Thanksgiving is the time we fill our tables with the harvest of the season. We bring our best and offer it to family and close friends. Our wine choices should be no exception. This year, share the bounty of our growing Clark County wine scene instead of hiding back ‘the good stuff’ to savor after the big event and then plan to take out-of-towners on the Thanksgiving weekend wine tour to amass their own bottles of good fortune.
- Turkey, the traditional bird that sacrifices itself for the sake of the masses, finds its soul mate in the delicate strawberry and white peppery aromas of Village Vineyard’s 2009 Pinot Noir or Rusty Grape Vineyards’ 2010 Pinot Noir Reserve which co-owner, Jeremy Brown, guarantees has more backbone than your average pinot. Michele Bloomquist of Heisen House Vineyards throws out a white wine option with the spice notes and medium acidity of her unfiltered 2012 Viogner.
- Choosing ham as the main course? Pepper, spice and a hint of smoke from the cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah blend of East Fork Cellars’ Cellar Rat Red has the savory version covered. Honey-baked ham fans will find Brian Tansy’s recommendation of his Olequa Cellars 2013 Riesling to be on point with its tropical combination of pineapple and peach notes while owner of Bethany Vineyards, Walt Houser, feels the sweet of his 2013 Sweet Riesling evens out the saltiness in ham.
- The big, bold flavors of prime rib deserve equally bold wines like Burnt Bridge Cellars’ hearty 2012 Les Collines Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon or the strong berry and tobacco notes of Koi Pond Cellars’ 2012 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon. Owner of Three Brothers Vineyard, Dan Anderson, likes the end cut with all the seasonings and says his dry 2010 Merlot can stand up to the spice.
- Save room for pie? Several area wineries have options that’d pair well with both pumpkin and apple. Fortified with their own pinot noir brandy, the smooth coconut finish of English Estate Winery’s Sweet Autumn Gold would go beautifully with either pie choice as would the semi-sweet tropical and honey notes of Gougér Cellars’ 2013 Muscat Ottonel. The velvety texture of Confluence Vineyards’ Divine 2010 port style wine is Heaven with pumpkin pie and then winemaker, Greg, upped the ante by suggesting a caramel sauce over the apple. Although not one of their own wines, the spices and hint of orange in the S’Naranja Pedro Ximénez fortified sherry-style sweet wine (available at Emanar Cellars) complement the baking spices in both pies.
- Apple alone offers two final pairing thoughts in the slight spiciness of Moulton Falls Winery’s Riesling and Pomeroy Cellars’ uncarbonated 2013 Hard Apple Cider, made with four different varieties of Washington apples.
For more Thanksgiving food pairings from the area’s 15 wineries, see the extensive list below.
- Bethany Vineyards-Walt offered that their 2009 Pinot Noir would be “really a good one to have with turkey this year sighting light wines with light foods as a pairing guideline, the tannins and acidity level of their 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2012 259 St. Cuvée (a cabernet sauvignon and merlot blend) well-suited for prime rib and Sara, Bethany’s resident vegetarian, recommended 2010 Petite Syrah for meatless options like tofurky
- Burnt Bridge Cellars-Mark feels the bright fruit flavors with spice and sandalwood notes of their 2012 Les Collines Vineyard Merlot “will compliment a holiday turkey and all of your other traditional dishes,” and the cabernet sauvignon-dominant 2012 Les Collines Vineyard Blend X is “a classic pairing” with the spicy and savory notes of baked ham.
- Confluence Vineyards-Their lineup of gorgeous reds softened by French oak pair beautifully with traditional Thanksgiving recipes. Greg suggested the smoke and toast in their 2012 Syrah for turkey, the strong tannic structure pulled from cabernet sauvignon softened by the addition of merlot in their 2012 Equilibrium for prime rib and the 2012 Malbec for the citrus and fruity sauces used with ham.
- East Fork Cellars-A bottle of 2012 Dry Riesling with lemon and citrus notes, medium acid and medium body would be a palate-cleansing choice for baked or deep-fried turkey and its trimmings as well as a nice accompaniment to apple pie while the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon begs for prime rib to tame its nose of deep cherry and tobacco and higher tannins.
- Emanar Cellars- Nearly sold out of their own wines, we go to a 2013 Principe de Viana Garnacha Rosado for turkey with its fruit aromas and strawberry flavors, the tempranillo/cabernet sauvignon blend of the 2008 Luis Caῆas Reserva for prime rib and the spiciness naturally found in the 90% tempranillo 2009 Rioja Viῆa Real Crianza for a spicier baked ham. All found in Emanar’s current selection of Spanish wines.
