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Thanksgiving Wine Picks: Week Two

Fasten your seat belts! I have a cornucopia of spectacular wines for you.

As promised, I have selected more wines to go with your Thanksgiving turkey—whether you smoke, deep fry, or go with the traditional oven-roasted method.

First up, the Smoked Turkey:

Now, depending on what type of wood you use, you can get widely varying flavors. According to The Grillin' Fools, "Pecan is the best for that beautiful golden-brown turkey..."

There is a wide range of recommended woods for turkey. You can find other suggestions here at The Grillin Fools. 

As for the wine to go with that smoked bird, I'd recommend the Four Vines The"Willing" (Un)oaked Chardonnay and the Carneros Creek Pinot Noir.

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The Four Vines The "Willing" (Un)oaked Chardonnay has a great bouquet of exotic fruits ranging from ripe mangoes, pineapple, star fruit and vanilla spice. On the palate, it hits you with a big juicy burst of fruit. You instantly discern the mango and pineapple along with other mouthwatering citrus notes. The wine is smooth, modestly acidic, but not overwhelming, and it has a lingering citrus and vanilla finish. I do not think this wine sees any "sur lie" aging, but it has that same soft mouthfeel. This wine will pair perfectly with that big slice of smoked breast meat, with some of the skin on it.

Price range: $9-$12

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 For your smoked dark meat turkey, I have to go with the big, rich cherry notes from the Carneros Creek Pinot Noir. This wine has a light to medium body. On the nose you get luscious black cherry, ripe red plum, and some boysenberry, with a hint of baking spice. The initial taste yields full flavors of ripe plums, black cherries, some earthiness and a hint of vanilla. It has a light, juicy mouthfeel and finishes smooth and easy. Grab a drumstick, some mashed potatoes with gravy and stuffing, and find a quiet corner away from the table side chaos to enjoy with this wine.

Price range: $12-$18

The Deep Fried Turkey:

The style has become more and more popular over the past 20 years. Deep frying turkey is a pretty straightforward method. Just don't forget to thaw your bird thoroughly before you dunk it in the grease—or you may end up with a "YOOOOOOGE" explosion.

Deep frying a turkey locks in all the juices and flavors and makes for a delicious, tender turkey with nice crispy skin. 

Deep Fried Turkey Recommendations: Sand Point Chardonnay and Longhand Pinot Noir

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The Sand Point Chardonnay from Lodi has a beautiful, full aroma of fresh picked yellow apples and vanilla. It's a straightforward chardonnay, with lots of apple and some lemon fruit on the palate to pair nicely with the white meat from the deep fry. It has a light aftertaste with just a hint of citrus and vanilla.

Price range: $8-$10

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The Longhand Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast region of California begs for the dark meat of a deep fried turkey. On the nose you get bright notes of cherry and cranberry sauce and a bit of spice. On the palate, the wine is soft and smooth, with fruit flavors of cranberry and black cherry married with just a wisp of smoke and cedar. There is a subtle acidity to this one that gives it a slight tartness. It's this quality that makes it the perfect wine to serve with dark meat from a deep fried turkey. The acid cuts through the juicy fats and lets you enjoy the meat AND the wine!

Price range: $12-$16

The Ol' Standard: Oven Roasted Turkey:

Finally, we get to the "ol' standard": The "get up at 3am and pop it in the oven so it will be ready to serve by noon, cover it with tin foil and baste every hour after you get up, oven roasted" turkey. This is my family's standard, as such, I get tasked with bringing the wines.

I already revealed what I will be enjoying this year, (see previous post), however, I have two standards that I have used on several Thanksgivings past. 

Oven Roasted Turkey Recommendations: DeLoach Chardonnay and Reserve Lot 33 Pinot Noir

These wines have been two of my bestselling wines each year for the past five years.

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The DeLoach Chardonnay opens up with a pleasing aroma of baked yellow apples, fig and vanilla. It's one of those whites that you can really enjoy quaffing. On the palate, the wine is soft and velvety and greets you with big fruit notes of yellow apples that have been rendered from baking. There's a bit of acid, but it's soft. The finish is long for a chardonnay and reveals light notes of peach and vanilla. This is a wine that can be enjoyed alone or paired perfectly with juicy, oven-roasted white meat turkey.

Price range: $8-$12

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 Finally, our last wine in this pairs trio, the Reserve Lot 33 Pinot Noir.

On the nose you can detect red berries and plum notes. On the palate you are greeted with mouth-filling fruit. The plum is the major player accompanied by highlights of bing cherry and cranberry. The wine is smooth with a medium finish. It doesn't disappear right away, but it doesn't hang around for long either. It has a medium weight to it and when paired with the oven-roasted, dark meat turkey, it really enhances the experience. Price range: $11-$16

No matter which wines you select for you table this year, I hope that these reviews help narrow down your choices and make your holiday wine shopping easier. 

Check back next week as we take a look at some "Old World" wines that you can pair with your Thanksgiving feast, and give your guests a treat by introducing them to a wine they may have heard of, but never tried before.