What We’ll Drink… for Thanksgiving
I heard from a few of you that you were curious what the NYCR was drinking tomorrow. So, I asked the team to hurriedly send over just that bit of information.
Not surprisingly, there are some overlaps (influding a local angle, particularly Finger Lakes riesling) but there is also quite a bit of diversity too:
Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor
We follow two simple rules in my house on Thanksgiving — drink stuff you like. And if you don’t like it, dump it out.
Luckily many of the beverages I crave most are among the most food friendly as well, so this lineup could be for most any meal — except maybe fewer would be served from big bottles.
We’re combining parts of my family with some of our dearest friends, so we’ll start the afternoon with some sparkling wine — probably from Sparkling Pointe and Chateau Frank — and some saisons, including East End Brewing’s Spelt Saison and Boulevard Brewing Saison-Brett (assuming cheese editor Aaron Estes brings it over).
From there, it will be a variety of Finger Lakes and German rieslings — including a magnum of Hermann J. Wiemer 2009 Dry Riesling — and red wines that run the gamut. We’ll have pinot noir for sure (probably 2007 Heart & Hands), but also some Hudson-Chatham baco noir, some Chinon (I love herby cab franc with turkey) and some magnums from Peconic Bay Winery (Bordeaux blend) and Paumanok Vineyards (Grand Vintage Merlot).
If people are interested, we’ll have some Sheldrake Point Ice Apple Splash with my wife Nena’s homemade apple pie. Or maybe some late harvest riesling.
On behalf of the entire team, happy Thanksgiving from the New York Cork Report!
Evan Dawson, Managing Editor
We’re opening the Thanksgiving celebration with a varietal Vignoles that is not a dessert wine: a 2009 Vignoles from Keuka Spring Vineyards (one of our Wines of the Year candidates for non-riesling a couple of years ago). It’s a lovely holiday wine: crowd pleasing, nice snap, like a bag of dried and candied fruit that you find at the airport.
There will inevitably be some Finger Lakes riesling at the table, and we’ll supplement it with a bottle of 2006 Max Ferd Richter Spatlese from the Mosel.
I’m a sucker for the oft-urged Thanksgiving red: pinot noir. We’ll have a few Finger Lakes pinots open and we’ll crack into a bottle of Holdredge Pinot Noir, one of my favorite producers from the Russian River Valley.
And here’s an ideal meal for the best value dessert wine around: Standing Stone ice wines, always a too-low price and a fine finisher to chase the pumpkin pies and apple galettes.
Bryan Calandrelli, Regional Editor, Niagara
My Thanksgiving will not resemble the enthusiastic wine-geek pep rally writers evoke in annual holiday wine stories. I’ll be surprised if we finish two bottles over the course of an evening and I’ll surely be responsible for at least one and a quarter — but that’s okay. It’s not about the wine right? It’s about ME picking the wines so here we go.
Since every day is local wine day, I’m filling in the thirsty gaps with my own 2011 Niagara Escarpment Pinot Noir and then shifting to the Old World with the rest. Perhaps the most exciting wines I’ve ever babysat (sourced from vines once meant for Warm Lake Estate), my 2011 was gently crushed, spontaneously fermented with partial whole cluster, and pressed before its elevage in barrel. With nothing added and nothing taken away, it’s one of the most satisfying light-bodied reds I’ve ever drank.
For my white I’m going with white Burgundy — Jean Manciat 2011 Macon Charnay. It’s unoaked, floral, fruity and crisp. Could I find a local chardonnay that would have sufficed? Yes — but like I said — I’ll drink that stuff any day of the week and I don’t often venture to Maconnais. I’ll be staying in Burgundy — Beaujolais actually — for my red with the Clos de la Roilette 2011 Fleurie . It’s a relatively bold expression of the gamay grape and should be all the punch I need with my mom’s delicate turkey gravy.
Post-turkey I’m going to get bitter with Suze Saveur d’Autrefois. It’s the original recipe of a bitter yellow aperitif flavored with gentian first bottled in 1889. The modern day Suze is lightly bitter and mildly sweet with an odd herbal note but the “d’Autrefois” label version is the original recipe, which is entirely un-mild and may be just what I need after dinner.
Julia Burke, Beer Editor
This Thanksgiving I’m doing things a little differently. For the first time in 26 years I won’t be with my family; their jobs are keeping them in Ohio, while my part-time job as a wine associate at Premier means sticking around Buffalo. But it turns out many of my friends are in the same boat. Jon (the artist formerly known as “slampiece”) and I find traditional Thanksgiving fare rather boring and restrictive, so we had a brilliant idea: Thankspizza — or, if you prefer, Pizzagiving. We will be making homemade pizzas on a dizzying variety of themes for brunch, dinner, and dessert, inviting friends to try whatever wacky combinations they desire.
