Wine to have with turkey
Search the internet for wine suggestions for what to have with the Christmas turkey and you will find a plethora of ideas many of which are contradictory; one site suggests avoiding sauvignon blanc, another highly recommends it.
Overall, I did notice that one wine was mentioned more than any other and this was zinfandel (red). Pinot noir, rosé and rich chardonnay were also in the running.
Even though we depleted our stocks in October and the winery has now run out, we have fortunately just landed a shipment of Dry Creek Vineyards Heritage Vines 2013 Sonoma County Zinfandel. Wine Review Online commented: “92/100 this is a stunner at the price. It shows lovely red fruits with notes of spice and earth, is well balanced and shows excellent length in the mouth with a persistent finish.”
This zinfandel also has small amounts of petite syrah, primitivo and carignane added, and as a team they give us fresh blackberries, black cherry and raspberries. I often say that two important attributes of a good wine are balance and “yumminess” and this zinfandel excels at both as it is so harmonious, smooth and delicious. $21.90.
Possibly the most traditional match would be pinot noir and here, I would like to describe the 2013 from the Drouhin family, who were the first Burgundians to get a foothold in Oregon after the wine world noticed that great pinot noir was being made in the Willamette Valley. Climatically, this makes sense as this area in the Americas sits on virtually the same latitude north of the equator as does the Burgundy birthplace of this classic grape. The family speaks of French soul and Oregon soil and as they do in France, they farm biodynamically in this northwestern state.
Their pinot noir is hand-picked and then hand-sorted and de-stemmed in their gravity flow winery. The barrels that they use are custom-made for Drouhin using oak from the best French forests. For those of you that may not be familiar with gravity flow, it is a method of moving the juice (wine) without the use of pumping as some feel that this is a bit harsh and detrimental to the overall harmony of the wine.
The Domaine Drouhin Dundee Hills Pinot Noir Oregon 2013 is classically balanced, elegant and very clearly representative of their estate's terroir with bright red fruit. It is a mix of roses and violets with Red Hills earth, white pepper, red currant, cassis, light vanilla and warm cherry pie. $39.40.
You may chose to be “very with it” and go with the tremendous trend towards fine rosé from Provence in France, and we have just the one for you as it is Grenache-based, and many feel that this grape is perfect with turkey. I refer to Chateau d'Esclans Rock Angel 2014 that is the next step up from this estate's extremely popular Whispering Angel. One UK publication says: “Rock Angel has a severity and edge which demands food and this is the crux, Rock Angel is basically the Whisperer in a leather jacket astride a Triumph motorcycle. The trademark freshness and crunch are there but this is a foodier version of Whispering Angel. It can cope with main courses of all shapes and sizes”. They rated it 93/100. $32.90.
I will be the first to say that identifying a wine by blind tasting is not always an easy task, particularly in this new age of internet knowledge being shared and winemakers studying at fine institutions around the world. I did, however, find it a bit upsetting this past summer when my wife poured me a glass and asked for my opinion. “Obviously a quite fine burgundy, maybe a chassagne or puligny montrachet,” I commented.
I did get the grape, but when she revealed the bottle I had to go to the winery website to see how I could be so geographically challenged. I felt a little better when I learnt that the winemaker at Stags Leap Winery in Napa Valley is a Frenchman by the name of Christophe Paubert and that all his training was in the land of his birth.
The Stags Leap Winery 2013 Chardonnay is a classic example of cool climate chardonnay that is bright and crisp, but with lightly toasted undertones that give it length and richness of palate. I feel that this could be a lovely choice for anyone that cannot make up their mind between old and new world chardonnay. $35.65.
•This column is a paid-for advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Michael Robinson is Director of Wine at Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. He can be contacted at 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). A selection of their wines, beers and spirits is available online at www.wineonline.bm.