From Melanie Hudson. Email her at melanie[AT]borderstan.com.
Thanksgiving seems to have come a little early this year. Suddenly we shifted into high gear, running all over Borderstan buying cinnamon scented pine cone decorations, counting how many place settings we actually have and asking strangers on the street how big of a turkey to buy for eight people (12 to 14 pounds). What is likely still on most of our to-do lists, however, is shopping for wine for the big meal. Whether you are the host or the guest, don’t show up empty handed and leave the wine choices to your neighbor’s friend’s boyfriend’s cousin. This year, get it right.
We asked Borderstan wine guy Bobby Kim, owner of Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor (1529 Connecticut Avenue NW) for his recommendations on the perfect Thanksgiving pairings. Situated on the north side of the Dupont Circle metro stop, the convenience factor and his extensive selection of affordable wines (and craft beers) make it unnecessary to look any further than local. Plus, he is open late.
Here are seven perfectly-paired bottles of wine for Thanksgiving that will ensure thanks from your guests and accolades from your hosts. Happy Thanksgiving, Borderstan!
- 2012 Las Perdices Viognier (Mendoza, Argentina) $13.99Viognier is a must. Unlike French Viogniers, American and South American varieties are not overly dry. This wine is full of character and fruit and complements a traditional Thanksgiving menu – and probably even a tofurkey one, too. Plus, the price is right.
- 2011 Domaine Pichot Coteau de la Biche Vouvray Sec (Loire Valley, France) $17.99. This wine is a Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley. Vouvray is traditionally creamy, but Vouvray Sec is dryer and great with food. This is an option for those tempted to buy Sauvignon Blanc, which does not pair well with a Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing.
- 2011 Frog’s Leap La Grenouille Rouganté Rosé (Napa Valley, California) $21.99. Just because summer is over does not mean you need to put away the rosé. In fact, this wine, described as gravelly with a crisp acidity, goes particularly well with heartier food. Made from Zinfindel and Valdiguie (aka Napa Gamay), it is a more complex wine and your palette will be rewarded.
- 2009 Louis Latour Domaine de Valmoissine Pinot Noir (Coteaux du Verdon, France) $14.99. The well-known French Burgundy producer Louis Latour makes this Pinot Noir in southwestern France but in the mold of new-world style Sonoma and Russian River Valley Pinots – meaning, fuller-bodied, lush and fruit forward compared to the traditional lighter French Pinots. This Pinot is a good choice for Thanksgiving as it pairs well with the food but is not heavy, and it is imminently drinkable.
- 2010 Domaine de Chateaumar Cuvée Bastien Cotes du Rhone (Southern Rhone Valley, France) $19.99. This wine is a clean, full-bodied red that is the opposite of Pinot Noir. It is 100% Grenache, which is unique, and opens up as it breathes. This wine pairs well with rich flavors and will provide a good complement to the heaviness of the mashed potatoes and gravy.
- 2010 Sass Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, Oregon) $23.99. For many, Oregon Pinot Noir is a love-it-or-hate-it proposition, but this particular choice is elegant, not as fruity, and slightly dry – a complete balance. Sass is a boutique winery with smaller productions, which means you will get a little more character than name recognition, and at a slightly higher price. But, with its earthy and silky qualities, this versatile wine may be the all-around perfect match for Thanksgiving.
Tell us your picks for Thanksgiving wines in the comments below!
You know the drill. You’ve been invited to the orphan’s Thanksgiving. Or a classy friend’s Thanksgiving who has, you know, real plates. And you’ve been tasked with bringing wine — or told you don’t need to bring anything but can’t show up empty handed. Last year’s wine giving guide was pretty popular so here it is, updated for a new season!
I only went to one liquor store this year — and not because all our wine and liquor stores in Borderstan aren’t amazing, but because this one is centrally located, right next to a metro stop, and never — ever — lets me down. Oh and their wine selection is always at a reasonable price point.
Connecticut Avenue Wine & Spirits, located one block north of Dupont Circle at Connecticut Avenue and Q Street NW is where you’ll find all these selections of wine.
All our wine recommendations are brought to you by Alcaly (Al) Lo. He’s the beverage consultant at Connecticut Avenue Wine & Spirits… aka the guy who helps me when I walk in clueless and say, “I”m having fish tonight?! What do I get?” Al is knowledgeable, helpful and always good natured. Don’t be afraid to wonder in and ask him questions.
Let’s Start with the White Wines
Whites are great with Turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes, cookies and Thanksgiving sides like bread stuffings and squash dishes. They’re universally appealing when you’re facing an unknown crowd and just need something everyone will love.
A bottle of the Prochaine Chardonnay hits the spot for the girliest wine drinker and the pseudo-sophisticated palette of your Yelp happy friends. It’s unoaked which means it’s more buttery than woody in the finish. You know what I mean. It doesn’t feel like you’re licking a tree. ($13.99)
The Adelsheim Pinot Gris is, I am assured, a crisp white with a mineral finish to it. There’s two ways to interpret mineral to me, one is that it is slightly acidic, the other that it has an almost fizzy finish to it. Alcaly tells me it’s the former with this one so it’ll be good for cutting cloyingly sweet desserts like pumpkin pies and cheesecakes. ($18.99)
On to the Reds
The Domaine de Berane Cotes de Ventoux Les Blaques got the woman who works at the shop so excited she jumped out from behind the counter to find the bottle for me. It’s a French red made of Syrah and Grenache grapes. It’ll be full-bodied and rich. ($17.99)
Every table needs a lighter, fruity red for the in-between folks. Don’t want anything to “spicy” as I say, something with a smooth finish that feels easy in the mouth? Try the A to Z Oregon Pinot Noir. My friend raves about Oregon reds and so far I’ve never been disappointed. ($21.99)
Bring on the Bubbles
I asked for just one recommendation for an off-beat sparkling wine and Alcaly came back with Bailly Lapierre Brut. It’s a dry sparkling wine made from pinot grapes. ($18.99)
So there you have it. You can ask for the wines by name or, do like I do, and show them a picture of the label from the photo above and say, “I want that one.”