Thanksgiving Wine Recommendations

The first crisp days of autumn are here. Enjoy them for a moment − then start planning your Thanksgiving Feast. We love Thanksgiving because it’s about something everyone can get behind: food. But let’s admit it, if we’ve been eating the same dinner our whole lives, sometimes it’s a challenge to make things seem exciting.

Don’t worry – and don’t make that pickled kumquat and yogurt retia from the Food Channel. Castro Village Wine has the solution: inventive wine parings to make your feast new and noteworthy.

Pre-Dinner Champagne

Depending on your family, the pre-dinner drink can be a luxury or a necessity. We recently brought in an exciting selection of Recolant-Manipulants, known by non-francophiles as Small Grower Champagnes. These are the artisan Champagnes of France. Produced by small vineyards in very limited quantities, Recolant-Manipulants represent some of the most interesting sparking wines France has to offer. They are the perfect way to start you Thanksgiving. Two of our favorites are:

Stephane Coquillette – Cuvee Diane Blanc de Blanc NV
Fourth Gen is not just for gadgets. M. Coquillette has drawn on his esteemed background to create an amazing fizz with aromas of apple, melons and a bit of honeysuckle. But he doesn’t stop there. At the mid-palate, the fruit moves into a bright cream. Wonderful and refreshing. $49.50

Marc Hebrart – Rosé Premier
We love rosé champagne. Rosé Premier is a great example of why. Cool chalky notes are framed by sweet red berries, flowers and mint. It’s 47% chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir, and 7% Pinot Meunier, and it marries the grapes brilliantly. This outstanding Champagne is a personal favorite. $58

Wine for the Main Course
Thanksgiving is about friends and family coming together, likely with some assorted new beaux, and a couple of waifs and strays mixed in. To celebrate the gathering of a diverse clan, we recommend pairing several different styles of wine with the main course. Different parings throw new light on longtime favorite dishes − and give everyone something to talk about besides politics, football, or grudges! Here are four wines to enliven the palate, and keep the conversation clean.

2012 Stony Hill Riesling
Riesling is a classic white wine for Thanksgiving Dinner. It goes well with turkey and stuffing – period. Stony Hill is a wonderful dry Riesling in the classic German style. It is well balanced, with cider apple, white peach and lemon, combined with a touch of minerals. It ends with a delicate intensity and lingering fruit finish. $27

2012 Cep Russian River Rosé
Rose with Turkey? Do you really want to compete with the cranberries? Absolutely – this is a great flavor match with Thanksgiving dishes. Rose is a wonderful diverse wine that is not served enough with dinner. The Cep is made from Pinot Noir. It’s dry, with light fruit and good light minerality. It also lets you see who at the table has an adventurous spirit. You’ll be surprised. $24

2012 Foggy Bottom Pinot Noir
Pinot is the traditional red for Thanksgiving. This one’s elegant, with wonderful red and black berry notes. It’s carried along by soft background vocals of fine spices. Classic Sonoma. An amazing price $24. You can’t go wrong.

2012 Spicerack Sonoma Syrah
Syrah can bring a spicy edge and its voluptuousness graciously handles the cornucopia of Thanksgiving flavors. Spicerack has dark berries and cherry with a bright mineral overtone. This definitely will add more complexity to the feast. Keep some around for desert. $22.50

After Dinner Drinks
Thanksgiving is about American History. And America is about bourbon and rye. These two delicious products both have historical connections. And if things get out of hand, they go great with stuffing and gravy.

Hooker’s House Bourbon
We are still excited about this new double-barreled bourbon. It’s finished in Pinot Noir barrels – right here in Sonoma. You get a toffee-sweet amazing mouthful of dark fruit jam, vanilla, honey sweetness and rich rye spice. (The name Hooker’s House comes from a Civil War General, Joseph Hooker – who lived in Sonoma before returning to fight for his country in the civil war.) $38

James E. Pepper 1776 Rye
This is a historic whiskey brand that truly dates back to 1776. The distillation method recreates an old style High-Rye Whiskey. On the nose you get spicy rye, clove, and chocolate. On the palate rye, cinnamon, dark chocolate, pepper with a bit of butter cream, orange spice cake, and charcoal. The finish is long and smooth with hints of vanilla and honey. This is the perfect way to finish the holiday. $27

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