Thanksgiving 2018: Picks and Pairings

In preparation for Thanksgiving, Delectable caught up with three wine lovers in the community. For those who have planned their Thanksgiving meal, you can compare notes. For those who are still preparing, you can gather last minute ideas. These Delectable users gave us insight into the wine they plan on serving, wines and foods they hope to pair, and even what Thanksgiving dish they would be! ************************************************************************************************ Meg Herring lives in the quirky and cool city of Pittsburgh with her cat, Plato. She is a marketing director by day and a wine blogger by night. After receiving her WSET Level 2 award with distinction, she was inspired to start her blog, Meg & Merlot , where she writes about her favorite bottles, regions and pairings. Meg also contributes to The Vintner Project , a website dedicated to celebrating winemakers and their craft. She enjoys traveling, cooking and furthering her wine knowledge. Her favorite wine is cru Beaujolais. Aaron Rankin grew up in Philadelphia, went to college in Pittsburgh and now lives in Chicago with his wife and two young children. A lifetime of tinkering with computers led him to be the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Sprout Social, a software company that helps businesses interact with their audiences in social media. As in tech, in wine Aaron enjoys its natural ability to connect people, and he appreciates the craftsmanship, care and persistence that goes into making a product great. Bill Bender is a trial attorney of 25 years in San Diego and has been actively involved in wine for 20 years, compiling in excess of 3000 bottles. He is the managing partner of Bender & Gritz, a 10-attorney firm located downtown. He lives in a 65 year old home that has been designated as a historical architectural landmark in the La Playa area of Pt. Loma with his teenage daughters, Bailey (18) and Riley (15). ************************************************************************************************ Delectable (D): What are you planning on drinking/serving this Thanksgiving? Meg Herring (MH): This is a big reveal because my family doesn’t even know what I have planned yet! For dinner, I’m opening a magnum of Arianna Occhipinti’s 2016 SP68 IGT Sicilia Rosso . A large format bottle feels special for a holiday and with only five adults at our table, I think it will be a fine amount for mealtime. (Don’t worry—there’s back-up Beaujolais just in case!) Occipinti’s SP68 Rosso is a blend of Frappato and Nero d’Avola from the Vittoria region of Sicily. It is bright, lively, savory and fruity with a touch of earth and herbs. It should be a festive complement to our Thanksgiving meal! Aaron Rankin (AR): Doesn’t pairing wines to Thanksgiving inspire such excitement and frustration? The rare big dinner with friends and family in a comfortable, intimate setting; isn’t that what winos live for? Yet, the circumstances are against you. Many different dishes. Many drinking preferences around the table. Less than ideal glassware, perhaps. No decanter. If you’re traveling, are you packing bottles in the suitcase? Etc. This year I’m keeping it simple, for two reasons. First, we’re traveling to Pennsylvania, which doesn’t legally sell much interesting wine. Personally I’m not a Sutter Home guy. What we drink will arrive in my suitcase. Second, we’re eating with my parents, who will drink wine, but aren’t aficionados. Having come of drinking age in the 80s, they have a trepidation about wine. They haven’t fully shaken the image of jug wine and wine coolers thanks in large part to Pennsylvania’s bad wine selection. I’m going to bring a white and a red. For the white, it’ll likely be a Riesling or Gruner. Something I know will be enjoyable and pair with anything. For the red, I’m deciding between a balanced Cali Pinot – some fruit, some acid, some terroir – that wins people with its nose and pairs with many dishes well, or an easy crowd pleaser, like a big, juicy Zin that is delicious on its own even if it doesn’t really go with much on the table. The Zin is interesting as my parents also haven’t shaken the memory of White Zin. Bill Bender (BB): For the first time in years, we are going traditional and serving turkey as a main dish this year. We acquired a bourbon red heritage turkey which is a little more “gamey” than traditional birds. Even though it’s more of a game meat I plan to go with lighter style wines this year. It’s warm and dry right now in San Diego, so I’m serving Rudd Mt. Veeder Sauvignon Blanc and I have a couple bottles of Dauvissat La Forest ( ’07 and ’10) on hand for those who will appreciate it. Both wines have a lot of purity and go down well with or without food. The La Forest has that balance and elegance I love….so I will be especially thankful to enjoy it while I endure the mother in law (wink). For a red I’m serving Sandlands Trosseau , slightly chilled at around 50 degrees, which is how I prefer it. It’s a people pleasing bottle and I’m expecting a good reception for it. Of course, if the night is going well other bottles will be pulled and shared. If it’s not going well, I will stash a bottle of red burg behind the couch and drink it privately while I watch football. ************************************************************************************************ D: Are you planning on pairing different wines/drinks with certain courses/dishes? MH: Yep! I like kicking off holidays with Champagne. We’re having Dhondt-Grellet’s Dans un Premier Temps Brut Champagne NV with crudités before dinner. For dessert, we will have Château Laribotte’s 2015 Sauternes paired with apple pie and pumpkin roll. AR: Nope, not this year, being so far from my cellar. BB: I am not capable of herding my extended family into formal food and wine pairings. I make recommendations but I’m an awful babysitter. The wines I’ve chosen are multi-dimensional and will be a good compliment to most all of the traditional dishes….and that’s why I selected them. If somebody requests something “bigger” I will make sure to have something on hand. ************************************************************************************************ D: If you were a Thanksgiving dish, what dish would you be? MH: This is tough! Definitely one of the vegetarian dishes since I don’t eat meat. I’m going to say homemade, whole berry cranberry sauce. It gets along well with the other dishes—even unites them—but stands out for its texture and sweet tang. I like to think I’m a little like that with my friends! AR: A bottle of wine! BB: I’m a yam. Enough said.

