Turkey Day Warmup: Tasters Start Your Engines Now…Diets Later

Even though it was 86 in LA today the Summer of 2012 is definitely over. I’m wearing long sleeves here fercyrinoutloud! Turkey Day is right around the corner. We have been preparing by getting our taste buds in shape for the food and wine extravaganza. Thanksgiving is the great consumption holiday because we get to bring together the volunteer army of foods and wines. It’s like we’re going to fight the bloody British at Nantucket [ed. Cornwall idiot. Lancaster?]. We have been sampling an array of big flavored wines like those bottles that will dress up the table on Thursday Nov 22. This is not a day for delicate elegant wines. The day calls for the Crimson Tide O-line in a bottle. Big beefsters. Push your palate around like a puppy. If the wines you go with can show some style so much the better. You are almost always obliged to bring a few foils – you know, P-L-O-N-K decoys for the relatives who always leave half glasses laying about. We always save up the best decoys throughout the year. Forget your guilt. It is a fact of life. Like paying taxes. Remember to give thanks.

2010 Kaena Hale $20?: This would be a good pick for tBoW. Cool blueberry flavors with plenty of alcohol to take on the inherently plump meal. Mikael Segouin is a Rhone style winemaker from Santa Ynez. His wines show consistent style. They are middle weight with full flavors and high alcohol levels. Somehow he is able to conceal the alcohol in the fruit without going over the top in ripeness. Just imagine what he could do if he picked sooner! This blend is 44% Syrah, 34% Mourvedre, 22% Grenache. Alcohol is 14.9%

2009 Kaena Hapa $30?: Are all Santa Barbara Syrah wines this intense? Seems that way. Lots of acid offsets the highly focused fruit which has flavors of tart cherries. 60% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre. Would be a favorite of many. Certainly would stand up to the mix of stuffing, cranberry casseroles and Aunt Jackie’s marshmellow yams. Fetch me my insulin stat. 15.3%

2008 San Valentino Sangiovese Superiore Scabi $13: This would be tBoW’s pick for the meal. This wine has rich intensity and focused flavors. It tastes like the spicy Sangiovese wines we like from the Old Country [ed. Italy bella]. The wine is not really balanced. The fruit is forward and remains up front. You need a fruit forward wine for Thanksgiving. So this works well. U20 deal. 14.5%

2007 Finca Flichman Paisaje de Tupungato $17: If there is one wine that can be opened with complete confidence in how it will match the Turkey Day meal it is Argentina Malbec. In fact, tBoW wonders why all the bog trophy wine drinking and colelcting players do not drink more Malbec. How many folks can actually bear to open their Harlan and Colgin bottles with every beefy meal? Try Malbec from South America! This wine is from fruit grown in the more elevated region outside Mendoza below the second highest peak  – Tupungato – in the Andes which hovers right there above the vineyards.  The spot is spectacular. The fruit is also more structured than Malbec from Mendoza proper regions. We covered all this in several posts a few years ago. This wine is just fine for the big meal. In fact it is our opinion that any number of Argentine Malbecs would be a superb choice. Another U20 deal. 14.5%

After you have stuffed yourself into physical transmogrification we recommend a 30 minute layoff before digging into the dessert carousel. No turkey meal should be without desserts and dessert wines. Here are two recently sampled by the tBoW Tasting Team.

2003 Ojai Vineyard Roll Ranch California Viognier $??: Thick juice that lacks acid. Sweet, unctuous but the absence of acid leaves this tasting flabby like Rush Limbaugh without the bluster. Not recommended except as an example of what you might ask about when selecting a “stickie” for the table. 11%

2008 Kandarian Oregon Pinot Gris $18: This is the wine you want. Plenty of bright acid that balances perfectly with the late harvested fruit. This wine is light on its feet dancing across the palate. Delicious apricot flavors. A tough find but the style is perfect. 10.5%

Thanksgiving is a family day. Everyone with an intact family should remember this is not the case across the board. A very good friend and his family lost their most important member very recently and very unexpectedly. It happens. Give a thought to him and his lifelong partner and, if you like, make a toast to Scott and Brenda. This old song came to mind. He sings about “Sheila” but for me I am thinking of Scott singing to Brenda. True love will never die.

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