Turkey and pinot noir: a perfect marriage
Marriage is not always two people in love, it can also be a combination of two or more elements.
Today my mind is on wine and food that marry well together and, jointly, are even better than the sum of their individual parts.
I had a tasting this week of wines to have with turkey and it made me think of why I chose the ones that I did.
As I explain, it would help if you keep in mind that milk, cheese and beef all basically come from an animal that says “moo” — and they all contain fat.
I am an avid tea drinker and as we know, tea contains polyphenols (tannins). By adding a little milk it chemically surrounds them and softens the astringency. Cheese does the same to tannins in red wine and, of course, so does beef. Actually, grape tannins react with fat in a way that releases more flavours of the food in your mouth.
Turkey has far less fat than marbled beef and so it is better if we think of less tannic reds, or a white with richness such as chardonnay. A fine way to celebrate American Thanksgiving is to choose a home-grown offering such as our Beringer 2015 Napa Valley Chardonnay. Plush and creamy, aromas and flavours of tart citrus lead with hints of white pear, delicious apple and a bit of lemon meringue and toasted almonds. Balanced, with moderate acidity, the brightness of the chardonnay fruit shines through. Canadian critic Natalie Maclean writes of “layers of pleasure and not heavy at all” and she rates it 91/100. $31.25.
If you are willing to spend $50.75 then I strongly recommend Beringer Private Reserve 2014 Chardonnay. This an exceptional wine on a consistent basis; British wine guru James Suckling rates it 95/100. You will detect aromas of grilled pineapple, ripe pear, lemon oil, hazelnut and toasted brioche.
The core of bright fruit is accentuated by a silky texture and flavours of yellow apple, Asian pear and Meyer lemon, all followed by a lush and long finish. On occasion, I have confused this with a fine burgundy. It certainly can match the taste levels of a roast turkey and with Bermuda lobster it would be divine. If I may quickly interject regarding seafoods: the acidity in white wine reacts in a beneficial way with amines that can impart that “fishy” smell, as the wine acid converts amines to ammonium salt. Hence also, the custom of squeezing a lemon on such foods. To take this further, the oils in seafood react with tannins in many red wines and can create an unpleasant metallic taste.
So back to the turkey. I am thinking of the soft tannins in pinot noir, which also is perfect with tuna and salmon. Drouhin of Oregon 2014 Pinot Noir is produced biodynamically, which is also how this family farms all its land in Burgundy. The Drouhin family were the first French to invest in Oregon and, like their native Burgundy, it sits about 45 degrees north of the equator, a sweet spot for pinot noir.
Aromatically the 2014 Drouhin Dundee Hills Pinot Noir has sweet red fruit, boysenberry, black cherry, rose petal, mint and spices, refined with a hint of rusticity and earth. On the palate, one can find layers of spice, white pepper, dark cherry and blackberry with youthful tannins and excellent depth. $42.35.
We do not tend to pay much attention to vintages in Beaujolais but the French are comparing 2015 with the legendary 1947. Drouhin is very active in this appellation just south of their home in Burgundy and there are three levels of wine: beaujolais, beaujolais villages and ten crus that represent the very top wines. These have their own names such as Morgon, Brouilly and Moulin-á-Vent. Fleurie is considered “the queen of beaujolais” and it is said to have a feminine quality; it is lighter in style and very aromatic with roses, iris and violets.
Drouhin 2015 Fleurie possesses great charm and delicacy with its luminous raspberry colour, aromas of lilac, violet and gooseberry. Very supple and silky in the mouth and ready to sing with that turkey. $25.60.
• This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George’s (York Street, 297-0409). Visit www.wineonline.bm.</i>
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