Thanksgiving Wines: Perfect Pours for Turkey

Thanksgiving Wine and CheeseAs tradition goes, Pinot Noir or Beaujolais are typically served with turkey and its many accompaniments. That said, it’s not always so easy to predict what will appear at the Thanksgiving feast, whether it’s Aunt Liz’s sweet potatoes with marshmallows, Uncle Mike’s maple-bacon Brussels sprouts, or Zia Della’s baked ziti. Such varied cuisine calls for Zelig-like wines. They must accommodate the potential for sweet, salty, savory, and bitter all in the same bite and therefore require plenty of freshness and acidity with the ability to cleanse the palate. However, they must also show enough ripeness to work with sweetness.

The following are a few selections that meet the above criteria and will drink well alongside your Thanksgiving dinner. A discount of 10% will be offered on six or twelve bottles of these featured wines.

All of the following wines are available at our Cambridge location:

Domaine Dubost ’11 Beaujolais Villages (Beaujolais, France)
I dare you to blind taste this wine and tell me that it isn’t cru Beaujolais. It has the mouthfeel, minerality, and ripeness of Moulin à Vent or Chénas in a good vintage, if one could generalize about appellations. The 2011 vintage was good to Burgundy and Beaujolais, placing it not too far behind the much-lauded wines from 2009. Slightly above-average warmth throughout the year and not too much rain gave the fruit ripeness and acidity, nicely maturing the tannins to evolve beyond the herbaceousness that is common in cooler vintages. This wine packs concentration and plenty of fruit and comes in at 12% alcohol thereby offering a substantive mouthfeel and weight that will marry well with Turkey Day dishes. Wines like this are proof that Gamay shouldn’t have been banned from Burgundy centuries ago! Organic.

Az. Agr. Le Piane ’11 “Maggiorina”(Piedmont, Italy)
The name of this wine refers to a trellising system that originated in the village of Maggiora (just outside of Asti – DOC Boca), that has been abandoned in recent years due to an increase in cloned plantings. Christoph put in an immense effort to revive this hundred-year-old vineyard and found great pleasure in making a wine blended from Vespolina, Uva Rara, Croatina, and Nebbiolo. Having tasted this wine over five vintages, I am excited to say that it keeps getting better and better. Its fruit is cherry-scented with faint floral undertones. Although vinified dry, 2011 delivered good ripeness which translated to roundness and even a noticeable richness in the wine. Organic.

Domaine Terrebrun ’10 Provençal Rouge AOC (Provence, France)
For those looking for a bigger, richer, smoother style with somewhat softer acidity this baby Bandol rouge is for you. It combines Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre that would typically be used to make AOC Bandol except Terrebrun chooses to declassify the wine and give it slightly less aging for earlier release and consumption. Its lush, black fruit and spicy, nuanced flavors will transport you to sunny Southeastern France with every sip! Organically farmed.

Gemma Iannoni is the wine buyer and a cheesemonger at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge.