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.

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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!

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Crushing on the Dreaming Tree

Is there anything smoother than Dave Matthews on a warm summer evening? How about wine from Dave Matthews on a warm summer evening? Yep, the musical master is lending his golden touch to wine with the creation of Dreaming Tree Wines.

I found The Dreaming Tree Crush (North Coast red blend, 2009) on sale at Safeway for about $9, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Winemaker Steve Reeder paired up with Matthews to make wine as accessible as music, something everyone can enjoy on any night of the week. As Reeder describes it: “I make wines for people to drink. I don’t make wines for people to put in their cellar.” (Dreaming Tree website)

Indeed, the Crush blend is about as drinkable as you’ll ever find – it’s like crushed velvet, as smooth as the real thing without the restrictive weight. Hell, I tasted it with a veggie stir-fry tonight, and I think I’ll pair it with hamburgers tomorrow.

The tannins are present without being oppressive. There are hints of coffee and tobacco (love!) but you won’t feel the need to rinse with water after a swig. Crush is a wine you’d want to take on a picnic and savor while lying in the grass under a big willow tree, listening to the rustle of leaves in the breeze and the trickle of a stream nearby. You might watch the clouds pass overhead while you unwittingly hum “Satellite.”

Your memories of that day will be of the breeze and the clouds and the absence of time, and you’ll remember that delicious red wine that paired as perfectly with your deli sandwich as it did with your chocolate-chip cookies. So you’ll pick up another bottle for the Friday night dinner with friends, and probably another bottle to sip with your partner by the fire pit on your patio.

The wine will become a welcome guest in your home, but never the centerpiece. It’s not meant to steal the show, but its presence would be missed should you forget to invite it.

And The Dreaming Tree has a certain personality trait that ensures it a permanent place in my wine rack: sustainability. This line of three wines – Crush (red blend), Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon – is produced with sustainable practices, from the lightweight glass to the recycled paper for its labels and its sustainable natural corks. And the winery even partnered with The Wilderness Society, working to conserve public lands.

So what are you waiting for? Go grab your most broken-in Levis, round up some friends to meet you at the beach, and bring  a bottle of Crush to complement your spread of artisan cheeses. And enjoy the night.