- English Estate Winery-Andee confidently presides over the tasting room and heartily recommends the touch of sweetness found in Marguerite Metis, a blend of sauvignon blanc, gewürztraminer and semillon for turkey, their 100% estate-grown 2012 Pinot Noir with its earthy and smoky characteristics for prime rib and the touch of spice found in their lighter style 2010 Pinot Noir for ham..
- Gougér Cellars – The fruit forward of Gary’s 2011 Zinfandel or strawberry characteristics of his Sparkling Rosé would be lovely with turkey. The touch of cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel in his 2010 Petite Sirah creates bigger tannins perfect for prime rib while a person could go with either the smokiness of the 2010 Syrah or balanced oak and butteriness of his 2013 Chardonnay for ham, depending on how it’s cooked. Gougér has the added benefit of carrying Gary’s own creation of alcohol-free ice creams and he excitedly recommended muscat with toasted coconut over pumpkin pie, the maple flavors found in his muscat with toasted oak on its own after a ham dinner and his zinfandel with chocolate chip for a berry pie or chocolate cream pie. They are quite a treat.
- Heisen House Vineyards-Winemaker and owner, Michele, puts her velvety mouth feel berry and spice 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon up against prime rib, pairs the fruitier style 2011 Pinot Noir Reserve with ham and their 2011 Barn Owl White with starters like cheese and cracker plates.;
- Koi Pond Cellars-Their non-vintage Geisha Red blend, with its cocoa and spice, would pair well with turkey. The honey and vanilla notes of the non-vintage Geisha White blend for honey-baked ham and Elle’s Cocoa Syrah, a chocolate-infused brandy-fortified dessert wine, would be wonderful with anything chocolate.
- Moulton Falls Winery-Susan Millea offers up their off-dry and lightly sweet Lucia Rose’ for smoked turkey or a bottle of Big Jake Chenin Blanc with its crisp, tart finish for a buttery oven-baked or deep-fried turkey. For honey-baked ham, the hint of sweet in Lucia Rosé is a balanced choice or the peppery nose of their Lemberger for peppery or clove-encrusted hams while her answer to prime rib is, again, Lemberger or Railroad Red Cabernet Sauvignon for bolder cooking methods.
- Olequa Cellars-Brian points out that “turkey has a subtle flavor so it goes best with dry whites or rosés” causing him to lean to his 2011 Chardonnay and 2013 Cabernet Franc Rose' and for the “bold, full-bodied reds required for prime rib” his 2011 Syrah or 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon “fit the bill.”
- Pomeroy Cellars- Their wine style 2013 Hard Apple Cider “adds mild flavor to what is usually a big meal,” according to Destiny Fuller, and would make a fitting pairing with turkey or choose their festive 100% cabernet franc Rose’. For honey-baked ham try their drier style 2013 Riesling and go with the Bordeaux-style 2012 Lucia 47 red blend for a variety of spicier versions. The depth of prime rib calls for the full-bodied Log House Red or smoother 2012 Lucia 47 blend, depending on wine preferences. Apple pie finds a proper pairing with 2013 Hard Apple Cider, 2013 Riesling or 2013 Rosé.
- Rusty Grape Vineyard- Winemaker, Jeremy Brown, chose their non-vintage Rosso Massimo to pair with honey-cured or baked ham and the bold notes of their Bicyclette Rouge without hesitation for prime rib. Apple pie is paired with the crisp apple notes found in their off-dry Tin Roof Cider.
- Three Brothers Vineyard- Turkey marries well with the slight sweetness in their 2011 Riesling or, for a red, try their lightly floral 2011 Pinot Noir. Ham partners with the 2010 Sono La Vite, a softer red blend made predominantly from lemberger while co-owner, Dan, recommends the acid found in their 2013 Chardonnay for apple pie and the 3 ½ % residual sugar of their 2011 Sweet Riesling for pumpkin pie.
- Village Vineyard-Prime rib is a wonderful choice for the intense flavors of their food-friendly 2011 Pinot Noir Pommard while the creamy palate of the 2011 Chardonnay would work nicely alongside holiday ham. Both apple and pumpkin pie could be elevated by a glass of the low alcohol Gramma’s Grapes Village White accented with some peach notes and a hint of spice.
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