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WINE

Thanksgiving Wine Before Dinner
updated: Nov 24, 2012, 12:00 PM

By Marc Liberts

Thanksgiving - Thoughts About Wine Before Dinner (part 1 of 2)

November 19, 2012

While most of you have been spending your time shopping for the perfect turkey, the greenest beans, and the prettiest pumpkin pikes, I've been madly going through my wine collection trying to pick out a dozen wines that individually might appeal to someone at the Thanksgiving dinner I've been invited to attend.

This year, I've been having more and more fun blind tasting wines with people who have never blind tasted wines before. I've also been very interested to discover what wines people really like when all the possible bias is removed. So, I decided that I'm going to host a blind tasting at Thanksgiving this year, consisting of 6 white wines and 6 red wines. I'm going to try and get all the adults to try a small sip of each wine and simply vote for their favorite red and their favorite white. I will report the winner of each category next week.

For the whites, I've assembled an interesting and flavorful variety of things for the tasters to try. The Qupe Bien Nacido Cuvee is a blend of Viognier and Chardonnay. I had it in the past and really liked it. The Pine Ridge is a blend of Chenin Blanc and Viognier. It should be an interesting blend. The Brewer- Clifton 3/D Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay is my ringer, and I hope it will be the winner. I'm entering one wine from France: Albert Bichot's Pouilly-Fuisse Le Close. Like the Brewer Clifton, it is 100% Chardonnay and should contrast nicely with its California cousin. The final two white wines are both from Brander Vineyard. First, Brander's Cuvee Natalie is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Riesling and is always a favorite. The second Brander is the Cuvee Nicolas which is 100% Sauvignon Blanc and is probably the only wine in this flight that was aged in oak.

For the reds, I've assembled an eclectic mix of familiar and not so familiar wines. I will start the red flight with Brander Vineyard's Merlot which is usually friendly, fruity, and fun. Next will be a Cabernet Sauvignon from Bergevin Lane in Washington. This wine should be strong, heavily oaked, and aggressive. The third wine is from a great producer in Paso Robles called Epoch Estate Wines. However, it is their Tempranillo wine which may be unfamiliar to many of the guests at dinner. The next wine will be from Ampelos and is called ‘Epsilon'. The Epsilon is made from Dornfelder grapes from the Huber Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills. I tried and purchased this wine a few years ago and was very taken by its power and finesse. I'm guessing this might be the winner of the night. The next wine with the impossible to read label is Alapay's Rebekah which is a very classic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Verdot. I loved it when I tried it in 2005, but I'm a little afraid it might not have held up over the years. Finally is a trusted, tried, and true Syrah from Melville.

If you would like to vote on which red and which white will win the blind tastings for my 2012 Thanksgiving Dinner, please vote in the comments section. Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving. Also, please remember that if you are going to drink on Thanksgiving or any other time, please have a designated driver or call a cab.

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