Friday, October 30, 2015

Wine Suggestions For Thanksgiving

 Traditional and Alternative Wine Pairings

Are you ready to pair the perfect wines with your Thanksgiving dinner? Whether you celebrate a traditional family dinner or join friends for an informal Friendsgiving, you’ll be looking for a fantastic wine as a host gift or to serve your guests. Try some of these ideas for traditional and out of the ordinary wine selections.

Pairing wine with appetizers can be easy. Start with something light like Sparkling Wine or Rosé to enjoy with your sausage-stuffed mushrooms, avocado-bacon deviled eggs, and savory pumpkin hummus. For best results serve both wines and let your guests create their own perfect pairing.

Note to football fans: If you’re enjoying a beer while watching the Cowboys-Panthers football game, avoid hoppy IPAs if you plan to drink wine with dinner. There’s nothing worse than the residual taste of Cascade hops with your Pinot Noir.

I hope you find the following wine style suggestions useful for dinner; they assume a menu that includes turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, dressing, cranberries, veggies, condiments and dinner rolls. 

Chardonnay, a rich white wine, and Pinot Noir, a light red wine, are traditional favorites for Thanksgiving dinner. A balanced Pinot Noir that has a good amount of acid and low tannins will pair well with turkey and dressing. An oaked Chardonnay is a very good complement to turkey, but doesn’t always pair as well with the rich and savory flavors of side dishes.

For those who like lighter white wines, try a turkey-friendly Sauvignon Blanc or a Grenache Blanc this year. The green and herbaceous flavors in Sauvignon Blanc go well with recipes that feature parsley, rosemary, basil, cilantro or mint. In addition to accompanying delicate fish, chicken or lamb dishes, this wine is a great match with turkey and mashed potatoes.
Straw-colored Grenache Blanc has a relatively high alcohol content with crisp acids and fruit flavors of tangerine, Mandarin orange, green apple and peach. It pairs well with roast turkey, gravy, sweet potato and cranberry sauce. Additionally, it also goes well with herb-rubbed roast chicken and pork chops.

Red wine alternatives include both light and bold red wines. The light red Grenache (or Grenache Noir), a cousin to the lighter Grenache Blanc varietal, is viewed as an outstanding match for roast turkey… but not everyone agrees. This is a good excuse to sip some Grenache in advance to determine your preference.

Bolder red wines are GSM and Syrah. GSM is the blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre; it is medium- to full-bodied, fruit forward and pairs nicely with big, full flavors and red meat.
Heading outside to barbeque your turkey for Thanksgiving? Then you might try a full-bodied Syrah. The dark fruit flavors that range from blackberry, blueberry and boysenberry to savory black olive, plus a spicy peppery finish will pair well with all types of roasted, grilled or smoked dishes.

Friendsgiving meals are filled with fun and often-eclectic menus.  Choose versatile wines like dry white Gewürztraminer, light red Sangiovese or more fruit forward Zinfandel. Enjoy any of these with your friends and don’t sweat the pairing!

What should you buy?
There are many fine wines from Australia, Europe, New Zealand, and South America, but on this uniquely American holiday, why not enjoy an American wine? In the Conejo Valley we are fortunate to be relatively close to Central Coast wineries. Many local wine stores offer selections from the major California wine regions. If I were pushing your online or real shopping cart I’d steer you towards the following selections.

Click here to view a wine shopping list page with store locations, prices, and online links, plus a JPG to print to take with you.

Do you live in the Conejo Valley? Then you'll likely see these wine recommendations in the November Conejo Valley Lifestyle magazine, or click here to view the rest of the magazine online.

Cheers & Happy Thanksgiving!
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Monday, October 12, 2015

Celebration of Harvest Festival 2015

The Grand Tasting at the Old Mission Santa Ines in Solvang is always a fantastic opportunity to visit with Santa Babara County Vintners and sample their wines. And holding the festival at harvest time is a very nice time of year to visit the Santa Ynez Valley--usually.  This year the weather was a little HOT! But those who kept cool enough (think hydrate before lubricate) enjoyed some great wine, food and music.
 Bags of ice and cool water saved the day.

