Sparklers take a shine to turkey, however you prepare it

November 12, 2018

Most sparklers make fine choices for Thanksgiving wines. They support fried foods, most bacon and sausage apps, salty or smoky nibbles, and seafood items as well. They also have sufficient acidity to cut the fat palate of a typical turkey dinner and desserts. You don’t need to splurge on the wine. Carefully shopping for sparklers will reveal some top wines for favorable prices. In no particular order: I have written of NV Mionetto Prosecco Treviso Brut, $13, crisp with lemon and green apple flavors; and Segura Viudas Cava Brut NV Reserva, $9, green apple and citrus. For a more festive look, try Freixenet Cordon Brut Cava Rosado NV, $12, bright acidity with berries, cherries, and dried apple finish. Best choice might be Domaine Ste. Michelle sparklers from Washington state. An annual success story is Chateau Ste. Michelle Brut Classic Cuvée, either the Blanc de Noirs NV or Blanc de Blancs NV, usually under $13. Going upscale and U.S. from Cali, look at Roederer Estate, Domaine Chandon and Gloria Ferrer Carneros Sonoma Blanc de Noirs NV, which shows beautiful copper color, fine bead, 90 percent Pinot Noir and 10 percent Chardonnay, strawberries and black cherries with citrus, acidity balanced with creamy finish.

Wish to show your wallet and stay domestic? Schramsberg Brut Rosé under $45 is a fine choice. Mumm Napa DVX 2009 would be a prize for real wine aficionados. You would need to smuggle it in, though; only available at the winery. If you can afford it, buy a case of Gloria Ferrer. It goes for $18 /bottle or $190/case, 90 McD, won gold or best in show in 2010, ‘16, ‘17 and ‘18 at SF Chronicle and Berger’s IWC. With this weather, you can store it in the porch or garage.

Most of the following work with turkey and its usual accompaniments: Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zinfandel with muted tannins for red. Albarino, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier with balanced acidity for white. With white wines, the pairing priority is finding a wine with well-balanced acidity.

Nov. 15 is the Nouveaux Beaujolais release in France; I’m unsure about our area, but the “New-Vo Beau Julius” events are usually enjoyable. Although I’m not normally a big fan of Nouvelle, turkey and fixins are a decent match. All of the Beaujolais Crus work.

Look for the 2014 Cotes du Brouilly, not just plain Brouilly. These are different labels. Due to terroir, the Cotes gets more sun.

The ‘14 is the best recent vintage, in the heart of its window 2016-21, 90 points McD around $21. Be careful with the Zins, spicy yes, tannic no, young vines, short time on matte, little or no barrel aging. This confluence makes for inexpensive selections. Ravenswood offers several selections from Lodi, Mendocino, N. Coast, Russian River, Napa and Sonoma. They range in price from $10 to $45. For my money, the Old Hill 2014 is terrific. However, it doesn’t support turkey. Too tannic, needs aging. Blum, Cline, Rosenblum and Vinum are well-regarded producers, and Trader Joe’s Grower’s Reserve is an avoid. Although Syrah is mentioned by most foodies, I’ve yet to sample one I recommend with Thanksgiving unless you are a nontraditional beef, lamb, pork person.

Some dine on smoked turkey. Try a well-made Sangiovese or Chianti. Castiglioni Chianti is worth a look. Fried turkey loves sparkling, especially a Cremant or a Spanish Cava. Regarding whites, if you enjoy dry-cooked, go with Riesling. If you enjoy a juicy, succulent medium turkey, splurge for a well-made Viognier or an Alsatian Pinot Blanc. Albarino is a frugal man’s substitute. Guigal Condrieu La Doriane 2014 is perfect now; it runs about $106. The 2012-14 are all rated above 95 by RP and WS; Jancis says 18 for 2014 and I’m on board with her. McD 93-94 points.

It is odd that $155 Domaine Georges Vernay Coteau de Vernon 2012-14 was rated several points lower by most. Chateau Grillet is the world-renowned label weighing in at $230-$283 and 92 points. They are lovely but don’t compare to Doriane. Do your own shopping, preferably on Dark Grey Saturday.

We have a lot to be thankful for. Think about all those willing to travel thousands of miles to break into our homes, to take jobs and our largesse to support their families in faraway places. Or the 1.5 million homeless American vets. How about U.S. citizens who are addicted, afflicted, drunkies, druggies, disabled and their children? Happy Thanksgiving.