Turkey Day Wine

Every year around this time I start thinking about which wines to serve with Thanksgiving dinner.  It should be an easy choice – white with foul and fish, red with pork and beef.  Veggies – one or the other depending on the type of sauce and spice.  The Thanksgiving meal at my house can make the wine selection a little tricky with all the side dishes we prepare.   Sides dominate our table.  We usually put out Brussels sprouts, a green bean casserole, cheese grits, black-eyed peas with tomato relish, corn on the cob, fried okra (when I can find frozen breaded okra) asparagus with Hollandaise sauce and smoky collard greens.  The main attraction is stuffing, my mother’s recipe, but we call it dressing because we don’t stuff the bird.   The dressing mixes well with any side and is perfect with cranberry sauce on top of a slice of turkey.  With this spread to consider, I’m in need of a versatile wine or a combination of wines.  Who to turn to?  I typically start with the Internet.

If you google wine+turkey, Pinot Noir will be at the top of many a list as the ideal companion to turkey.  Pinot Noir pairs well with just about any fowl from poultry to game birds and the gamier the flavors the better.   However, a decent budget priced Pinot Noir is hard to find.   If you can find it, try the 2007 Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir produced by Don Sabastiani and Sons from a Chilean appellation – runs about $9 or try the 2006 Sabastiani Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir which retails for about $15.   If you want a Pinot to impress, try the 2005 Dierberg Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley, rated one of the Top 100 Wines of 2008 by WineSpectator.  At #49, and retailing for around $42, it is the top rated Pinot Noir on the list, receiving a score of 92 points.   Mary has a nice post on Cheap Pinot Noir under $20 on the kitchn.com.

For an alernative to Pinot Noir, Senior editor James Molesworth of WineSpectator has a list of Rhone-style Califonia Reds, which includes several wines priced $12 and under.  Laurie Woolever also writing for the WineSpectator posted a list of recommended Whites.  One is a $9 2006 Pepperwood Grove Riesling from Australia, especially nice if you like a liitle sweetness.

So what is the best choice to please all palates (ok, most) that would be versatile enough for Thanksgiving fare?  My choice is Ladybug Red Cuvee VII.  I’m serious.  This 7th Non-Vintage release from the Lolonis Winery in California’s Redwood Valley, retails for $12.99 and features a blend of four grapes:  Zinfandel, Carignane, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Fruity and light, like a Nouveau-styled wine with overtones of strawberries and cherry tart, this wine is reminiscent of a young Pinot Noir.  Complex notes of cool mint from the Cabernet and a Zin-like dash of pepper give it a lift.  And smooth tannins compliments of Merlot make it go down easy.  Not overpowering and quite quaffable, this wine should do well with turkey dinner and not detract at all from side dishes and might even elevate Brussel sprouts to new heights!  If you don’t trust my review, read Ed’s take from Harney’s Liquor.  But don’t take our word, audition it yourself before you commit.

So what’s the story behind Ladybug?  The Lolonis Winery places millions of ladybugs on their vines to serve as a natural insecticide.  So in addition to this being a great wine for Thanksgiving, it’s somewhat organic, but not completely – it does contain sulfites.  And the winery uses synthetic cork to guarantee that your bottle won’t be corked.


4 Responses

  1. Hi there, thanks for visiting my blog and commenting, much appreciated.

    I saw this about the Ladybug wine and was intrigued, now I will have to see if it is available in Australia.

    Anyways, hope you had a great Thanksgiving :)

  2. Thanks for stopping by. And I completely agree with your Alpha comments. BTW, I’m going to put up some photos and poems to diversity my blog a bit. Your approach inspired me – I had seen lots of blog photos before, but so many felt like Facebook or MySpace.

    Hope your Thanksgiving was nice too!

  3. Great Post! Thanks!

  4. Thanks for stopping by. I don’t work for the winery, but if you can find Ladybug Red in your area, give it a try or give some of the other wines a shot.


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