Adam Phillips Band Groovin'
David Courtenay & The Castawaves
Babé Farms
Autostrada Wood Fired Pizza
Petros Hellenic California Cuisine
Succulent Café Wine Charcuterie

Hitching Post II 
Olive House

Au Bon Climat Winery/Clendenen Family Vineyards
2012 Clendenen Family Vineyards Viognier, Santa Maria Valley
Demetria Estate
 2013 Pinot Noir “Le Belier” Sta. Rita Hills
2012 Pantheon GSM
Jaime Slone Wines
2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
2011 BoRific Red Blend, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley
2014 Ros
2014 Hapa Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley
2013 Halé, Santa Ynez Valley
2013 Grenache, Santa Ynez Valley
2013 Tierra Alta Grenache, Ballard Canyon
Ken Brown
2012 Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley, Nielson Vineyard
2012 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, La Encatada Vineyard
2012 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, Clos Pepe Vineyard
2013 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, Rita’s Crown Vineyard
2012 Syrah, Santa Barbara County, Thompson Vineyard

Kenneth Volk Vineyards
2014 Chardonnay, Santa Maria Cuvée, Santa Maria Valley
2013 Chardonnay, "Jaybird", Santa Maria Valley
2014 Albariño, Riverbench Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley
2012 Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Cuvée, Santa Maria Valley
2010 Syrah, Nielson Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley
Kenneth Volk showing off some of the marine origin soil and a whale bone he found.
Koehler Winery
2014 Grenache Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley
2014 Rosé of Grenache, Santa Ynez Valley
Larner Vineyard & Winery
2013 Estate Malvasia Bianca, Ballard Canyon
2011 Elemental, Estate GSM Blend, Ballard Canyon
2011 Estate Syrah, Ballard Canyon
Margerum Wine Company
Doug & Marni Margerum
2013 Sybarite Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
2013 M5 Rhone Blend, Santa Barbara County
2012 Grenache, Santa Barbara County
2012 Colson Canyon Syrah, Santa Barbara County
2014 Barden Fonte, Sta. Rita Hills
Saarloos + sons
2014 Estate Grown Grenache Blanc, Santa Barbara
2013 Estate Grown Syrah, Ballard Canyon AVA
 2014 Grenache Rosé
Sanford Winery and Vineyards
2012 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
2012 Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay
2014 Pinot Noir-Vin Gris, Sta. Rita Hills Appellation
Silver Wines
 2010 El Ojo Blanco, Cuvée Uno, Santa Barbara County
Stolpman Vineyards
2013 Roussanne
2014 Para Maria Del Los Tecolotes
2012 Sangiovese
2013 La Croce (Syrah & Sangiovese Cofermented)
2013 Viognier, Ingeborg Vineyard
2013 Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley
2012 Cabernet Franc, Santa Ynez Valley
tercero wines 
2014 Mourvedre Rose, Vogelzang Vineyard, Happy Canyon
2014 Albarino, C5 Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley AVA
2013 Verbiage Blanc,
Santa Barbara County AVA
2014 The Outlier, Santa Barbara County AVA
2010 Verbiage Rouge, Santa Barbara County AVA
2010 Grenache, Larner Vineyard, Ballard Canyon AVA
2010 The Climb, Santa Barbara County AVA
Tessa Marie Wines
2014 Vermentino
2010 Sangiovese
2009 Coquette
Toretti Family Vineyard 
2012 Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley
2012 Valentino Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley
2013 Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley
2013 Parea (Syrah, Grenache), Santa Ynez Valley
2013 "F Street" Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills
2013 Estate Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills

This festival is always a great way to keep up-to-date with wines from Santa Barbara County. Every one of the close to 40 wines I sampled were excellent. My only regret is that I couldn't try all of the wines from the many other wineries there; something to look forward to next year.


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