright aromas and flavors of sweet raspberry, cherry, and gobs of strawberry — all of which worked well with the turkey, the stuffing, the onions, the balsamic-roasted green beans, the cranberry sauce … heck, it worked with everything. The best part is, you can find it just about everywhere, and likely for under fifteen bucks. It’s a no-brainer for the Thanksgiving feast.

After the Blackstone and another inexpensive Pinot Noir to not be named later, on a whim I tasted MeMo Sangiovese against the plethora of plates. Alone, it had a sharp acidity — typical of Sangiovese — but it was toned down with food. It wasn’t mind-blowing but it didn’t need to be. Rather, it was a fine, unobtrusive complement to everything, in particular the creamed onions, the dark meat, and the white meat drenched in yummy, fatty gravy. Oh, and I picked it up for under ten bucks, so if you’re on a strict budget, go for it.

Finally, I tried Rosenblum Zinfandel Paso Robles 2006. It was the most expensive bottle of the bunch, just a shade under twenty bucks ($19.99 to be exact). While I tend to be one who finds every way possible to go against the grain, and in the case of Thanksgiving the “grain” is Zinfandel, in this case I have to go with the “experts” and pundits — the right Zinfandel is an ideal match for the ultimate American feast.

Rosenblum, to me, is one of the best quality:price wineries for Zinfandel, and this bottle fit that assessment. It worked perfectly with the balsamic glaze and the gravy; white meat and dark meats both work well. There is some bright raspberry and black cherry fruit, but it kind of falls by the wayside and yields to spicy flavors (cardamom, chocolate licorice, clove) and a big dose of pleasant, creamy vanilla. That creamy vanilla is a nice partner to the creamed onions and also pairs nicely with the roasted carrots and red onions. If there is a problem with the Rosenblum Zin, it is that you likely won’t have enough of it. Once people get a taste of it, and realize how wonderful it is, they will eschew any other bottles on the table. My recommendation is to buy several bottles of it, or make sure you have more expensive Zins or drop-dead Burgundies lined up as an encore, or serve it later in the meal. Bottom line — it’s so far my favorite wine for Thanksgiving.

However, the research has only begun. Between now and next Thursday, more wines will be matched with the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Tomorrow, in fact, we’ll be getting the first taste of the 2008 vintage via Beaujolais Nouveau. In a week, I’ll be gobbling, and you’ll have a good idea of what to look for when you walk into the wine shop.

Find these wines at a retailer near you using Wine-Searcher:

Wine by Joe Pinot Gris

Clean Slate Riesling

Bouchaine Chardonnay, Napa Valley, Carneros

Blackstone Pinot Noir

MeMo Sangiovese

Rosenblum Zinfandel Paso Robles

Wines for the Barbecue

It’s Labor Day weekend in the USA, and that means two things: the unofficial end of summer and three days of going to barbecues and outdoor parties.

But what bottle to bring? You could take the easy way out and bring beer — if you do, at least make it something adventurous, such as a small-craft local brew. Personally, I like Belgian ales and Weisse beers for summer sipping — which can be either imported or made domestically (they call them “Belgian-style” or “Hefe Weizen-style”). But wait, this is a wine blog, so let’s get on to the wines.

White wines and light reds seem best suited to an outdoor party. The weather is hopefully sunny, the conversation casual, and the atmosphere easygoing — so a wine that has similar character is ideal. Herewith a quick list of easy drinking wines that would be welcomed at any BBQ:

Rose Wines

With their “tweener” status and flexibility to match with nearly any dish, pink wines were seemingly invented for the barbecue. Any dry rose is perfect for an outdoor party, and some of the sweeter ones will be enjoyed by many party-goers. I like to opt for roses from Spain and Portugal for their value and freshness, and when I have a few extra dollars will choose bottles from France — but there are excellent examples from all over the world. Some of my favorites: Toad Hollow, Pink Criquet, Chateau Laulerie, Chateau Calissanne, Mas de Gourgonnier, Artazuri, Chapoutier “Belleruche”.

White Wines

While you can never go wrong with a rose for a BBQ, you’re nearly as fail-safe with a white. Pick up just about any white off the shelf and it will probably go with something being served at the outdoor party — or it will be fine as an aperitif. Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are no-brainers, but there are many, many others. That said, I won’t go into the details of varietals to choose from — we’d be here all day — but instead will suggest some “off the wall” whites that you might not otherwise have known or considered: Antinori Bianco, Nederburg Lyric, Nyakas Muller-Thurgau, Clean Slate Riesling, Blanck Pinot Blanc, Duca di Salaparuta Colomba Platino, Conclass Rueda.

