Wine Line: The right bottle for Thanksgiving dinner

12/02/2013 1:05 PM

12/02/2013 1:07 PM

Wine is not rocket science. It’s easy. Find a wine you like, at price you can afford and drink it. I made that statement at a recent wine tasting and nearly got a standing ovation.

Wine is just fermented grape juice that works well with food. Drink what you like with the food that you like and you’ll have the perfect pairing. Simple, isn’t it?

Finding the right wine for Thanksgiving is also simple. Here are three suggestions to keep in mind: Avoid wines high in alcohol. They will overpower the food and you. Falling asleep and missing the pumpkin pie is not cool. Also, avoid big, young tannic wines. These wines (read “expensive”) need time to age and soften. Big tannic wines will dry out your mouth and coat your teeth with fur, a definite no-no with cranberry sauce. And finally, avoid big fat and flabby over-oaked white wines (many chardonnays). There is plenty of butter in the potatoes, the dinner rolls and the turkey. Why would you want it in the wine too?

Remember, these are only suggestions.

Thanksgiving dinner is a big deal but selecting the wine shouldn’t be. Here are three wineries that produce excellent wines at fair prices and are readily available. Bogle, McManis and Columbia Crest wines are all priced around $11 but are usually on sale for a few dollars less.

McManis makes excellent wine. I lean toward their viognier, merlot and petite sirah. My favorite wines from Bogle include their sauvignon blanc, old vine zinfandel and pinot noir. Columbia Crest produces an excellent cabernet sauvignon and merlot and a terrific dry riesling. All these wines are consistent medal winners, go well with food and are under $10.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

Red blends

Most of the major wineries are now producing a red blend.

I’m not sure what is causing the current red blend craze, but here are a few guesses. Blending different red wine varietals with a tannic wine like cabernet sauvignon can soften the tannins and make the wine drinkable sooner. Younger wine drinkers are not hung up on the traditional varietals and like the taste of the blends (especially if there is a bit of residual sugar). Everyone says they like a dry wine but most people actually prefer a bit of sweetness. These blends often have really cool names.

Finally, the sum of the parts in a blend can exceeds the flavors of the components, i.e. a better smoother wine is created. Three blends that made Our Table this week were the 2010 A by Acacia Red blend, the Concannon 2010 Crimson and Clover and the 2011 Coppola Rosso & Bianco Rosso. All three would be good picks for Turkey Day. Cheers!

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