Thanksgiving can be a tricky meal for wine pairing. There are so many flavors on your plate, but one wine cannot work with everything.
To solve this, the best strategy is to select several wines loaded with flavor and acidity. Reach for sparkling, reds and whites. The goal is to have wines that will appeal to the biggest range of guests and dishes. Complete the meal with a dessert wine.
Here is a selection of wines – gold medal winners at the recent Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition – that fit the range of balanced flavors and bright acidity. Each wine is from the Pacific Northwest. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant, or purchase them directly from the winery.
Treveri Cellars NV Blanc de Blancs, Yakima Valley, $15: Juergen Grieb crafts his flagship sparkling wine methode Champenoise from 100% chardonnay grapes, and he’s been skilled with it ever since he launched his family brand near Union Gap in 2010. It leads off with a mouth-filling mousse, citrusy notes and a hint of toast, then delivers lemon-lime flavors, crisp acidity and abundant bubbles from front to back.
There’s a tiny bit of sweetness – just 1% residual sugar – but your palate will have a difficult time detecting it. And it’s priced low enough that you can raise a glass of beautiful bubbles without denting your bank account. This earned a double gold medal at the invite.
Jones of Washington 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $15: One of the Northwest’s top regions for distinctive wines produced another gold medal with a sauvignon blanc made by Victor Palencia from the Jones family’s Lauzier Vineyard in the Beasley Hills near Quincy.
It opens with light smoke from his subdued use of Hungarian oak, lime and gooseberry aromas, followed by flavors of slightly sweet Mexican lime, gooseberry and a touch of minerality. You can sip this one before dinner and with your seafood or chicken, and enjoy a refreshing glass after the dishes are done.
Elk Cove Vineyards 2017 Estate Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $29: Adam Campbell and Heather Perkins blended lots featuring each of the Campbell family’s six vineyards in the north Willamette Valley. Their work brings hints of warm spices, cherry and a bit of pomegranate in its aromas. In the mouth, the cherry, pomegranate and spice are augmented by a touch of cranberry and end with a welcome flourish of juiciness.
Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2018 Affinity Albariño, Columbia Valley, $25: Jarrod Boyle works with Crawford Vineyard in the Yakima Valley near Prosser for this program that features one of Spain’s most-acclaimed white grapes.
This brings aromas of stone fruit, cantaloupe, citrus pith and an intense minerality. On the palate, the fruit leans more tropical, hinting at guava and pineapple. A streak of acidity elevates it all, cutting through fruit intensity and sweet florals to finish dry.
Coyote Canyon Winery 2018 Coyote Canyon Vineyard Life Is a Rosé Barbera, Horse Heaven Hills, $18: Mike Andrews owns this vineyard, and winemaker Justin Michaud continues to produce gold medals out of the Winemakers Loft in Prosser.
Their latest pink opens with aromas of ripe strawberry, Montmorency cherry, apricot and cream. The palate surges with tangerine acidity as it revisits the berries and stone fruit of the nose. There’s real fruit impact here, although it’s thoughtfully kept in check by that dreamy citrus.
Airlie Winery 2016 Estate Dry Riesling, Willamette Valley, $20: One of the Northwest’s most-underrated winemakers, Elizabeth Clark produces this stellar example of dry riesling using Salmon-Safe fruit from winery owner Mary Olson’s Dunn Forest Vineyard in Monmouth, Oregon.
This savory delight born from vines three decades old brings a classic theme of apple, lemon, petrol and honeysuckle, making for a bright and clean flavor with a refreshing finish.
Barnard Griffin Winery 2018 Syrah Port, Columbia Valley, $17: The dean of Washington winemakers, Rob Griffin, and longtime associate winemaker Mickey French produce perennial awards with port-style syrah. The 2018 vintage ranks among their best examples, meriting a double gold and best of class award at the 2019 Invite.
It’s fortified to nearly 20% alcohol, yet it sips smoothly, rewarding the taster with lush plum, blackberry and dark currant aromas and flavors augmented by hints of spice. Enjoy around the fire pit on a crisp fall evening or curled up next to the fireplace come December – or any other winter evening.
Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman operate Great Northwest Wine. Learn more about wine at greatnorthwestwine.com.
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