Red Wines

Beaujolais Cru

The Gamay grape is the standard by which all other fun, light and easy reds are measured. California Gamay is OK, but the real deal comes from Beaujolais, France. Don’t buy a Nouveau, because it peaked before Easter. A “Cru” however, will have bright cherry flavor and enough structure to match with a variety of foods. Georges Duboeuf is the easiest to find and in my mind the most reliable, with Louis Jadot a close second. Favorite Cru: Morgon, Brouilly, Regnie, Fleurie, Julienas, Chenas.

Pinot Noir
The movie Sideways turned nearly every winery into a Pinot Noir factory, and as a result there are tons to choose from at various price points. Typical inexpensive Pinot Noir is light- to medium-bodied and, like Beaujolais, has a nice bright cherry character with ample acidity and enough tannin for food. My suggestions: Fleur, Estancia, Robert Mondavi, Drylands, Acacia “A”, Cono Sur.

Garnacha / Grenache
Some Grenache-based wines are borderline full-bodied, but others are lighter. The biggest clue to figuring out which is which is the price — the less the cost, likely the lighter the wine. Look in the Spain aisle, and seek out labels with the region Catalayud, Jumilla, Campo de Borja, or La Mancha — all four have been exporting enjoyable light reds in the ten-dollar range. Try: Wrongo Dongo, Garnacha de Fuego, Zeta, Borsao, Vinos Sin Ley.

There are some nice light-bodied reds from this French region. My favorite is Les Deux Rives, a soft red that is light enough to match with fish, yet has just enough to be passable with burgers.

Thanksgiving Wine: Bastide Roussanne

Domaine de La Bastide Roussanne 2006

Importer: Weygandt-Metzler

OK, this is from France, so it doesn’t fit the American themed Thansgiving. But it’s a great wine for matching with everything on the table, and it’s different!

Tasting Notes

Nose is clean, pure ripe peach and some pear, with a spicy vanilla element. On the palate it is silky smooth, almost honeylike, with flavors of pear, peach, citrus, a bit of vanilla spice and a slight hint of mineral. Acidity is low. Citrus becomes more apparent in the finish, which is easygoing. This is a nice wine as an aperitif, and a good match for lean meats, veggies, and possibly as a counter to hot and spicy dishes. The low acidity won’t get in the way of lean turkey, and it will mesh well with most of the assorted dishes you might find on the Thanksgiving table.

a-8 t-8 b-8 fc-9 v-8 ~ 91 Points

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Thanksgiving Wine: Wyatt Pinot Noir

Wyatt Pinot Noir 2006

Tasting Notes

Nose exhibits ripe red berry fruit – raspberry, black cherry, and a touch of earth and a floral element (rose petals?). In the mouth you get good ripe strawberry, raspberry, and black cherry. There is the slightest hint of a green / stemmy / herbaceous flavor that melds well with the ripe fruits. Some spice – a touch of vanilla, black pepper, and earth. Acidity is appropriately medium, tannins are soft. Texture is smooth. A touch of hotness / alcohol in the finish, which is otherwise pleasant. The flavors are ripe and enjoyable for drinking alone but subtle enough for favorable food matching. An outstanding wine for the Thanksgiving table, as it pairs well with turkey, herbaceous stuffing (i.e., rosemary, thyme), and most of the other Thansgiving fixins’. Overall a very well put together Pinot Noir at a very fair price. This wine is as close to Burgundian in style as I’ve experienced from California (that is a compliment); in fact if tasted blind I might have guessed it was a simple Bourgogne or possibly a Monthelie (if you’re a geek you might know what I’m talking about; if not, take my word for it, it’s a very nice wine).

a-8 t-8 b-8 fc-9 v-10 ~ 93 Points

Find this wine at a local retailer through Wine-Searcher, Vinquire, or WineZap

More Wines for Thanksgiving

Following up the last post, here are my quick suggestions for wines to match with your Thanksgiving meal.

Sauvignon Blanc

Generally speaking, Sauvignon Blancs go well with poultry and white meats such as turkey, due to the citrusy flavor profile. Some Sauvignons can be “greener” or more grassy than others, so it is up to your taste as to which you pick. French Sauvignon Blancs, such as from Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, will tend to be more grassy, while those from New Zealand usually have more tropical fruit character. From California, the Sauvignon Blancs can be either, and some are also dosed with oak. Overall, Sauvignon Blanc is a safe choice for most of the foods you’ll find on a typical Thanksgiving table.

My favorites for the Thanksgiving table: Geyser Peak, Simi, Brander — all from the US.


