Red, white or bubbly with Thanksgiving dinner? Any one can work, so for this most American of holidays, here are three delicious American wines.
For many years, my go-to Thanksgiving dinner wine has been pinot noir. Its bright berry flavors and earthy finish marry well with the many tastes on the table, and its lighter body keeps it from overwhelming the food, as heavier reds like cabernet sauvignon can do.
One fine choice is the 2013 A to Z Oregon Pinot Noir, from Oregon's A to Z Wineworks. It invites you to sip with aromas of cherry, blackberry and raspberry and hints of white pepper. All of that fruit arrives on the tongue, along with some strawberry and blueberry notes — this pinot noir is a berry bomb — that will echo your tart cranberry sauce and contrast nicely with the rich flavors of turkey and gravy. On the finish, this wine brings some earthiness and a bit more pepper and spice, which will complement all those vegetable side dishes. At about $17 at big-box wine stores, this wine is food-friendly enough to work with the A to Z of your menu.
If you prefer a white wine with turkey and trimmings, forget about the summer lightweights like pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc, which just won't stand up to all those savory sauces, and go for a more substantial chardonnay.
One of my current faves is the 2013 Bread & Butter Chardonnay from Bread & Butter winery in California's Napa Valley. With aromas of pear and apple, it smells like autumn. Those tree fruits open up in the mouth, accented with lemon and ginger. There's just enough oak to provide structure, a hint of melon on the finish and lots of buttery mouthfeel to make it perfect to wash down a forkful of dressing, turkey and gravy. Find it at big-box stores and wine shops for around $15.
Does Champagne go with turkey? My dears, Champagne goes with everything. Of course, if it's made in the United States it's not technically Champagne, but Jacqueline Leonne NV Brut Sparkling Wine is made in the traditional methode champenoise — even though it's produced in New Mexico. That's no surprise: One of the best American sparklers is Gruet, made in Albuquerque, where this wine also hails from. You can find Jacqueline Leonne at Total Wine stores for about $15.
This sparkler is pale gold in color and bursting with bubbles. Its nose is lemony, a bit mineral. Flavors of tart apple and citrus dominate this light, bright wine. There's a smidge of vanilla, and it's a tad on the sweet side for a brut. It would be a fine aperitif before the bird is carved, then pour it at meal's end with the pumpkin pie.
Colette Bancroft, Times staff writer