Turkey Again? 4 Wines to Make the Holiday Bird Taste New
If you’re among the 50 percent of Americans who choose to serve turkey during the winter solstice holidays, you may want to switch up your wines from those you served at Thanksgiving.
Just as pretty and accessible as its namesake, Carmel Road Drew’s Blend Pinot Noir 2013 ($28) is “curated” by none other than actress Drew Barrymore. The grapes are sourced from certified sustainable vineyards in the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains near Monterey, California, and winemaker Kris Kato has used them to create a classic, light pinot noir featuring cherry and baking spice in the nose and on the palate, a lively minerality, and pleasantly balanced acidity. A very good value for a gentle price, this would be a great pairing with turkey or, for smaller families, roasted Cornish game hens.
Normally, I wouldn’t recommend a cabernet sauvignon to pair with Ben Franklin’s favorite bird (remember: he wanted the turkey, not the bald eagle, to be our national symbol, citing its superior moral character), since most cabernets would simply overwhelm the bland flavor of today’s birds. But Viansa Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($65) is one unusual, and very drinkable, wine. Crafted by Sonoma winemaker Amy Ludoviss, this cabernet is dark red with an iridescent rim in the glass, and the nose is heady with dark fruit and violets. The surprise (and turkey-friendly) element is the fruit on the palate — a shock of bright cherry with just a hint of cedar and a mellowing of toasted oak. The wine exhibits fine structure and a light mouthfeel, with notable and well-integrated tannins in the dry finish. It would pair especially well with a turkey sporting a rich sausage stuffing.
If a bubbly is more to your liking, consider Bisol Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze ($42), which is one of the nicest proseccos to cross my desk in some time. The rich aromas of white stone fruit and apple are assertive enough to bring out the best in your bird, and the lively mousse and pleasantly dry finish hold a floral note or two for added complexity. Even folks like me who generally prefer brut Champagne will admit the additional fruitiness complements turkey better than our usual favorite bubbly.
And finally, my favorite wine for large turkey-centric gatherings: Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas 2014 ($25), a beautifully made Rhône blend with mineral and ripe dark fruit in the nose, and rich plum and blackberry on the palate. This well-made wine also exhibits a luxuriously round, creamy mouthfeel; silky tannins; and beautiful structure. It’s a stunning value.