Personally, I prefer to go with lesser-oaked, or non-oaked Chardonnays when matching with food, because I find an overabundance of oak can clash with food (except hot buttered popcorn). So try to find an oak-free or only slightly oaked Chard from California (if you want to stay with the born in the USA theme), or go with a non-oaked Australian Chard or French Chablis.

American favorites for Thanksgiving matches: Francis Coppola Diamond Collection “Gold Label” (it’s actually orange), Edna Valley, La Crema.

Pinot Noir

Always a nice wine for food, Pinot Noir is an experience in itself — and a good one can be costly. However, there are some US-made Pinots under twenty bucks that are delectable and meld well with the typical Thanksgiving spread. Specifically, I’ve found all of Estancia’s Pinot Noirs to have a high price:value ratio, and the winery is in California so it fits in with the “American theme” of Thanksgiving. From the US, I also like the Pinots from Wyatt, Easton, Robert Mondavi Carneros, and Silver Spur. From New Zealand, Drylands and Vicar’s Choice both have excellent Pinot Noirs under twenty bucks, and Kim Crawford has a good one for a bit over $20.

Wines for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving turkeyAh, the perennial feast of the United States — for the foodie it is the ultimate holiday, with its succulent roast turkey surrounded by what seems to be every side dish known to mankind. And those “other” dishes are what makes the wine match a serious challenge.

A wine to go with roast turkey is easy enough: go with a mild-to-medium-bodied red, such as a Pinot Noir from Burgundy, or try a full-flavored white, such as a white Burgundy, a Califoakian Chardonnay, or a Pinot Gris from Alsace. However, the turkey is not the only thing on the table, so what wine can you choose that will go with everything?

There’s an easy answer to this: don’t try to match everything with one bottle. Instead, choose a few bottles with differing characteristics.

OK, that was too easy — and chances are you’re not going to buy eight different bottles of wine to go with the myriad dishes. So, if you’re invited to someone’s home for Thanksgiving dinner, what is an appropriate wine to bring?

The first choice is Champagne; what better way to celebrate a holiday than with bubbles? Forget the cheap stuff — spend some money and get a full-bodied, legitimate Champagne from France. A vintage brut cuvee, rose, or Chardonnay (often called “blanc de blancs”) can carry you through the day, or get a “non-vintage” (NV) for about half the price. Choose one from a reputable house such as Pommery, Mumm, Bollinger, Moet, or Perrier-Jouet. Or, if you’re willing to look a little harder, find a sparkler from Billecart-Salmon or Besserat de Bellefon, two houses that are lesser-known but will provide a great bottle to start the day and will have the power to drink throughout the meal (so maybe two bottles would be better!).

The second choice, in my book, is a Beaujolais, such as a Julienas, Moulin-a-Vent, Brouilly, Chenas, Fleurie, or other cru. Beaujolais wines have good acidity and just enough tannins to stand up to a variety of foods. The fresh, fruity ripe cherry flavor matches nicely with just about everything at the table, including the cranberry sauce. In additon to a cru Beaujolais, you may also find it fun to bring along a Nouveau, which is worthwhile as a conversation piece and will be enjoyable for the less-serious wine drinkers (i.e., the white zinners).

The aforementioned Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are not only good matches for turkey, but will also match with a variety of other foods at the table. If you choose a Pinot Noir, the suggestion — as it was with the Champagne — is to take the ducats out of your wallet and lay them down on a real Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France. As you may have seen on Sideways, there is something rather special about these wines; a good Burgundy is more an experience than a mere beverage. What better time to drink it than on a holiday, surrounded by loved ones?

Finally, if you want to have a white wine at the table, go with either a Pinot Gris from Alsace or a German Riesling. Simple Pinot Grigio, such as from Italy, is OK for appetizers, but doesn’t have the substance to follow along to the main course. Conversely, an Alsace Pinot Gris (which is the same grape, but from a different place) has significant weight in the mouth, much fuller bodied, and adds a riper, spicier note that melds well with both the turkey and many of the trimmings. German Riesling — specifically a dry QbA or Kabinett (the designation will be printed somwhere on the label). These wines have a lot of bright, fruit flavors of apple and peach, with searing acidity and mineral notes that pair well with all kinds of foods from creamed onions to sausage and herb stuffing. Perhaps best of all, German Rieslings tend to be around six to eight percent alcohol — not much more than a beer — so you can drink them all day without feeling the effect of wines double in proof.

So there you have it, a quick rundown on several wines to choose from for the Thanksgiving feast. Stop by the site a little later to read about more specific wine suggestions.