It certainly makes the wine pairing more fun. The one Turkey Day tradition I AM keeping this year is my beloved tradition of an all-local wine and beer list; this year, it’s the scrumptious Flying Bison Blizzard Bock along with a lineup of Niagara and Finger Lakes wines: Leonard Oakes ’11 riesling and ’10 frontenac, which have rocked my Thanksgivings for three years in a row; Arrowhead Spring ’10 pinot noir and ’09 chardonnay; Red Tail Ridge dornfelder (I didn’t see a vintage); Schulze Brut Vidal BdB and ’11 siegfried reserve; Keuka Spring ’10 cabernet franc; and the wine that started this tradition, Eveningside reserve chardonnay (’11). Finally, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without my guiltiest pleasure: Schulze crackling catawba. (Jon has no guilt; I’ll never forget the moment at a harvest party last year when he met Jonathan Oakes, learned he was also winemaker for Schulze, and promptly exclaimed, “Dude––that catawba? Shit’s AWESOME!”)
David Flaherty, Cider and Spirits Editor
For Thanksgiving, I must ensure that all the major food groups are represented…err…the beverage groups. Cider, beer, and wine will be happily co-mingling with the stuffing and the cranberry sauce.
While my first bet for cider would be Eve’s Bittersweet, my stash is running low, so I’m instead opting to bring JK’s Scrumpy. With it’s bountiful effervescence and hint of sweetness, we’re talking Cider/Turkey Lovefest 2012.
For the beer, I’ve zeroed in on what must be one of my top three favorite beers from this year, the Dupont La Bière de Beloeil. This Belgian dynamo has just the tasty malt profile to dance with the gravy and lift the bird into the sky.
For wine, I’m thinking of going with red this year (up till now it’s been riesling, riesling, riesling). I’m putting my money on the Weingut Glatzer Blaufränkisch from Austria. Austrian reds are some of my favorite food wines; juicy, high acid, and with oft-hypnotic aromas of earth and fruit. I’m thinking gold on all three beverage podiums at this year’s Thanksgiving Olympics.
Todd Trzaskos, North Country Correspondent
Traditionally, I was heavily involved in helping with the procuring of ingredients and the cooking for big family meals, especially the Thanksgiving holiday. Recently, the expectation is that I take care of the wine and other beverages, making sure that all involved are in positive spirits.
In our family most side with the red wine team so I pick something that is widely acceptable and easygoing, while for those fewer of us that like some white in the first half of the game, and in the final minutes, I try to pick something just a little different. Since it will take more than several bottles of red to make it through the dinner event quaffing, and we need to keep a budget. I turned to a wine that’s been a house go-to grenache of ours for years, and one that Robert Parker just recently flipped out over on Twitter.
@RobertMParkerJr:buy Bodegas Borsao 2010s and 2011s-all from Campo de Borja-all under $10,which is F*@$%^@ unreal for such quality” https://twitter.com/RobertMParkerJr/status/239770610207715328
I usually don’t give a turkey’s tail what old Bob cares for, but in this case I know he is not full of stuffing.
For white, a recent tasting with Eva Mallo reminded me that their family’s Alsatian Sylvaner would be a fine match for the significant number of vegetable side dishes that we enjoy, as well as slicing suitably through the bird fat and gravy. 2010 was prime ripening in the Mallo vineyards, and the wine was nowhere near the thin acid edge that it can teeter upon in a lesser season. This has a clean fresh nose like talcum powder on the skin of an infant napping in a basket of wildflowers and herbs. I think that it will not only be a great pairing, but fine aromatics like that tend to slow down the pace of the eating, and repeatedly give us pause for thanks.
Tracy Weiss, New York City-Long Island Correspondent
I am a food fascist. A total control freak that orchestrates holiday meals obsessively. From canapés to the champagne toast at the finish, I over prep and over serve guests. As for the wine? Often I plan the menu *around* the wine.
So what’s a girl like me to drink when traveling on Thanksgiving Morning with a husband who’s pretty bossy regarding our collective “Don’t Check Your Luggage” Rule? I’ll be denied despite my pleading that I’ll probably die if I cannot bring just two bottles of wine along in a cozy Wine Diaper.
I’ll make it work. American Airlines will serve an aperitif, a Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Careneros Brut NV, en route to SFO early Thursday. Knowing my friends, there will be more California sparklers to greet me when I rush in the door toting along Wrecking Ball Coffee Beans for a hostess gift. I expect pinot noir from the Willamette Valley, perhaps from Adelsheim Vineyard who’s other vintages I’ve tasted. An obvious pair with our roasted Brussels, traditional dressing and simply prepared bird, I look forward to the dry-ish, silky, well-structured wine with a pomegranate seed and cherry finish.
And because I cannot be trusted to let someone else handle the details, I took advantage of being in California and ordered mass amounts of the Dry Hopped Cider from Finnriver Farm and Winery in Chimacum, Washington which will appeal to my hosts’ nostalgia for their years in Seattle and allow me to try a fabulous product that doesn’t ship to New York State. (Oh and if, Erica or Jeff are reading this? That case on your doorstep is from me. Surprise!)
Len Dest, Long Island Correspondent
We will drink three (at least) domestic cool-climate wines. To start we will having Ravines Wine Cellar’s 2009 Argetsinger Vineyard Dry Riesling, one of the more elegant Finger Lake rieslings we have enjoyed in the past year. The fruit from Sam Argetsinger’s vineyard in the capable hands of winemaker Morten Hallgren results in a wonderful elixir. The wine pairs well with lighter hors d’oeuvres, oysters on the half shell, and most appetizer dishes.
