This Thanksgiving I pared down the wine selections for my family as I noticed the last couple of years we had a lot of half finished bottles. Our meal is really straightforward, turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, corn pudding, mashed potatoes (with buttermilk and grains of paradise) and my Brussel sprouts with caramelized shallots, bacon and balsamic vinegar glaze.
For this hodge-podge of flavors I always start with sparkling wine while I carve the bird. This year I chose the Foss Marai Prosecco Extra Dry, which despite the name is actually sweeter than a brut. For 1 pm it seemed like a friendly way to start the afternoon and it went down real easy. Prosecco has a naturally peachy, apricot flavor and it went down real easy.
For lunch I chose a drier Riesling from Prince Salm, the 2007 Kabinett from the Nahe. Wow, this thing wine was racy! It does not sport much in the way of sweetness but also did not have razor-like acidity either. The alcohol was sort of high for Germany, probably over 12%, but boy did it work great. I only had one glass before I dove into the red but I came back around and finished the bottle with my evening cheese tray (more about that in another paragraph.)
For the big wine I opened a 2001 Chehalem Pinot Noir “Corral Creek Vineyard”, one of their estate wines. I was really hard on 2001 bottlings from Oregon when they were released. At the time they all displayed a fresh horseradish quality that I found off-putting and I almost ignored the vintage altogether. Since that time I have gone back to several bottlings I cellared to see how they would mature and that quality has faded away with time. This bottling was very light in color and it took about an hour in the decanter to develop it’s bouquet, but once it did it was magnificent. The nose showed notes of oolong tea, wild strawberry preserves, green peppercorns and a hint of jasmine. The wine fell apart about two hours after I decanted it so if you have any in the cellar, be warned, it is near the end.
Because my wife’s family is large we tend to stretch Thanksgiving over the whole day, with some members coming later in the evening. This year the last group showed up about 5 pm, about the time I was becoming peck-ish. It has become a tradition that I bring a cheese tray for this time and this year the selections were stellar. I served a runny, soft ripened cheese (it may have been a double cream), a cave aged Gruyere, a nearly perfectly ripe Roquefort and a Spanish cheese that was a combination of goat, sheep and cow milk, aged about six months. The aforementioned Prince Salm went well with the whole set, although particularly well with the Spanish and soft ripened. I have been cleaning up the left over cheeses this weekend with other combinations at my house. Last night I found out I like Barbera (the 07 Tabarin from Claudio Icardi) with Roquefort and the Spanish cheese.