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which wine???

Years ago, I had the pleasure of working in the wine industry in the Pacific Northwest, 
where I learned more than I ever thought possible about the fruit of the vine....
Still, when I am stymied on a food and wine pairing,
I call on one of my friends to help me out with advice I can trust:
Scott Carlson is an experienced, knowledgeable wine & beer specialist for BevMo Stores
and he's been sharing some great information about wine pairings for years.

  I've rounded up some of Scott's best points on the subject
of pairing wines with Thanksgiving Dinner,
and added in a few of my own comments and recommendations
to help you select several wines for your upcoming holiday meal... enjoy!

<< click on 'continue reading' for Scott's recommendations!

Most people pair white wines with turkey and ham, and Gewurztraminers (pronounced Geh-VURT-strah-meener) and many Rieslings (REEESE-ling, not RYZE-ling) are a great match for these Holiday foods...these varietals are light, off dry, and their sharp, acidic fruitiness stands up well to almost any dish you serve. Chateau Ste. Michelle, the winery where I worked, has the most popular Riesling in America - and their Gevurtz is quite nice, as well! Chardonnays are a favorite due to their buttery, toasty flavors and dry finish - no sweetness here.
If its bubbles you like, sparkling wine (made using the 'methode champenoise', or French method) and Champagne (from the Champagne region of France) will bring a sense of true celebration to your table - just remember: Brut is dry...Extra Dry is sweeter...I know, it sounds funny...but trust me! Pour the Brut with dinner, and save the Extra Dry for your pumpkin pie. Or go one better, and imbibe dessert with the delicate flavors of almond sparkling from Wilson Creek Winery! (made in my area - Temecula, CA).

Of course, you could do something different and look for a nice sparkling red to add excitement to your table! One I've tried and love is the berry-color Stella Black from San Antonio Winery (it's in Los Angeles, not Texas). It's a bit sweet for the main meal, but with fruit pies it becomes the perfect dessert wine.
When it comes to pairing red wines with light meats, Pinot Noir and Zinfandels are jammy and berry-flavored so they pick up on the cranberry flavors, but lets not forget Syrah and Petite Syrah which have been gaining so much ground in the last few years.... these have velvety berry and stone fruit flavors, for those who prefer a richer wine experience.

There's another red that you may not know about....
Beaujolais Nouveau – that much-ballyhooed cherry-red colored French vintage that’s best served chilled -- is clearly not for wine snobs. This fresh and fruity red is the result of a quick fermentation process that ends up with a tasty, clean wine that is enjoyed by palates the world over, mostly within weeks of fermentation and release. There's no aging of this wine, so it lacks the depth of other red varietals - but the lush fruit flavor is delightful!
The Gamay grapes that go into Beaujolais Nouveau are handpicked in the Beaujolais province of France. The wine actually originated about a century ago as a cheap and cheerful drink produced by locals to celebrate the end of the harvest season. Its a light, fresh and somewhat fruity red that is meant to be shared with friends and family. Though not a serious wine, it is fun and it does mark the start of the Holiday season.....the last couple of years it has been quite outstanding. I always look forward to each year's artful bottle labels, which have become a part of the fun of this annual release. Georges Duboeuf is my fave!

One last note:

I'm pretty particular about the temperature of wine, and there's a bit of misunderstanding about reds: they aren't supposed to be served 'at room temperature', which is generally somewhere around 68-70 degrees for human comfort. Nope. Reds are best served at 'cellar temperature', like the environment they are stored and aged in at wineries, which is closer to 55-60 degrees. Pop a bottle of red into the fridge for an hour before serving it, and it will be chilled enough to bring out the fruit flavors, which will balance the acids & tannins.

I hope this 'wine education' enhances your enjoyment of this beautiful beverage, 
and that your Holiday meals will be celebrated with joy, gratitude, and love.

oh, and if you're looking for an 'adult' version of an advent calendar, here ya' go:

this is brilliant!

Want your OWN 'wine wizard'? Head to your local wine shop and ask them questions!
Scott says they'll have great info on your local vineyards & wines.

(and if you want Scott, he's at the Mira Loma, California BevMo store ;) ) 

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