A Few Quick Thanksgiving Wine Picks

Traditional Thanksgiving dinner courtesy of BenFranske

It’s very easy to get busy with work and family this time of the year.  And Thanksgiving comes knocking on the door extra early in October for us Canadians this year.  Some of you may be off to the Okanagan to enjoy their Fall Wine Festival.  Pick up a few bottles from the great wineries there to help you celebrate October 8.  Let’s look at a few red and white wines that you may want to have with your roast turkey or ham this year.

Wine Pairings for Roast Turkey

Roast turkey can be quite rich in flavour, plus gravy adding extra flavour.  You need a wine that can stand up on it’s own and complement the roasted flavours. A lightly oaked Chardonnay is one choice, an aromatic Viognier, or if you prefer red, a juicy Merlot or a Pinot Noir. A few that I’ve tasted over the past year:

  • Fort Berens Estate Winery Chardonnay 2011 ($17.99). This plus 2 reds from Fort Berens made me sit up and take notice.  Such quality from a new winery in a new BC wine region: Lillooet! Pale pear skin colour. Light vanilla and apple aromas.  Light body with peach flavour and a hint of oak and cinnamon. A very elegant, integrated wine.
  • Kalala Organic Estate Winery Dostana Chardonnay 2010 ($18.90). Medium lemon in colour with a nice apricot nose.  Medium body with honey, oak and apricot flavour. Very tasty.  Medium acidity with a hint of sweet spices.
  • Stag’s Hollow Viognier 2010 ($21.99). Light orangy nose.  Medium body, round mouthfeel with medium acidity. Citrus, peaches, vanilla and nutmeg on the palate.
  • Trivento Tribu Viognier 2011, Argentina ($9.99. SPEC listing). This was a very surprising wine for sub $10.  Light orange, peach and citrus nose.  Medium minus body with flowers, orange, and spice on the tongue.  Dry citrus finish.  A nice wine.
  • Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Merlot 2009 ($30). Light transparent garnet in the glass. Bright ripe cherry nose.  Light body, dry with ripe cherries and vanilla flavours.  Sweet cherry finish.
  • Bench 1775 Winery Merlot 2011 ($19.90). This was my surprise red wine of the tasting as I had not had their wines before.  I now want to try all their wines.  The Merlot was opaque ruby in colour.  Interesting nose of apples and plums. On the palate you get soft tannins, and flavours of yellow plum and red cherries. The yellow plum really stands out. Quite a different Merlot.  Give it a try.

Wine Pairings for Roast Ham

Roast ham is also quite full flavoured.  It has some sweetness to it, and can have other flavours such as some smokiness, depending on how it’s prepared. Riesling is a nice pairing with ham; think Alsatian food.  I think a  Cabernet Franc or Pinot Noir would also be nice with ham.

  • Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Calliope Riesling 2011, BC ($14.99). Nice nose of citrus, apple and stone fruit.  Dry with high acidity, but still has some roundness on the palate.  Peach flavour with a slight herbal edge.
  • Fort Berens Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2010, BC ($24.99). Deep garnet in colour with light cedar and ripe cherry aromas. Dry, medium plus body with cedar, oak and ripe black fruit flavours. Ripe fruit and vanilla on the finish. This wine won a Double Gold Medal at the All Canadian Wine Championships.
  • Pewsey Vale Riesling, 2011, Australia ($23.99 SPEC).  Nice lime, lychee and flowers on the nose. Medium minus body, light acidity with lots of citrus and stone fruit flavours. Very tasty.
  • King Estate Winery Estate Signature Pinot Noir 2010, OR ($36.99).  King Estate is the largest, or one of the largest wineries in Oregon, but that doesn’t mean poor quality.  They produce very good Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.  They use organic and sustainable farming methods. Their Pinot Noir had light aromas of vanilla, red cherries and eucalyptus.  Medium minus body with a light mouth feel.  Raspberries, some tea leaves flavours, with spice showing up mid palate.  A quality wine!
  • Haywire Pinot Noir 2010, BC. Light garnet in the glass. Orange pekoe tea, nutmeg, violets, and raspberry aromas with a bit of match stick later on.  Quite a complex nose. Round, dry with red cherries, red berries, violets, some sweet spices and a streak of minerality. Medium length. Subtle tannins, which pick up on the finish. Excellent.
  • Carmen Pinot Noir Reserva, 2010, Chile ($18) – Violet aromas.   Cinnamon, violet, vanilla and cherry flavours.  Light body, low tannins. Very tasty.

