Thanksgiving is almost here, and I should feel obliged to give y’all a wine list of the usual suspects, starting with Beaujolais. But I’m feeling lazy yet again, so I’ve reached out to some of my trusted colleagues throughout the Bay Area and asked them what they’re drinking with the bird this year.
Most of us like a little fizz to get the meal going, and David Netzer of The Wine House would go with Domaine d’Orfeuilles’ Touraine Brut Rosé ($18.50), a certified organic sparkling wine made from malbec, cabernet franc and grolleau. Venturing further toward the deep end, Nectar’s Chris Potter thinks we should check out Bleasdale Vineyards’ Uncle Dick: The Red Brute Sparkling Shiraz ($19.99) from the Langhorne Creek in Australia, which has “a frozen boysenberry jam bomb” that “explodes with a fizzy ‘whoosh’ of eucalyptus leaves, a chilled shot of anisette and a hard shwack of leather that says Uncle Dick means business!” All right then.
Potter also recommends the 2012 Keller Riesling Qba Trocken ($21.99) from Germany’s Rheinhessen, which he describes with almost as much verve, saying it possesses “a warm embrace between freshly harvested honeycomb, white flower-studded clingstone peaches and a hint of jasmine tea.” Joseph Estrada of Castro Village Wine Co. likes riesling too, but he’s thinking domestic, with the 2012 Stony Hill ($25) that is “a perfect addition to any Thanksgiving meal with its subtle but lovely texture and delicate white flower aromatics.”
Over in Berkeley at Solano Cellars, Jason Lefler picked a German pinot noir, the 2012 Dr. Heyden Oppenheim ($20), another Rheinhessen selection, explaining, “I really like this wine because it’s distinctly a German pinot — sour cherry and strawberry fruit with a bit of sandalwood, but it’s more friendly.”
Chiming in from the Peninsula, Gerald Weisl of Weimax Wine & Spirits in Burlingame suggests Scenic Roots 2012 The Forager, ($21.99), calling it “a beautifully cherry-ish Sonoma Coast pinot noir with a hint of a floral tone.”
Weisl is also a fan of the 2012 Juicy Villages ($21.99) from Juicy Rebound, which he says is “a tip of the cap to good, exuberantly youthful Southern Rhone reds.”
Beaujolais is a must during Thanksgiving, and while nouveau is fun and festive, the crus are more complex. Netzer makes a good case for the 2011 Chateau de Raousset Chiroubles ($19.50), which he calls “the classic pairing with turkey and all the trimmings; a delicious high-fruit, low-tannin cru Beaujolais from a top grower.”
Off the beaten path, Wayne Garcia, from Dig Wines in the Dogpatch, is thinking that the 2011 Baron Widmann Vernatsch ($21) is the way to go, saying it is “a lovely light red that suggests crunchy currant fruits, red flowers and a bit of pepper.” Also known as “schiava,” it hails from Trentino-Alto Adige in northeastern Italy, and while still pretty obscure, it has familiar flavors that would indeed complement a Thanksgiving Day meal.
Courtney Cochran of Hip Tastes is taking a “local” approach, recommending Carl Sutton’s “jug wine,” a mysterious blend that is available at Dogpatch WineWorks in half-liter ($15), half-gallon ($30) and gallon ($54) jugs. She says, “Blends can change as often as weekly, but the wine is always red and fruit-forward with a soulful, earthy undertone that makes it perfect for game like turkey.”
Finally, Mulan Chan at K&L suggests the 2012 Domaine Faverot Côtes du Luberon Rosé ($13.99), noting, “The nose is fruity with notes of wild herbs. On the palate, the wine is round, medium to full-bodied with red fruit characters and a long, dry finish.”
Out of room. Thanks to all for their recommendations.
Pamela S. Busch is a wine writer and educator who has owned several wine bars in San Francisco, including Hayes and Vine and CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen.