The wonderful aromas of roast turkey and baked ham will be in the air this Thanksgiving weekend. And it’s time to consider which wines will be suitable for the feast.
Bubblies work with everything, including potato chips, which might be some people’s appetizers! The original sparkler, Champagne is always in fashion if your budget will allow it. Veuve Clicquot, Moet et Chandon, Mumm Cordon Rouge and Louis Roederer Premier are under $100 and are very popular. They are usually “brut” (dry) and are non-vintage, a blend several years.
Champagnes with a vintage date are more expensive and have more complexity due to extra aging and more complicated blending. James Bond only drinks Bollinger R.D. Extra Brut. You can buy the 2004 vintage for $379.99. Just avoid shaking it or stirring it! Don't forget, there is pink Champagne which works well with the bird or the ham.
If you want a more budget-priced bubbly, Italy’s favourite is Prosecco, made from Glera grapes. The Mionetto Prosecco is on sale this month and represents good value ($16.99; “87 points”). The nose displays attractive apple and citrus scents. There’s a flavour of lemon and grapefruit with a generous effervescence adding texture to the body and sparkles on the tongue. Well balanced with a lengthy off-dry citrus finish.
For those who thirst for a glass of white wine, now would be the time to unscrew the 2019 Villa Maria Chardonnay East Coast ($18.99; “89 points”). The family-owned Villa Maria is New Zealand’s most awarded winery and is fully sustainable. This wine is fruit-driven in style with grapes from Gisborne and Hawkes Bay regions.
There’s luscious ripe peach with underlying citrus and pineapple characteristics. On the palate, these flavours are enhanced by a creamy texture and a delicate suggestion of oak. A medium-bodied Chardonnay that is styled for enjoyment upon release.
Hungry for red with your turkey or ham? Choose one with smooth tannins. Keep the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for red meats. But Pinot Noir would be an ideal choice. A recent discovery of a perfect Thanksgiving Wine is the 2018 La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($38.99 on sale until Oct.30th; “93 points”).
The Sonoma Coast AVA is one of the largest in Sonoma Country and stretches along the mountainous coastline of the Pacific Ocean. The strong maritime climate provides a cool growing climate throughout the year, essential for producing premium Pinot Noir.
The elegant La Crema reveals black cherry, boysenberry, and plum, along with earthiness, vanilla, and cinnamon. These complex aromas transition into multi-layers of flavours with silky tannins, a creamy texture balanced with crisp acidity, and a long fruity but dry finish.
Gamays are another good choice whether they’re from Beaujolais or from BC. Okanagan’s 2019 Haywire Gamay ($25.99; “92 points”) is perfect. It has a dark Burgundy colour with a generous floral and black fruit aroma. Enjoy ripe black cherry, kirsch, pomegranate, and plum flavours with cloves, potting soil in a medium body. There’s good acidity, and a dry fruity finish. It reminds me of a Cru Beaujolais Morgon with a B.C. accent.
Another soft red that is budget-priced and on sale until the end of October is Vicente Faria 2019 Animus from the famous Douro Valley in Portugal ($11.99; “88 points”). The Vicente family has produced wines in the oldest demarked wine region in the world, the Douro Valley since 1758! They only use sustainable agricultural practices with no irrigation or fertilizers.
The Animus is a blend of three indigenous Portuguese grapes: Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, and Touriga Nacional. It has a deep ruby-garnet colour and a fruit-forward aroma of black and red fruit. There’s a rich flavour of plum, cherry, strawberry, and vanilla with fine tannins in its medium-full body. And to add more interest there’s leather, coffee and dried fruit. It has a port-like flavour except it's dry. Animus is the bargain of the month, well balanced and ready to drink now!
All of today’s wines are available at the BC Liquor stores
Eric Hanson is a life-long Richmond resident, retired teacher and wine educator. Eric has also taught wine appreciation courses in Richmond and throughout Metro Vancouver for many years. He continues to be a journalistic ambassador for the enchanting world of wine through his weekly column.