Domaine Leroy

Les Baudines Chassagne-Montrachet Chardonnay 2009

This was my WOTW (white of the week) on the San Antonio trip. I’m going to slowly post the wines from the event and this was night 1. A compelling, tension filled Chardonnay with so much obvious elegance it was jarring. Aromatics of honeysuckle and white apricot, an oily, honeyed textural treat in the mouth with flavors of fresh cut yellow pear, rainwater and beeswax. Just so damn lively throughout with oodles of balance and bright acidity. Game changer. My first Leroy white and I was so impressed. The guys in the pic made it taste just that much better. — 5 years ago

Bill, Ira and 43 others liked this


@Bill Bender @Mike R good review and looks like good times from Canada Cheers 🍷
Isaac Pirolo

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This group... 🥂


Terre Siciliane Frappato 2016

Very fresh. Blueberries, strawberries, spice, and earth. — 5 years ago

P, Sharon and 13 others liked this
Kristie M. Connor

Kristie M. Connor

Have you tried their grillo?
Meg Herring

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@Kristie M. Connor I haven’t had the chance yet. Is it good?
Kristie M. Connor

Kristie M. Connor

I haven’t had it yet, it’s on my list.

Weingut Knoll

Loibner Kreutles Smaragd Grüner Veltliner 2015

Crowd pleaser. I converted several chard drinkers to the ways of Gruner. — 5 years ago

Shay, Ron and 3 others liked this

Alban Vineyards

Patrina Alban Estate Syrah 2013

90m of air. Impenetrably dark purple. Solids are visibly falling out. Initially this had an iron and stinky mushroom nose, likely reduction; blew off after air, revealing rich bramble qualities. Palette is massive, ripe, and heavily extracted, with balanced acidity; classic central coast / Paso. Med+ tannins. Didn’t look at the abv, but you feel it. I’ve become a cold weather Syrah guy, but this is solid for what it is. — 5 years ago

Mark, Robert and 5 others liked this

Joseph Phelps Vineyards

Insignia Estate Grown Napa Valley Red Wine 2008

From Mag with bone-in NY prime. This is finally in an approachable drinking window. An hour decant gave this wings. As “Bordeaux” an Insignia I’ve had in a while. I know it’s a Bordeaux blend but it’s never really performed that way for me. Great strength here, silky lines and some legit nuance. — 5 years ago

Bill, Jody and 53 others liked this
Bill Bender

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Hahaha I see what you did there @Jody Scharf
John Van Trijp

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@Bill Bender i really really love Insignia! It is time for an Opus One vs. Insignia battle!
Bill Bender

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I’m in @John Van Trijp you really do need to get over here for a U.S. tasting visit at some point

J.L. Quinson (Jean-Louis Quinson)

Beaujolais Villages Gamay 2016

Very very basic bojo — 5 years ago

Velma, Bill and 2 others liked this


Platt Sonoma Coast Riesling 2015

I’m inexperienced with German and French Riesling, and Riesling in general, but I always love this Platt from RC. Dry style with a rich nose of minerals, citrus, rocks on the seashore, pears, green apples, and some classic petrol. The palette is juicy with clean fruit and med+ acid. Paired great with homemade street tacos. — 5 years ago

Shay, Ira and 5 others liked this

Château Mayne-Vieil

Cuvée Alienor Red Bordeaux Blend 2014

Good value for around $20. Flavors are nice: plum blueberry cocoa vanilla. It is a little hot which is holding it back. — 5 years ago

P, David and 7 others liked this

R. López de Heredia

Viña Tondonia Reserva Rioja Tempranillo Blend 1970

Stink-tastic! The fruit is still holding on and the tannins are fine and resolved. Still has that aged leather, cigar box and smoke profile. Seek this maker out. A QPR champ. — 5 years ago

Bill, Eric and 41 others liked this
Severn Goodwin

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@Bill Bender Cool contribution to the turkey day feature. We're picking up two Bourbon Red's also, second year in a row. Found a farmer just over the line from us in upstate NY that raises them. They are delicious fowl.