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2008 Thanksgiving wines…and a few more too!

On Thanksgiving (and Christmas) I like to start with Champagne. It’s a festive wine and celebratory after all! After that, its all about what we feel like drinking the rest of the day and of course the food. TG is a tough holiday meal to pair wine with as a cornucopia of flavors and textures fight for your palate’s attention in abundance unlike any other meal of the year. Champagne and Riesling are the most versatile wines out there, however I favor Champagne over Riesling in most cases expect for Asian cuisine. Champagne is also more fun and popular with wine drinkers than the sommelier adored Riesling (Somms. love Reisling).
This day I was definitely on for champagne, no doubt I was gifted an excellent bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow label the week before at the Wine Party. It was perfect for the occasion. Then I wanted white to have with the Italian antipasti, but had none other on hand except a Shafer Chardonnay that was not such a great pairing. I needed more acidity and a Friuli or Tuscan white would have been perfect, I was unprepared! The Chardonnay was nice and we had some left to have with the birds, it was a great pairing.
Now for the red, Pinot Noir without a doubt was what I was feeling! Lisa and I decided to pop the cork on a Sea Smoke Southing. I am now so happy I have more of this wine and will be ordering the allocation of the 2007s coming in spring 2009. The 2007 vintage of wines in California is supposed to be the best in 10 years since the much heralded 2007 vintage.
I was thinking about also opening a Kosta Browne Russian River Pinot Noir but decided we had enough wine for the time being as we had the Prosecco that my family likes to have with the Turkey. I and a few others passed on the Prosecco and enjoyed the Sea Smoke Pinot Noir and Veuve Champagne with dinner. I also wanted to save room for desert and to drink one more wine with desert. I had been jonesing for over a week for the 1994 Chappellet Moelleux that I had been sitting on for a few years, man was it worth the wait! I was hoping it was not past its prime, but showed to be in great shape with quite a few years left!
So, onto the wines:
NV Veuve Clicquot, Brut Champagne, Reims, France

Always a crowd pleaser. Biscuity, lemon and apple aromas. Tasty yeasty notes of bread and biscuit, apple and citrus. Great bubbles and acidity clean up the nicely dry finish.

2005 Shafer, Chardonnay “Red Shoulder Ranch”, Carneros, Napa Valley
Color: Golden straw yellow

Nose
: Toasty hazelnut, ripe apple and Meyer lemon aromas.

Palate
: Apple and citrus flavors, nutty and strong acidic finish that mellow as the wine was open longer. If drinking, I would decant for 30 minutes or so to mellow out the finish.

2005 Sea Smoke, Pinot Noir “Southing”, Santa Barbara Hills AVA, CA

Color: A rich velvety dark red hue, ruby edges

Nose
: Lush Blackberry and Blueberry, dusty oak

Palate
: Blackberry and Blueberry, dusty oak and some nice minerality. Excellent tannic structure, firm but not overdone.
This is a great example of a wine I love and hope to buy every year!

1994 Chappellet, Chenin Blanc Moelleux (Desert Wine)
Color: Rich and glowing dark gold

Nose
: Creamy peach and spicy apricots, some older subtle oak aromas tell of age. Some orange blossom emerges later.

Palate
: Rich flavors and texture, yet light on its feet – not cloying or overbearing. I can drink this all night! Creamy peach, apricot, orange blossoms and honeysuckle. Great acidity still remains in this wine and refreshes the palate!

2006 Cote de Brouilly, Chateau Thivin, Beaujolais, France
Color: Dusty maroon and red

Nose
: Earthy with herbal tea and some cherry

Palate
: More of the same, red fruits, herbal tea and earth, some minerality. Fine-grained tannins finish it off.
A Grand Cru Beaujolais is a great wine at a great price. They tend to be less complex and more accessible than a red Burgundy, but in great years the Cru Beaujolais are excellent wines.

1998 Ducru-Beaucaillou – La Croix de Beaucaillou, St. Julien, Bordeaux
Color: Dark red in the decanter. In the glass ruby center with light red/brick edges.

Nose
: Red currants, meat and cedar.

Palate
: Red currants and cherry, spicy cedar, older herbs like bay leaf, loads of tannin on the finish.
A great second wine from a superb 2nd Growth Producer Ducru-Beaucaillou, this wine is getting more expensive of late so get some before the price sky rockets and gets close to $50. You can get this for about $30 or so retail.

Cheers and enjoy the days leading up the big holidays coming up in December!


-Tom

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