Wines for Thanksgiving

Every year my mother-in-law hosts Thanksgiving for 20-40 people, with the only requirement being that guests bring a side dish from their childhood and a stick of butter. What goes unspoken, because it’s so fundamental, is that everyone brings a bottle of wine. While it’s easy to get caught up in the pressure of creating the perfect dinner, what really matters is that everyone enjoys the company, and the food and wine are really the add-ons. The Schneider’s wine team has pitched in a few suggestions for their favorite holiday wines, sure bets that will tie the meal together and start a conversation without breaking the bank.

Jon Genderson

Martellotto Pinot Noir Sierra Madre Vineyard 2011 ($30)

This excellent Pinot Noir shows marvelous complexity in its sweet, ethereal fruit. Dried cherries, crushed flowers and spices waft from the glass as this delicate, perfumed Pinot shows off its class. It's really an amazing value and will pair quite nicely with turkey and all the fixings.

Barrique Cellars Syrah Sonoma county 2011 ($25)

For those who want a bigger red with their turkey, look no further than this beauty. It is big, rich, ripe and lush with good structure, great depth of flavor, a big middle with excellent mouthfeel, a peppered spice reminiscent of a Cotie Rotie and a long and lingering finish.  Delicious!

Heimberger Riesling Grand Cru Schoenenbourg 2010 ($30)

Looking for a white for your Thanksgiving table?  This DRY Riesling is a perfect choice.

White peaches awash in minerals and slate are found in the spectacular Riesling Schoenenbourg's aromatics. The wine offers massive richness, plump petrol-infused pears, melons, and apples, as well as a deep minerality that is discernible in its exceptionally long finish. It is medium-bodied, concentrated, and impeccably balanced. WOW!

Lilia Coffin, Wine Consultant

Jean Laurent Blanc de Noirs NV ($50)

Single-grower Champagne made with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. Soft, lush, and round, with a bright perfume of vanilla and peach, and notes of red berries, honey, and herbs. It is substantial enough to stand up to the heavy holiday meal but delicate enough to complement, instead of battle, the intense flavors on the table.

Vicchiomaggio Vigna La Prima Chianti Classico Reserva 2009 ($25)

Old vine, low yield Chianti, with 16-20 months in oak, this bottle offers concentrated red berry and plum fruit, with an underlying spicy acidity that sets it off against the big Thanksgiving feast.

Sean Devine, Wine Consulant

2010 Coudoulet de Beaucastel Cotes du Rhone 2010 ($30)

The wine displays oodles of licorice, black currant and black cherry liqueur with hints of damp forest floor and truffle. Sweet tannin, decent acidity and nice, attractive density make for an outstanding Cotes du Rhone to complement your Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, and cranberries.

2010 Jean-Marc Gilet Vouvray Sec 2010 ($15)

The perfect wine to pair with your Thanksgiving appetizers and salad! The color is a stunning golden yellow with silver hues. The nose has upfront flavors of white peaches with hints of freshly peeled almonds and white flowers. The palate is delicate and complex, its sweetness is balanced by good acidity and notes of ripe grapefruit, as well as intense fruity flavors, reminding of such exotic fruits as mango. At the right temperature, some mineral notes with a light smokiness enhance the complexity and elegance of the wine. The finish is clean, soft, long and fresh, leaving delicate tangerine flavors.

Felix Milner, New Media Manager and Wine Expert

Jacquart Brut de Nominée NV ($60)

This is a stunningly, rich and elegant Champagne that can either be served before dinner as an aperitif, or served with the Turkey and all the trimmings. The nose offers up an enticing display of brioche and ripe stone fruit.  Meanwhile, the palate possesses a luxuriously, creamy mouthfeel, which is balanced by a fine mousse. The naturally high acidity ensures a crisp clean finish that works well with rich food.

Macauley Old Vine Napa Zinfandel 2010 ($40)

For all you Zin fans out there, this is a must.  I could go on and on about the incredibly smooth and silky texture and the exceptional array of fruit, but I won’t. What impresses me about this Zinfandel, is not just its amazing concentration and length, but the fact that it feels so fresh and energetic.  The oak aging has also given it great structure and backbone. This will work at treat, specially with some of the darker parts of the bird, such as the legs and thighs.

Buller Fine Tawny NV ($17)

If any wine reminds me of Thanksgiving it’s this, Buller’s Fine Tawny. I can think of little else, especially at this ridiculous price point, that would work better with a Thanksgiving dessert, than this. Flavors of candied red fruit, roasted nuts, caramel, toffee and spice make this a great paring with pumpkin pie, pecan pie or chocolate. It has intense richness and velvety texture which is balanced by a racy acidity, making this a pure pleasure to your senses.

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