Wines Reviews

Posted by Keith Wallace

If there was a positive spin to 2020, it’s that we all have leveled up our eating and drinking skills. Do you remember back in 2019 when everyone was tweeting about Dry January? People were so silly in the before times. This year, we are going to focus on situation-appropriate wines.

Thanksgiving Wine Review. Estate Pinot Gri
Van Duzer Estate Pinot Gris

Van Duzer Estate Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley (OR)

One of my go-to Thanksgiving dishes is a quick-fire oyster stew. Just poach a few fresh oysters in heavy cream and some diced shallots. Toss in some parsley and you have yourself a delicious soup. For maximum hedonism, salty/fatty foods need a crisp/mineral wine. This bottling adds the needed acidity and adds a layer of oyster-shell and hazelnut into the equation. Great length and persistence.

Wine Rating: 92 Points | Wine School Reviews

Wine Review of Qupe Marsanne
Qupe 2018 Marsanne, Los Olivos District

Qupe Marsanne, Los Olivos District (CA)

I’ll typically brine the turkey for two hours before roasting it up, if only to keep the breast from drying out. Even then, turkey breast will be overpowered by most red wines, and most white wines make for a rather boring pairing. Marsanne is the go-to wine for turkey breast: white wine with complex aromatics and balanced acidity. This producer from Santa Barbara makes great Rhone-style blends, and this one is particularly fantastic.

Wine Rating: 91 Points | Wine School Reviews

Chianti Wine Review
Gabbiano Cavaliere D’oro Chianti Classico Riserva 2016

Gabbiano Cavaliere D’oro Chianti Classico Riserva

If I have my druthers, I’ll land myself a leg [and what exactly is a druther, and why did this word’s usage peak in 1984?]. Richer bird meats are elevated by red wine with high acid and lean tannins. This particular bottling adds a few more flavors that work well with fowl; under the crunchy cherry flavors is a deep line of Earl Grey tea, mushroom, and sandalwood.

Wine Rating: 92 Points | Wine School Reviews

Wine Review: Renwood 2018 Old Vine Zinfandel
Renwood 2018 Old Vine Zinfandel

Renwood Old Vine Zinfandel

My secret Thanksgiving weapon is Zinfandel. But be warned: you only pull this out when you are at least 73.24% sure that dinner is going to be awkward, flavorless, upsetting, or all three. Zins, especially ones aged in American oak, is a Gatling gun of flavor. This particular bottle is a chocolate-accented fruit missile that will flatten out everything (and everyone) at the table. This isn’t about pairing; it’s about the wine.

Wine Rating: 89 Points | Wine School Reviews

Wine Review: Zuccardi "Q" 2018 Cabernet Franc, Valle de Uco
Zuccardi “Q” 2018 Cabernet Franc, Valle de Uco

Zuccardi “Q” Cabernet Franc, Valle de Uco

If you need one red wine to do the heavy lifting for dinner, then a Cabernet Franc from a High-Altitude vineyard in Argentina is my recommendation. There are two main hurdles to a good holiday food and wine pairing: the people and the food.

If your family is like mine, most aren’t really into wine; you’ll need a wine that will appeal to them (think fruit-forward and full bodies) but it also should have the complexity you want. The wine also needs to be able to work with foods as diverse as cranberries and giblet gravy. That’s where this beauty comes in. Think violets and chocolate.

Wine Rating: 92 Points | Wine School Reviews

Contino 2015 Rioja Reserva

Contino Rioja Reserva

This year, Thanksgiving is going to be chill at the homestead. A chill day of cooking, hanging with the wife and the pups. We don’t have to entertain, so a few liberties will be had with the menu. Great wines are much better with savory flavors than sweet. GTFU, cranberries and yams: it’s Rioja time.

I love love love Rioja Reserva at the dinner table, and the Contino is one of the greats. The perfect balance of power and delicacy; the eternal violets layered into cigar boxes; the punch of cherry and dark fruit. To make this pairing sing, I’ll be finishing the turkey with a shallot demi-glace and a few sprigs of rosemary.

Wine Rating: 96 Points | Wine School Reviews

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