Wine and turkey for your budget
I am going to suggest three wines for those of us (many I would suspect) who are being careful with expenses, and three for others that are not as concerned. Some are now saying that the correct pairing of food with wine is a myth, but I am rather old school and still pay attention to this.
For instance, I believe that the fats in red meats are softened by tannins found in red wines and this releases the flavours in the meat. I also think that oils in fish tend to give a metallic taste due to their reaction with red wine tannins.
Turkey … well, that is a different matter as this big bird is happy with many pairings.
The first group of three wines are all in their twenties cost-wise. There are ten crus in the Beaujolais appellation, each one is quite different from the other and I like to refer to them all as “super Beaujolais” as their quality is the highest. Fleurie is known for its floral charm, fleur is French for flower.
The 2020 Drouhin Fleurie possesses great charm and delicacy, with its luminous raspberry colour, aromas of lilac, violet and gooseberry. Very supple and silky in the mouth, it leaves a beautiful impression of fine aromas. It is the most delicate of the Beaujolais crus. The 2020 is a very attractive vintage which offers wines with deep and intense colours. Both the nose and mouth develop aromas reminiscent of black fruits such as blackberry and cherry, deliciously mingling with liquorice and spices. The soft and friendly nature of this makes it ideal with turkey. $27.50 (Stock #8173).
If you are a ‘light meat equals white wine’ person, then you cannot do better than to open a bottle of New World chardonnay. The 2020J Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay from Monterey in California’s rugged central coast, has the distinction of taking 48th place in this years’ top 100 best buys on the list published by the Wine Enthusiast magazine. They rated it 90/100 and wrote, “light aromas of lemon, honey, nectarine and crushed white rock lead into a palate of baked apple and lemon juice, all framed by a chalky structure”. It is certainly no stranger to our home. $25.50 (Stock #7988).
If you are feeling adventuresome you may like to practice pronouncing viognier (vee-ohn-yea) and buy a bottle of 2020M Chapoutier “La Combe Pilate” Viognier. This wine from Rhone grapes is one of the best matches with its stone-fruit flavours and undertones of honey and flowers. Parker’s Wine Advocate rates it 90-92/100 and opines, “from decomposed granite soils near Michel Chapoutier’s private residence. It boasts lovely florals and beguiling apricot notes. This 2020 will not break the bank and its concentration and length make it one of the best yet”. $27 (Stock #9438). Organic.
Now we notch it up with 2017Ramey Russian River Valley Pinot Noir that rates 92 – 94/100 with the Wine Advocate and this, “the 2017Pinot Noir Russian River Valley is made using about 25 per cent whole-cluster fermentation – the first time, David Ramey says, that they have experimented with whole cluster. Pale to medium ruby-purple in colour, it has a gregarious, youthful nose with tangerine peel, soft baking spices, forest floor and a wicked vein of floral nuance with warm red and black fruits at the core. The palate gives good concentration of spicy fruit, with grainy tannins and juicy acidity, finishing long and spicy”.
Winemakers use this whole bunch cluster method as it can mellow the juice as well as add flavour and structure. Inclusion of the grape stems tends to make a wine that is lighter in colour, but using whole bunches requires checking to see that these stems are also optimally ripe. $60 (Stock #6395).
The first wine that I tasted from Bermudian David Butterfield, wasMeursault and I was so impressed. We actually have a few vintages in stock, but I would like to share information on his 2018 Butterfield Meursault. David’s winery is located near the village of Meursault which is known for its rich and complex chardonnay.
One French review states, “this Meursault is just lovely stuff. Crystalline, pale straw in colour, the wine has rich and vibrant aromas of citrus, rose, and honey with some smokiness. On the palate it is smooth and silky with layers of pure fruit flavours, mineral, and balanced mouth-cleansing acidity. It finishes, as well as starts, with long lingering fruit and buttery notes”.
Here is a cocktail-hour question for your guests. Why do the French call this village “Meursault”, that translates as “mouse’s leap”? The answer is that chardonnay and pinot noir vines grow so close to each other that a mouse can leap from one to another. Well, those Napa Valley folks have stags leaping! $76 (Stock #5811).
On that note let’s move to the 19th century Napa Valley winery that sits right below those two rock outcrops that were leapt across by a giant stag – according to an old indigenous tale of it escaping an Indian hunting party. The 2019Stags’ Leap Winery Viognier is vibrant, aromatic, and lively and showcases classic stone fruit alongside a fragrant floral bouquet. It has refreshing and crisp acidity with nuances of Meyer lemon and honeysuckle followed by flinty minerality and a rich, creamy texture. You will also find white peach, Asian pear, and lychee. Critics Natalie MacLean and the Wine Enthusiast both gave it a 93/100 score. $55.40 (Stock #6332).
• This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Contact Michael Robinson at email@example.com. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm