Tue 5 Dec 2006
Five days before Thanksgiving, my daughter got married, each occasion — the wedding reception and the annual feast — a welcome excuse for choosing wine to serve to family and friends, the difference being that we had 12 at Thanksgiving and 200 at the wedding.
Here are the wines I picked for the reception. My daughter wanted all French (there was sort of a French theme), and that’s what she got.
*Macon-Lugny “Les Charmes” Chardonnay 2004, Maconnais. About $10-$12. One of the world’s most dependable and tasty chardonnays.
*Les Tuileries 2005, Bordeaux blanc, a crisp and floral blend of 80% sauvignon blanc and 20% semillon. About $12.
*Chateau de Pennautier 2004, Cabardes, a robust blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, grenache, merlot, syrah and cot, or malbec. About $10-$12.
*Le Pin Parasol Reserve Shiraz 2002, Vins de Pays d’Oc. About $10-$12. This syrah from the south of France, goofily called “shiraz” to entice consumers familiar with the inexpensive shiraz wines of Australia, was a softer and spicier counterpoint to the forthright flavors and rusticity of the Pennautier.
*Bailly-Lapierre Cremant de Bourgogne Chardonnay 2004. About $15-$19. A terrific sparkling wine with surprising character for the price; it belongs on every restaurant wine list.
Since Thanksgiving is a thoroughly American holiday and banquet, I always serve a variety of American wines, trying to appeal to a range of tastes. I wish that I could include wines from New York and Virginia and Michigan and so on, but outside of New York and Virginia and Michigan and so on, such wines are hard to come by. Anyway, here was our wine roster for Thanksgiving:
*Heller Estate Chenin Blanc 2005, Carmel Valley. About $22-$25. The best chenin blanc made in California.
*Trefethen Dry Riesling 2005, Napa Valley. About $16-$19. This scintillating and authentic riesling surprised me by being the hit of the dinner; people kept asking for more.
*Ridge Vineyards “Three Valley” 2004, Sonoma County. A blend of zinfandel (68%), carignane (11). syrah (10), petite sirah (7) and grenache (4) that boldly faced up to the Thanksgiving feast’s multitude of flavors, spices and textures. And it was great the next day with left-overs.
*Domaine Serene “Yamhill Cuvee” Pinot Noir 2004, Willamette Valley, Oregon. About $28-$33. A pretty damned perfect pinot noir (and Domaine Serene’s least expensive pinot), one bottle fine with dinner, the next wonderful with left-overs a few days later. Go figure.
*Beringer Nightingale 1997, Napa Valley. I had been saving this blend of 70% semillon and 30% sauvignon blanc since it was released. Its unctuous combination of roasted peaches and apricots, muscat-like floral elements and a sort of liquid bananas Foster quality were terrific with the pumpkin and pecan pies.
That measured out as a week and more of great eating and wine-drinking. And my birthday, Christmas and New Year Years are coming right up! One has to plan ahead for these things!