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Wine Country Girl: 11/01/2011

Wine Country Girl
Spilling the good stuff…

Local wines for your holiday festivities

Dear locals,

When shopping for wines for your Thanksgiving holiday gathering, please don't go to the big box stores. There are plenty of lovely wines to wow your guests and your taste buds right here in our own neck of the woods. Since we have so many wonderful wine choices within a five mile stretch, there's no need to go anywhere else!

I did some tasting room hopping in my neighborhood in search of the perfect pairings for turkey day and found a few classic favorites as well as some nontraditional wines that have inspired me to try some new pairings. Keep in mind, pairing wine with food is very subjective. There are no set rules. Wine rouses pleasure with various foods. Almost any dish can be matched with many types of wines. People have different palates and inclinations: everyone will make their own combinations.

Enkidu makes one of the nicest Sauvignon Blancs I've tried. Their 2009 Kick Ranch Sauvignon Blanc is barrel fermented, which really softens the mouth-feel and rounds out the flavor profile, adding depth and complexity. Lovely stone fruit aromas on the nose lead to spice and green apple flavors on the palate with layers of vanilla, spice and oak on the finish. I would pair this Sauvignon Blanc with baked brie and apricots or a simple fruit and cheese plate.

Ty Caton George's Dry Reisling is a sweet and decadent wine that would pair beautifully with either appetizers or desert. This wine is superbly crafted with rich fruit and nice acidity. The dry finish makes it less sweet than a typical Reisling and more versatile. This is an excellent accompaniment to candied walnuts, fig spread with a dry Spanish Manchego cheese, or spinach salad with cranberries.

Most of us like a Pinot Noir or Chardonnay with Thanksgiving, but how about a Rosé?

Muscardini 2009 Rosato di Sangiovese is a super dry rosé that would pair beautifully with turkey and cranberries. This Sangiovese Rosé is crisp and clean with soft fruit qualities and is very well balanced. I wouldn't usually think of pairing a rosé with turkey, but this one has inspired me to get beyond my stuffy old box of tradition and try something different.

On a more traditional note, I found a couple of holiday-worthy Pinots that are more than welcome at my table.

Enkidu 2009 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir displays the earthy, savory qualities I always look for in a good Pinot Noir. This is an old-world style Pinot that boasts aromas of sweet tobacco along with black currant that lead to a silky mouth-feel with flavors of ripe black cherry on the palate. The finish is layered with mineral and herb nuances. A definite no-fail choice for your Thanksgiving meal, whether you are serving turkey, duck or even a Turducken!

Eric Ross 2010 Pinot Noir from Saralee's Vineyard is younger in the bottle, but a lively, well crafted Pinot Noir. Ripe plum and spice on the nose introduce flavors of tart, rich berries in the mouth with a creamy finish. This Pinot is also a great match for your holiday meal.

For the Chardonnay fans, Enkidu 2009 Tin Cross Chardonnay is part oak fermented, giving a nice balance of fruit and oak. The aromas of pear and spice are present on the nose with tropical fruit flavors in the mouth. This Chardonnay has a beautifully balanced finish with layers of vanilla, spiced oak and minerals on the finish. A definite crowd pleaser that will match up well with your holiday meal.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it's all about food, family and friends. The best part of the holiday for me is dessert and of course, dessert wines!

Kaz Winery makes their signature Bodega Bay Portworks, some of which they have just bottled and I was fortunate enough to be the first to try, other than the winery insiders. If you haven't visited the barn tasting room, I highly suggest you do, just for the experience. You can even bottle your own wine.

Now, I've tried many ports, but Kaz's Blush Port, made from Sangiovese grapes, is completely out of this world! This amazing port has exaggerated flavors of ripe plum, black cherry and vanilla. I would pair it with dark chocolate and fresh berries or pour it over poached pears.

The White Port is made from Chardonnay grapes and has bold peachy and vanilla flavors, along with a hint of spice. This is sure to pair great with your pumpkin and pecan pies, Crème Brule or simply poured over ice cream.

The Red Port is made mainly from Zinfandel grapes with a blend of Barbera and Cab Franc. Flavors of rich berries and cocoa are heavy and decadent, as a good port should be. This port is most definitely the perfect pair to anything chocolate, or a berry pie ala mode.

This Thanksgiving holiday, let's give thanks for living in the land of plenty and keep our holiday accoutrements local! Many of the tasting rooms offer special deals just for locals. Inquire within and please tell them Sunshine sent you.

Until next time, Cheers!

Spilling the good stuff …

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