Sunday, November 22, 2009

Turkey Day Wine Pairings

It is that time of year...the holidays have snuck up on us again. Being new to Chicago, I am learning new traditions. Yesternight, we experienced the Festival of Lights for the first time. Let me paint the picture for you...people crowded in the streets waiting in anticipation to see Mickey Mouse, bundled up in many layers (you can see your breath it is so cold), fighting to get front row seats to the show, children screaming, most of which are on their parents shoulders, ambulances driving through the crowd every half hour, stepping over piles of horse manure. Every 10 minutes, a float would come by with a Disney character and the crowds would scream. Ending the spectacle with fireworks, officially announcing "let the shopping begin!"

Before the Black Friday and battle over who gets this years hot trend first commences, a pleasant holiday called Thanksgiving must pass. It is one of my favorite holidays because the sole purpose is to be thankful for what we have, express gratitude, and enjoy each others company. It does not revolve around the practice of giving, or in most cases taking, gifts. Even though we know that our stomach is the size of our fist, we manage to fit 2 or sometimes 3 platefuls of food in our bellies. Then wonder why we feel tired and blame it on the amino acid L-triptothen. Also blaming the lack of self control on adding a winter coat of fat layer to protect us from the cold. Before the fun begins, we must ask the most important questions of all... what wine pairs best with the Thanksgiving feast?

From the mouth of Terry Theise himself,
I’d suggest one of two things, and both together if you can manage it. First, the Champagne shouldn’t be too dry, and second, it should be mostly Pinot Noir. A great option (if you can find it) is Vilmart Cuvée Rubis (Rosé) or even harder to find, the vintage version of it. But really any Vilmart will work, as this vintner is sensible as regards dosage. His NV Grand Cellier has 12 grams/liter, and if I had to pick a single wine from my portfolio for that meal, this is the one. However, the best possible option is German Riesling with a certain sweetness. We ourselves will have a Pfalz wine, probably with 10-15 years bottle age, of Spätlese or even Auslese ripeness.
There you have it, ladies and gentleman, a perfect pairing! I remember the first time I tried Turkey with a Spätlese Riesling, it was life changing! We called it Mission Gobel Gobel. From the back of the employee entrance, we spotted it, a left over perfectly good turkey that was going to waste. As one of us watched the halls for security and loitering guests, the other went in for the goods. Moments later, we triumphed, glaoting over our turkey as it was being carved. Then we tasted it, a perfectly seasoned piece of turkey with a Donnhoff Spätlese Riesling, the usual suspect, to wash it down. It reminded me of the first time I had popcorn and chocolate together, an unlikely match, but as they say...opposites attract. After all these years of being fooled into thinking Pinot Noir was the ultimate wine for the Thanksgiving experience, I was missing out.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with loved ones, Turkey and Riesling and plenty of it!

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