Most of us like a little fizz to get the meal going, and David Netzer of The Wine House would go with Domaine d’Orfeuilles’ Touraine Brut Rosé ($18.50), a certified organic sparkling wine made from malbec, cabernet franc and grolleau. Venturing further toward the deep end, Nectar’s Chris Potter thinks we should check out Bleasdale Vineyards’ Uncle Dick: The Red Brute Sparkling Shiraz ($19.99) from the Langhorne Creek in Australia, which has “a frozen boysenberry jam bomb” that “explodes with a fizzy ‘whoosh’ of eucalyptus leaves, a chilled shot of anisette and a hard shwack of leather that says Uncle Dick means business!” All right then.
Potter also recommends the 2012 Keller Riesling Qba Trocken ($21.99) from Germany’s Rheinhessen, which he describes with almost as much verve, saying it possesses “a warm embrace between freshly harvested honeycomb, white flower-studded clingstone peaches and a hint of jasmine tea.” Joseph Estrada of Castro Village Wine Co. likes riesling too, but he’s thinking domestic, with the 2012 Stony Hill ($25) that is “a perfect addition to any Thanksgiving meal with its subtle but lovely texture and delicate white flower aromatics.”
Over in Berkeley at Solano Cellars, Jason Lefler picked a German pinot noir, the 2012 Dr. Heyden Oppenheim ($20), another Rheinhessen selection, explaining, “I really like this wine because it’s distinctly a German pinot — sour cherry and strawberry fruit with a bit of sandalwood, but it’s more friendly.”
Chiming in from the Peninsula, Gerald Weisl of Weimax Wine & Spirits in Burlingame suggests Scenic Roots 2012 The Forager, ($21.99), calling it “a beautifully cherry-ish Sonoma Coast pinot noir with a hint of a floral tone.”
Weisl is also a fan of the 2012 Juicy Villages ($21.99) from Juicy Rebound, which he says is “a tip of the cap to good, exuberantly youthful Southern Rhone reds.”
Beaujolais is a must during Thanksgiving, and while nouveau is fun and festive, the crus are more complex. Netzer makes a good case for the 2011 Chateau de Raousset Chiroubles ($19.50), which he calls “the classic pairing with turkey and all the trimmings; a delicious high-fruit, low-tannin cru Beaujolais from a top grower.”
Off the beaten path, Wayne Garcia, from Dig Wines in the Dogpatch, is thinking that the 2011 Baron Widmann Vernatsch ($21) is the way to go, saying it is “a lovely light red that suggests crunchy currant fruits, red flowers and a bit of pepper.” Also known as “schiava,” it hails from Trentino-Alto Adige in northeastern Italy, and while still pretty obscure, it has familiar flavors that would indeed complement a Thanksgiving Day meal.
Courtney Cochran of Hip Tastes is taking a “local” approach, recommending Carl Sutton’s “jug wine,” a mysterious blend that is available at Dogpatch WineWorks in half-liter ($15), half-gallon ($30) and gallon ($54) jugs. She says, “Blends can change as often as weekly, but the wine is always red and fruit-forward with a soulful, earthy undertone that makes it perfect for game like turkey.”
Finally, Mulan Chan at K&L suggests the 2012 Domaine Faverot Côtes du Luberon Rosé ($13.99), noting, “The nose is fruity with notes of wild herbs. On the palate, the wine is round, medium to full-bodied with red fruit characters and a long, dry finish.”
Out of room. Thanks to all for their recommendations.
Pamela S. Busch is a wine writer and educator who has owned several wine bars in San Francisco, including Hayes and Vine and CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen.