As Thanksgiving nears, and our focus centers on which new recipes to use, exotic side dishes, to stuff or not to stuff etc., a good moment should be spent on what to drink with the feast, an important and often overlooked or least researched companion. The old rule, to drink what you like, certainly applies, but I also adhere to variety is the spice of life, and like to have many options on hand for the different phases of the meal.
There are many tried and true stalwarts such as Champagne, Cru Beaujolais and zinfandel, but speaking from the Spanish side of things I have other ideas.
There has been a lot of buzz recently on the reemergence of sherry, and deservedly so. The sherry of Jerez de la Fronters comes in many flavor profiles and is being crafted in such high quality, just including one sherry in your meal plan will reap huge rewards. Start with a fino or manzanilla as aperitivo, amontillado in the middle, and oloroso or PX for dessert.
As for the turkey time, I will proffer wines from two different regions of Spain, Terra Alta and the Ribera del Duero. As you may already be familiar with the wines from the Ribera del Duero, big juicy tempranillos that often need bottle age to reach peak drinking, these wines are better suited to roast meats than their big brother to the east, La Rioja. Getting your hand on a good bottle of reserva from 1998 or 2001 is no easy task, and can prove expensive. Rather, Trust in the vintage. Take 2006, for example a year built for wines to be consumed while young, offering immediate pleasure without sacrificing complexity.
Terra Alta is fast becoming a very well respected wine region, with innovative blends and pure juice being produced all over. Garnaxta is the main grape, but great blends with tempranillo and international grapes such as cabernet sauvignon, and even merlot make for interesting wines to be paired with food.
As the soporific effects settle in, a return to sherry is a welcome respite to all of the carnage and belly busting. Perhaps a great moscatel fom Malaga or Jerez may ease the digestion set forth for the long road ahead.
RIBERA DEL DUERO PRODUCERS
Pagos de los Capellanes
TERRA ALTA PRODUCERS
N. SRA Portal
Vinos Sin Ley
Chamber St Wines