I wish you many happy Thanksgiving with your family now and in the future. Cheers!

A Wonderful Portfolio Tasting With Mark Anthony Wine Merchants

Today I was fortunate to taste a range of wines around the world that are represented in BC by Mark Anthony Wine Merchants. There was red, wine, sparkling, rose, and fortified wines.

The wineries and countries that were available for tasting were:
– Canada: Artisan Wine Company, Mission Hill Family Estate
– Australia: Yalumba, Tyrrell’s, Vasse Felix
– South Africa: Obikwa
– New Zealand: Man O’War, Twin Islands, Pewsey Vale
– France: Maison Louis Latour, Henry Fessy, Simonnet Febvre, Lanson, Lucien Albrecht
– Italy: Antinori, Tenuta Sant’ Antonio, Col De Salici
– Germany: Gunderloch, Deinhard, Henkell
– Austria: Huber
– California: Rodney Strong Wine Estates, Terlato
– Washington: Long Shadows
– Chile: Santa Rita, Terra Andina
– Argentina: Dona Paula
– Spain & Portugal: Vega Sicilia, Manyana, Graham’s

With the sheer amount of wineries, and wines, it would be a short novel if I were to cover all the wines that I tasted. So I’ll give you my picks from this evening:

Brotte Vacqueyras “Bouvencourt” 2006 (France) $28.99. This is a Grenache / Syrah blend. Medium garnet with a bit of bricking. Caramel, and cherry on the nose.  Medium body and tannins. Caramel, apple, raspberry and cherry flavours.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape “Domaine Barville” 2004 (France) $31.48. A Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre blend.  Medium garnet with some bricking in the glass. Light cherry aromas.  Very nice flavours of red ripe cherries and vanilla. Medium body with smooth tannins.

Louis Latour Marsannay Pinot Noir 2007 (France) $29.99. Light garnet in colour.  Lively raspberry fruit nose.  Oak, cherry, raspberry and currant flavours. Medium length.

Antinori Il Bruciato Bolgheri 2007 (Italy) $34.99.  A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with lesser amounts of Merlot and Syrah.  Opaque garnet with a black core in the glass. Pencil lead and black cherry nose.  Pencil lead, black ripe fruit, capsicum, and cherry flavours.  Smooth mouthfeel with medium tannins and medium length on the palate.

Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2005 (Italy) $46.99. Chianti for those that do not know is made with the Sangiovese grape. This wine was dark garnet in colour.  Oak, cassis, and cherry nose. Full bodied with smooth mouthfeel.  Medium acidity and tannins with ripe black cherry flavour.

Monti Garbi Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2008 (Italy) $30.00.  Many Valpolicella are made from the grape varieties Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, and Molinara. This wine is made with Corvina, Corvinone,  Rondinella, Croatina, and Oseleta.  This is one of my favourite wines of this tasting. Medium garnet in colour.  Nice aromas of cherries, caramel and a hint of spice.  Licorice and red cherries with spice on the palate.  Medium body / tannins,  smooth on the palate with medium length.

Santa Rita Medalla Real Pinot Noir 2008 (Chile) $19.99.  Santa Rita is one of my favorite wineries from Chile.  They have a range of very nice wines.  Wine & Spirits Magazine has awarded Santa Rita the Winery of the Year Award for 2010.  This is the first year I believe for this particular wine.  Medium garnet in colour. Juicy strawberry nose.  Lots of strawberry, raspberry and spice flavours with a bit of flowers and oranges too.  Lots of flavours happening in the glass.  Medium body.

Twin Islands Nautilus Pinot Noir 2008 (New Zealand) $39.99. New Zealand is well-known for their pinot noir wines.  This wine comes from the Marlborough region, which is also well known for Sauvignon Blanc.  This wine is light cherry in colour.  Nice raspberry nose. Medium body with low tannins.  Some minerality, red cherry and smokiness on the palate.

Vasse Felix Shiraz 2005 (Australia) $39.99.  Opaque garnet in colour.  Ripe, juicy black cherry nose.  Minerality, ripe black cherries, and a bit of spice.  The flavour of this wine keeps building it the more you keep aerating the wine in your mouth.  Very smooth.  A “wow” wine.

There were many more wines that could be listed.  I will be posting my tasting notes for all the wines I tried later on www.MyWinePal.com.  I hope you have a chance to purchase and try some of these wines that I recommended. Cheers.