Three party-friendly wines for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is around the corner (two days, to be exact), and I’m feverishly trying to figure out which wines I want to take to my in-laws for the big dinner. I’m a red drinker, but not everyone likes red, and all the experts say you’re supposed to drink white with poultry. To make everyone happy, I’m taking one of each. dreaming tree

The red choice was easy. I love Crush, a red blend by Dreaming Tree Wines. This is Dave Matthews’ vin-venture with veteran winemaker Steve Reeder, and they knock it out of the park. (is there anything that man can’t do?) I love Reeder’s philosophy: “I make wines for people to drink. I don’t make wines for people to put into their cellar.” Crush is so drinkable, I know that anyone in my eclectic group coming together this Thanksgiving will enjoy it. I won’t have to worry that it’s too tannic, or too sweet, or too… red. It’s the perfect easy-drinking red.a bottle of each. (for my first review of Crush, read here)

The white choice was a little harder, mostly because I don’t drink much white wine. I’m pretty picky with my whites, but I guess that means that if I bring a white wine that I like, there’s a good chance that everyone will like it. I’m pretty hard to please. Image

I recently sampled a rose’ by Sequin Wines and have a bottle of the winery’s pinot grigio at the ready. I opened it tonight and think it will make an excellent choice for Thanksgiving dinner. Sequin wines are “delicately bubbled” and have just a touch of fizz on the pour. The carbonation is so light, it’s just a breath of fizz on the tongue. Don’t worry, you won’t be taking up valuable real estate in your belly before the turkey arrives. Sequin pinot grigio is sweet, but not syrupy or heavy. It would balance nicely with a roasted turkey and green bean casserole (can you tell which dishes are my favorite?).

Party bonus: The Sequin website has some great recipes to turn their wine into festive party drinks. (hello, “Sequini”!)

Because Sequin isn’t readily available in every region, I’m suggesting an alternative for your white wine: 14 Hands Chardonnay.

Image

I know that some chardonnays can be heavy and oaky, and that is NOT what you want for this National Day of Eating. But 14 Hands is wonderfully versatile – a balanced blend of floral and fruity. It has touches of apple and pear with a hint of green grass and fresh flowers. 14 Hands can be found in most grocery stores with a decent wine aisle, and is priced around $15. (I reviewed it here.)

Whatever your plans are this Thanksgiving, may your day be filled with gratitude… and a healthy pour of great wine!

Advertisements

14 Hands and a Standing Ovation

20120930-185702.jpg

 

Oops, I may have poured a little too much. Don’t judge. It’s a good wine and I knew I’d finish it, so I was just a little generous on the pour. No one’s looking. I can do that from time to time.

I first tried 14 Hands wines at the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland, Ore., and remembered wishing I had more time to really investigate it. I made a mental note to come back to it while I moved on to the myriad other wines being poured that day.

As it turns out, this Washington State wine is readily available at grocery stores in the Pacific Northwest (sigh… what I wouldn’t give for a Fred Meyer near me!) and is now readily available in my home state of Nevada too. I brought a pinot noir home with me and picked up a chardonnay once I got home.

The 2010 Chardonnay is tonight’s pick, pairing perfectly with my husband’s barbecued chicken and fresh spinach salad with a berry vinaigrette.

The aroma is slightly grassy and apple-y, but with a fantastic floral note. The bouquet is not deceiving – the first sip on the tongue echoes the nose, bringing forward fresh apple, pear and spring flowers.

The feel is soft and supple, perhaps a bit sweet with the floral tones. But it’s not heavy in its sweetness, like a crisp apple lined with veins of natural sugar – both sweet and fresh and perfect in balance. This light mix of floral sweetness and fruit tartness produces a chardonnay safe to serve with just about any meal.

I love the idea of “patio wines” – those wines you can sip all afternoon on the patio while the sun warms your face and the cold wine cools your head. This is one of those wines, and that’s a good thing in my book. It’s something I’d be proud to serve to guests, but would be happier keeping to myself and sipping on a hot summer day.

The winery’s name, by the way, is an ode to the wild horses that used to roam freely over Washington’s Columbia River valley. Horses were measured by hands – 14 hands were the height of these particular mustangs, and the image they evoke of freedom and spirit is reflected in the winery’s approach to winemaking.

To this Nevadan who loves to see our wild horses trotting through the sagebrush, the winery couldn’t have chosen a more perfect moniker. My two hands applaud 14 Hands, and then they pour another glass.