For the main meal we have a choice of a red and white. We will be serving a Melville Winery’s 2007 Terraces Pinot Noir by winemaker Greg Brewer, a perfect example of the pinot noirs being produced in the cool Sta. Rita Hills of Santa Barbara County. This wine is perfect with food and goes great with all forms of poultry, ham and beef.
Also, we will be having St. Innocent Winery’s 2010 Freedom Hill Vineyard Pinot Blanc, a classic Willamette Valley Oregon white wine from winemaker Mark Vlossack that has complex flavors and is a more lush style than Pinot Blancs from Alsace. Another food friendly wine, this is perfect with poultry, fish and shellfish.
Amy Zavatto, New York City-Long Island Correspondent
My husband at times refers to me as the Thanksgiving Nazi, and I suspect it’s entirely true. Years ago, I wrestled the holiday away from his mom — a lovely, lovely little off-the-boat southern Italian woman who I adored with all my heart. But as Thanksgiving was not her native celebration, she saw it more as a “cook all the celebratory foods you know!” kind of day. Turkey, ham, lamb, manicotti, stuffed artichokes, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed stuffing — you name it. All kinds of deliciousness, but it drove me not just a little crazy.
My family, see, was always super traditional — crudité to start; turkey and stuffing made with my dad’s homemade sausage; mashed potatoes; gravy; green beans; cranberry sauce. Apple and pumpkin pies. And wine. Lots of wine.
After grabbing the holiday like a hot brass ring and spending the last few years tweaking the menu to something everyone is happy with (even without the pasta), I’ve finally settled on the thing that’s fun to think about: the lots of wine part. Here’s what’s up this year:
Kick-off: Venetian Sprtiz (Aperol and Prosecco). My friend — writer and barman St. John Frizell — turned me onto this at his great, great spot, Fort Defiance in Red Hook. Nice and low-alcohol, light and appetite-whetting. It’ll be great with raw veggies, cold shrimp, and roasted nuts that’ll be out for pre-dinner noshing.
Dinner: 2002 Olga Raffault “Les Picasses” Chinon. Hot damn. First, can I just say, for 25 bucks you can’t go wrong here. I know this is a splurge-y price point for some of us, but for a 10-year-old beautiful, incredibly well-made cabernet franc of this quality, you’ve got crazy value here. Some notes from the last time I drank it: Black and red cherries, foresty earthiness, spice, like fresh nutmeg and a pretty mix of fresh and dry herbs. Super bright and alert in your mouth with lead and blackberry on the finish. Le sigh.
2010 Francois Pinon “Silex Noir” Vouvray. I was a very lucky woman indeed to visit with and meet this talented, quiet man who farms and makes his wine with as little intervention as possible (read: no chemical pesticides or fertilizers; hand-harvesting; spontaneous fermentation). I haven’t tasted the ’10 vintage yet, so this will be a surprise, but I know a bit of what to expect — great acidity, notes of nectarine, peach, smoke, honeysuckle, flint (which is what “silex” means) — mouthfilling but clean and light on the palate. It’s the first wine I’ve found that my sister-in-law likes (!!) and that I like, too. A lot.
2011 Ravines Dry Riesling. Because there’s got to be something from NY on my table — this is an American holiday! But also, it’s just a great, great riesling. Pulsating acidity, palate-cleansing and zippy citrusy notes. Bright, fresh, vibrant. I just love this wine and find it to be not only an incredible value, but a symbol for how great our local product can be. And the holidays are all about symbols!
Dessert: 2010 Knapp Vidal Ice Wine. Because I helped pick these grapes! Actually, if you look at the page where Lenn lists our pictures and bios? Yup, that’s me picking those grapes. I have another bottle of this that I’m going to hold onto for as long as I can stand it, but I’m feeling very “the moment is now!” this year — and, well, I want to show off a little.
Katie Myers, New York City Correspondent
I was in Turkey (the country) earlier this month, so yep — I’m bringing the two Tukeys together tomorrow. I picked a indigenous variety, Kalecik Karasi, which is a bit like pinot meets gamay with a little bit of spice, from one of three producers in Cappadocia, Kocabağ. Unlike some Turkish wines which use a lot of oak, this is made in a carved stone tufa and is fresh with vibrant fruit. It’s a fun way to share my travels with family at home.
I’ve also got a magnum of Clos de la Roilette 2010 Cuvée Tardive. Because nothing says holiday like a magnum, right? Beaujolais is always a safe bet for the holidays, and the elegance of this Fleurie — cherry high notes underscored by meaty minerality — makes it an extra-special pick. I had a bottle last week. It’s drinking beautifully (and can still age for a nice long while, too). The quality-to-value ratio is outstanding.
And while I’m a firm believer in giving each holiday it’s due, I will be bringing Sam Adams’ White Christmas (limited release seasonal). It’s a witbier with holiday spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange peel, which show up at both holidays. This beer really sets the stage for the season. It’s a lighter beer, but unfiltered, which givesit some heft in the mouthfeel and substance for the cooler weather.