Ep 352: The 2020 Thanksgiving Episode -- American Wine Edition
2020 has been unlike any other, so we are recommending some different things for this year’s annual Thanksgiving show. This year has been tough for everyone, but small, family-owned wineries have been hit pretty hard by fires, lack of tourism, and in some cases, rough harvest conditions. Thanksgiving is the quintessential American holiday, so for this year, especially, we’re recommending that we show support for great American, family-owned wineries and their wines that pair perfectly with any kind of Thanksgiving food you decide to eat.
We start out with a few important announcements:
* The Wine Resources section of the WFNP site is now live. Check it out!
* This year I’m running the holiday book offer again! Details here:
Here are the show notes:
* Regardless of where you are or who you are with, our #1 Thanksgiving tip this year (in this kind of sucky and restrictive year without our loved ones in many cases): Drink something really fantastic – haul out the wine that you’ve been saving and have it now. Celebrate that you are here, that you are ok, that you will make it through this tough time.
We then spend the show traveling the country from west to east, recommending wines from all the top quality regions:
* Santa Barbara: The Pinot is perfect for the meal and really goes with anything. Lumen, Holus Bolus, Ampelos, Dragonette, and Marimar are a few I like
* Paso Robles: We’re a broken record on this one – Rhône style red and white blends from Tablas Creek, Italian varietals from Giornata, and for red meat fuller “meaty-style” veggies: Hearst Ranch and Halter Ranchfor hefty red blends.
* Sonoma: The Underground Wine Events Winery list will suffice but we specifically mention excellent rosé of Pinot Noir from Bruliam, tasty sparkling from Keller Estate and Longboard, and, as I mentioned in my piece with the Splendid Table on NPR – ACORN Winery’s Cabernet Franc.
* Napa: Bearing the brunt of the wildfires this year, we recommend supporting producers who have been affected if you can. Here is a list, but we mention Smith-Madrone (their Riesling is perfect for TG), Cain Winery, Chateau Boswell, and Fairwinds Estate – all whose properties were completely destroyed in the fires.
* Sierra Foothills: Andis is always my pick and the Semillon is perfect with the herbs of the Thanksgiving feast. The Zin is powerful but nuanced and would be great if you are grilling
* Also affect by fires this year and chockful of family owned producers (but make sure you check the big, hulking winery list in the Wine Resources part of the site to avoid buying from a conglomerate), Oregon makes great Pinot Noir, unoaked Chardonnay, and Gamay – all great with every part of a traditional, savory Thanksgiving meal. Some favorites: Bergström, Torii Mor, Cristom, Lingua Franca
* With more body, power, and alcohol, the wines of Washington are fantastic for grilled foods, beef stews, meatloaf, and hearty food you may decide to have in lieu of traditional TG food. Walla Walla, Yakima, and the larger Columbia Valley AVAs are great. I mention Pepper Bridge, Amavi, Sleight of Hand, Saviah, Hightower, and Delille
* Hands down, the winning wine in Texas right now is Tempranillo. A bolder, higher alcohol version than the original Spanish wine, these wines will be great with Spanish cheeses (Manchego) and the same foods we mention for Washington wines. Spicewood, Perdenales are mentioned.
* We mention Michigan for its Riesling, New Mexico for its large sparkling brand, Gruet, and Colorado for some of its emerging wineries as well
* Finger Lakes, New York
* Riesling, Riesling and more Riesling is my recommendation. Dry, off-dry, sweet, dessert – all work with herbs, spices, butter and fat. Riesling is an MVP – it can also handle curry, Chinese food, Indian spices, and any food with heat. And Finger Lakes, with the traditional peachy, white flower, mineral bouquet, its stupendous acidity and lower alcohol make it a complete must-have. Anthony Road Wine Company’s Late Harvest Vignoles is the dessert wine of the century – a native/hybrid grape made in a sweet style, also noted in the Splendid Table segment.
* Long Island, New York
* From my native land, M.C. Ice and I wax poetic on sparkling wine from Lieb and Sparkling Pointe, and then mention great medium bodied Cabernet Franc and Merlot from these gorgeous island wineries. With these kinds of profiles and more moderate alcohol (make sure to check that’s the case before you buy), you will have reds that can weave their way in and out of hard-to-pair dishes – from green beans to creamed spinach to fried turkey. And the sparkling may be an even better match for all that – but you be the judge.
* It has been a terrible year for the wineries of Virginia. Terrible frost settled at the beginning of the growing season, killing off the vines before they had a chance to form. The tiny harvests were fine but there won’t be much wine to sell from 2020, an unfortunate occurrence in the time of Covid. We mention the fabulous Albariño from Afton Mountain (I mentioned their sparkling, Bollicine, in the Splendid Table segment) and unoaked Chardonnay from Pollak, which are our seafood picks, as well as the versatile whites and reds of Linden and Glen Manor. We highly recommend dessert wine from VA – it’s a perfect end to the meal!
We are so grateful for you and we hope you open something fantabulous to celebrate that you are making it through this year, no matter how hard it has been!
Elizabeth and M.C. Ice
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