Wine pairings for your Thanksgiving meal

If a run to the local wine shop is on your “to do” list before Thanksgiving on Thursday these wine pairings may make the trip a little less stressful.

Sommelier Killian Buschetz of Chandler’s Cuisine & Wine Bistro suggests several wines depending on what your meal is.

Turkey- He suggests a Beaujolais (Gamay grape) from France for red. The easy to drink and fruit forward wine is good with the white meat and cranberry sauce. For white wine he suggests a Gruner Veltliner from Austria for its acidity and crisp flavor.

Ham- Whether you’re serving ham it on Thanksgiving or waiting until Christmas he recommends a Cabernet Franc for its robust tasting profile. Riesling from the Alsace region of France or Mosel region of Germany offers the acidity with a hint of sweetness for pairing with food.

Beef- The red meat desires a bold red wine from Bordeaux is his first choice. Specifically from Saint-Emilion known for its Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blends. If need be a Napa Valley red can do the trick but watch out for high alcohol and big fruit wines.

Lobster- A Chardonnay with a hint of oak & butter is the way to go for this delicate seafood. A Pouilly- Fuisse from Burgundy makes for a nice wine pairing.

Salmon- A red Burgundy from Beaune known for its light body and fruit is always good. If you prefer a California or Oregon Pinot ask for a more earthy wine over a bold and jammie wine.

Pecan or Pumpkin pie- A sweet and nutty Pedro Ximinez sherry from Spain hits the spot for the end of the meal.

Wine pairings with a different perspective

Wine is very subjective therefore choices for wine pairing may differ from person to person. LDV Winery winemaker and co-owner Kurt Dunham offers his suggestions for dinner pairings.

He suggests American wines for this American holiday or even an Arizona wine. His go-to red wine is Grenache or an Oregon Pinot Noir. Chardonnay & sparkling wines from California or a Pinot Noir, Riesling or Gewurztraminer from Washington or Oregon are safe bets for your turkey. Check out his video he prepared for the occasion.

2008 Alvear Pedro Ximenez (PX) de Anada sherry.

Alvear Pedro Ximenez de Anada

This delicious dessert wine from Spain is what one would expect from a winery that dates back to 1729. Located in the southern town of Montilla in Andalusia region, the Alevar family uses grapes from their vineyards as well as purchase grapes for their sherries.

This 100% Pedro Ximenez is sweet yet balanced and with nice lingering flavors of raisins, chocolate and maple. Food pairings include pastries & sweet meats after a meal. Also over ice and with soda it makes for a cooling drink. Only 300 cases of this wine comes in to the U.S.

Tasting some of the winners from the 2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition & 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition

This Labor Day weekend wine & spirits personality Anthony Dias Blue made his way to the Arizona Biltmore for its Wine & Spirits Festival with Anthony’s Tasting Panel Magazine. I had the opportunity to speak with Anthony and got a sneak peek to taste some of the winners from his San Francisco International Wine Competition and some of the Double Gold winners from his 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition that were there this weekend. Here is what I found from tasting some of the wines and speaking with those in attendance.

The 2004 Nicholas Feuillatte Brut Champagne tasted fresh and lively with its tiny bubbles and dry, vibrant finish. It’s no wonder it took “Best in Show” in the sparkling category.

The 2011 Astrolabe Pinot Gris from Marlborough, New Zealand represented well for Pinot Gris from a country known for Sauvignon Blanc and gaining a reputation for Pinot Noir.

The 2008 Stoller Vineyards “SV Estate” Pinot Noir from Dundee Hills was poured and was well-balanced with fruit, oak and acidity in a way I often don’t find in PNs so I was very impressed. As was I by the Best Varietal Award for Pinot Noir from the 2009 Lawson’s Dry Hills From Marlborough, New Zealand which had softer tannins and drank well when I paired it with some of the meats and cheese’s being served.

The 2010 Alexandria Nicole Grenache, Destiny Ridge Vineyard from Horse Heaven Hills in Washington State was an interesting find from an area known for Merlot and Chardonnay. Lush and medium bodied it showed your typical Grenache fruit without being over the top. Not surprising it won “Best Grenache”

The 2010 Exile Shiraz from The Colonial Estate in Barossa was a laid back Shiraz with good fruit and a hint of black pepper and medium, dry tannins. It was pleasant surprise as many Shiraz’s tend to be over the top in fruit and not always food friendly. It was a nice to taste a wine of this caliber as it retails for over $200.

It came as no surprise to me for an Arizona wine to be poured along side the other winners as was 2010 Arizona Stronghold “Dala” Cabernet Sauvignon from Graham County. The softer tannins made for this to be a very drinkable wine now yet still age worthy for a few years down the road.

The “must have” of the tasting was the “Best Sherry” winner from Gonzalez Byass and it’s “Leonor” Palomino Sherry which mentioned to me by several other attendees and by the time I made my way to it, the last bottle opened was empty. With nutty flavors along with that of caramel and a hint of honey I could see why it was so popular and was glad to get some as moments after I poured a taste “poof” it was gone as the bottle was emptied by the next guest.

On the spirits side only the Double Gold winners made the tasting. I had to the chance to taste the very aromatic Cardinal American Dry Gin from North Carolina which is a must for the gin lovers out there. More to my liking was the EFE Raki from Turkey which is very much like Ouzo from Greece. This clear brandy is made from grapes, raisins and anise. I would’ve sipped on this all day long had it not been for Anthony himself bringing over the bottle of the “Best Rye” winner. That went to the newly released Knob Creek Rye Whiskey which had a lot going on in the glass and had a long, lingering flavor in your mouth. It’s small batch production made for a great way to end my tasting as I probably would’ve by-passed it.

On the chit-chat side with Anthony and some other wine and spirits enthusiasts talked turned to sports, travel and other non wine and spirits related subjects. I did get to catch up with the 1 and only Paula Woolsey, National Sales Manager from Arizona Stronghold Winery and was glad to hear that Arizona Stronghold and other Arizona wines were continuing to gain distribution around the country and in the cities of Portland and Seattle where they appreciate wines from other states other than their own.