Bottle Shop: Talking Turkey

With Thanksgiving around the corner, resident wine guy Eric Vellend recommends three choice bottles to pair with your festive bird.

When buying wine for Thanksgiving dinner, the general rule is CGP (yeah, you know me). This stands for Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Noir – a medium- to full-bodied white and two light reds that are terrific with turkey. Spend a little more than you’re used to – no cute animals or incongruous Zs on the label – and bring a bottle for the meal plus another for the host. If someone is going to the trouble of roasting a 20-pound bird, they should not go thirsty. Here are three wines to dazzle on Thanksgiving.

2027 Wismer Vineyard Fox Croft Block Chardonnay 2012
$30.00 (421362)

With fruit from top Niagara grower Craig Wismer, 2027 Cellars owner-winemaker Kevin Panagapka has produced a world-class Chardonnay that will elicit many superlatives and even a few expletives. An inviting nose of hot buttered toast and orchard apples paves the way for a rich, nervy, elegant, balanced and unbelievably delicious Chard. The oak could use a few more years to integrate, but it’s no detriment to current enjoyment. Pour a glass if white meat is on your plate, or cellar a few bottles for a future dinner of seared scallops or steamed lobster. Don’t serve it too cold, or you’ll miss all the good stuff.

Stephane Aviron Vieilles Vignes Morgon Côte du Py 2012
$19.95 (424804)

Beaujolais has become all but synonymous with the fruit punchy Nouveau wines released every November. While there is nothing wrong with these embryonic reds—other than their debilitating hangovers—this region has a lot more to offer. Morgon, one of the ten villages in Beaujolais with a top cru designation, produces earthy, age-worthy wines that are more like red Burgundy than typical Gamay. This bottle from Stephane Aviron is an extraordinary example made from grapes grown on the coveted Côte du Py hillside. It offers inviting scents of dried flowers and autumn leaves plus black cherry flavours and a smoky finish. An uncommonly complex wine at this price, it will pair nicely with dark meat and mushroom stuffing.

Rosewood Select Series Pinot Noir 2012
$21.95 (112177)

Since opening their doors in 2008, Niagara’s Rosewood Estates Winery has produced a consistently good entry level Pinot Noir at a fair price. (They also make award-winning mead, if you’re into that sort of thing.) The 2012 is their best vintage to date, a light, spicy, savoury Pinot just ripping with food-friendly acidity. The cranberry and cinnamon flavours practically scream Thanksgiving, and it would be equally excellent alongside roast chicken or baked salmon. Pop it in the fridge for 15 minutes to bring it down to cellar temp.

Eric Vellend was a professional cook for more than a decade before trading in his knives for a laptop. Since then he's been a restaurant critic at Toronto Life, the wine columnist at The Grid, and the food editor at Canadian House & Home. You can follow his eating and drinking exploits @ericvellend 

Published Friday, October 2nd 2015

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