Monday, November 21, 2011

What We're Drinking: Thanksgiving

Photo courtesy KHZ

The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway,
Thanksgiving comes again!

unknown author

Photos courtesy BCZ

In addition to the baking, roasting, mashing, and zesting that occurs here on Thanksgiving Day is the ever important pouring. Although we are likely to offer more than these selections on Thursday, we wanted to share a peek of our libations menu with you before being swept up in all of our last-minute preparations both in the office and the kitchen.

Our first selection is Cuilleron Viognier from France's northern Rhone Valley. Established in 1920 by current owner and winemaker Yves Cuilleron's grandfather, the estate consists of a cellar in Verlieu and vineyard holdings in Condrieu, Saint Joseph, Côte-Rôtie, Saint-Péray, and Cornas. Yves' vinification principle? "Faire le plus simple possible." Keeping things as simple as possible includes incorporating local traditions at Caves Cuilleron, thus all of the grapes are hand-picked and sorted and natural yeasts are allowed to instigate fermentation. In the case of the Viognier, the grapes are pressed, allowed to settle with the must for 24 hours, and then moved into temperature controlled stainless steel vats, where alcoholic and malolactic fermentations take place. The wine is then aged sur lie for six months in French oak barriques and stainless steel.

The 2010 vintage is described as having a varietally appropriate nose of apricots and peaches with a well-balanced fresh and fruity palate and finish. Served chilled, Cuilleron Viognier will be lovely with our Thanksgiving meal.

Our second selection is a Copain Pinot Noir from California's Sonoma Valley. New to the Wizards' portfolio, Copain Wines are made by Wells Guthrie to be firmly rooted in California but with sensibilities from the European wine traditions he so admires. Robert Parker has remarked in The Wine Advocate, "One of my favorite California wine producers, Wells Guthrie, like a champion truffle-hunting dog, seems to unearth top vineyards for his wines." Josh Reynolds of International Wine Cellar  has said, "These were among the most vibrant and precise wines I tasted during my Sonoma tour."

Copain offers a range of varietals at three different levels: Tous Ensemble Blends, Les Voisins Blends, and Single Vineyard Wines. Our Thanksgiving selection will be Les Voisins Pinot Blend with a medium-light body, crisp acidity, and red fruit notes on the palate with low tannin.

And for our third selection... cider! If The New York Times' Eric Asimov says he's going to have Farnum Hill Extra Dry at the ready on Thursday, you know it's a great choice. You can read about Asimov's other alternatives to wine for Thanksgiving here. Please visit our October 6th blog entry to learn more about Farnum Hill and our excursion there in August.

Photo courtesy KHZ
We hope that these suggestions have been interesting and helpful.

Photo courtesy KHZ
We wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving!

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