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With grapes coming into the cellars at wineries all over British Columbia a little sooner than expected, we’re also nearing that glorious culmination of Pumpkin Spiced Latte season (which seems to start in July now): Thanksgiving. What is Thanksgiving, really, other than training camp for Christmas? We get together with a similar group of people and rehearse our lines around a bird that we’d never eat otherwise with all sorts of bizarre fixings. Cranberry jelly. Yams with sugar on top of them. Marshmallow salad. We even get so kinky as to stuff the bird-who-shall-not-be-named full of bread and herbs before cooking it, when we could easily just grab a fresh slice of our favourite loaf and soak up the juices leftover on the plate at the end of the meal to roughly the same effect.
What’s the deal with this?
Thanksgiving is a time to start testing out all the fine research we’ve just completed over the course of the past two years. A chance to flaunt those Twitter University™ degrees that are still damp with ink from our personal little inkjet printers. It’s time to prime the minds of your family members to receive total enlightenment by the time Christmas rolls around, when you’ll finally show them all along that they’ve been living in a simulation…OK, I think you get the point.
The point is that despite the myriad quirks of this festive occasion, we need to coat our palates (and our respective psyches) with some decent hooch. Finding the perfect wine for Turkey dinner can be more contentious than a discussion on whether the Vancouver Canucks defence corps is either the worst in the league or the second-worst in the league. A wine snob may very well suggest to you a wine that technically works in supreme harmony with this smorgasbord, but you trying to convince your family with your sommelier-level language is likely to be an uphill battle.
I don’t know if they do Thanksgiving in Switzerland when they’re not stuffing their face full of chocolate and fondue way up in the mountains, but it’s that peaceful little country right in the middle of those cultural titans in France, Italy, and Germany that metaphorically represents the kind of wine I like to serve at Thanksgiving. We want the wine to be the calm little centre that has a little bit of everything for everyone and is just a little too polite to offend Uncle Gerry, no matter how good it would feel to call him out on his skeeviness and blow up the whole dinner.
Alas, without further ado, I, Steven Lane aka The Drunken Sommelier, present to you 11 wines that should immediately be ordered from www.tagliquorstores.com in advance of this here October 11, 2021.
Cheers to you and your own personal dysfunctional cohort - may the wine flow freely and the arguments resolve smoothly!
A few of my favourites…
1. Wild Goose Autumn Gold - $26.00
Though for the rest of the year, many people seem to push them aside for various and dubious reasons, nothing, I repeat, NOTHING pairs better with Thanksgiving dinner than a classic aromatic white blend. Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Blanc are blended in harmony here. Off-dry, juicy, and abundant with orchard fruit, this wine can pair seamlessly from cocktail hour (well-chilled), to the charcuterie board appies, to the marshmallow salad, to the turkey itself, all the way through to the pumpkin and apple pie without missing a beat. The name of this wine alone summarizes its ideal use perfectly: gold. Especially with Thanksgiving dinner.
2. Mt. Boucherie Pinot Noir - $28.35 ($2 OFF)
While aromatic whites are the classic choice for a harvest feast, my personal rule with Pinot Noir is that the bigger the wings on the main course, the more you need to be drinking it. Quail, hen, chicken, duck, owl, and most of all, turkey, are relatively light meats that are complemented perfectly by the delicate yet complex nature of Pinot Noir. Red cherry and strawberry fruit are abundant with a slight spice note on the finish. Just describing this wine sounds like another side dish for this meal, which makes it a natural fit at the table at this time of year.
3. Joel Gott Zinfandel - $31.00
Turkey is lean. Big, chewy red wines generally prefer to have a little more heft thrown at them, and when I say heft, I mean fat. Ribeye, beef short rib, or New York striploin are all more suitable bedfellows for the big ol’ reds that Sloshy Auntie Susie insists on consuming in abundance. However, when one must break all cardinal rules of the Sommelier Bible™ (heaven forbid!) and serve fat red wine with Thanksgiving, choose Zinfandel. Zinfandel naturally has low tannins and delivers an element of sweet clove and cardamom spice alongside jammy fruit that make it passable and in fact, quite pleasant as a pairing for the oozy goodness of the harvest table.
And a few others that will slay the big bird with ease if another style of the grape juice is so desired…
4. Masi Rosa - $25.15
Rosé makes your pairing problems go away. My dad drinks rosé, and he’s practically the second coming of Sean Connery. It’s 2021, folks. Gone are the days of gendering a wine because of its colour. Delicious, refreshing, and festive.
5. Stag’s Leap Chardonnay - $37.10 ($3 OFF)
Rich, ripe Chardonnay aged in the oakiest of barrels has one true purpose in life: to be paired with buttery mashed potatoes. If you’re the one to load up on the fall season’s version of pommes de terres, then grab a bottle. Or six. Because it’s tasty.
6. The Ned Pinot Gris - $21.60
Do you remember who won best supporting actress at the Oscars last year? Neither do we. However, sometimes that’s just what you need during poultry-fun-fest: something that achieves its goal so well, you hardly notice that it’s there, and would only notice if it was missing. Crowd-pleasing, clean, and easy.
7. Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon - $26.15
For some stubborn folk (not that I have any in my own circle…) it just has to be Cab and it just has to be from California. You could literally bottle straight weasel piss and label it Cali Cabernet and they would be all over it. Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon is anything but weasel piss, I should add, and as less-than-ideal for turkey as Cabernet Sauvignon is, this one is soft, round, and plush enough to be called up from the minors and put into the lineup.
8. Finca Los Primos Cabernet Sauvignon - $17.85
If the above wine in Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon is a little out of your budget or if you happen to be hosting that guest who should really be bringing a half-case of wine just to quench themselves but expects you to provide the imbibes for them, then save a few pennies and serve them this. I’m no gaucho, amigo, but I feel like one when I’m drinking Finca Los Primos. Make sure to bust our your spangled leather poncho.
9. Conundrum White - $28.95
Much like the aforementioned Autumn Gold, Conundrum White is a quintessential aromatic blend that delivers some delicate sweetness, floral notes, and bright sunshine in a fragrant orchard. I’m starting to sound like a Tide™ commercial or something, but in all seriousness, this wine is an ideal match for the bounty surrounding our feathered friends.
10. Stoneleigh Pinot Noir - $20.90 ($1.10 OFF)
A finessed, elegant, and quaffable Pinot with red fruit flavours wrapped in a savoury herb-crust and delivered in silk wrapping paper. Perhaps poetry isn’t my strongest suit. Excellent value Pinot Noir can be somewhat of an oxymoron. Until now. Buy low (it’s on sale). Sell high (translation: drink with abandon).
11. La Marca Rosé Prosecco - $24.45 (.45 cents OFF)
I can be quoted as saying earlier in this article that rosé can solve all problems that one might have with food and wine pairing. Well, I stand by that, and I’d like to build on it by adding bubbles to the equation. It’s noted in ancient civilizations that bubbles can often go straight to one’s head. And if you’re working up the confidence to confront your father-in-law on the simple fact that dark meat is juicier, more tender, and MUCH more delicious than white meat, then you need some bubbles to get to your head. Fast.
Enjoy these selections from our in-house and Certified Drunken Sommelier™ Steven Lane with your Thanksgiving meal!
SHOP WINES NOW!