2013 Thanksgiving Postmortem

29 Nov

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

For me, after countless emails, phone calls, and being stopped in person by friends, co-workers, family, readers and fans about what wine they should serve or bring on Thanksgiving, it is a pleasure to step back and look at empty bottles after the big meal.

A question I often leave unanswered, is “What wine did _YOU_ serve this year?” Because I tend to serve four or more types of wine. Well, this isn’t a year of crazy stories, such as the year I had an entire case of pricey, vintage Blanc de Lynch Bages that had either corked or cooked. (In retrospect, I wish that I had video of my expression as I opened, tasted, and tossed bottle after bottle in total disbelief.) No such luck this year, thank goodness.

With only seven wine drinkers at my table this year I had less pressure on quantity  -a problem I have sometimes experienced- but I didn’t know the entire planned menu until the actual day. So I had made some preparation in advance but no final decisions until about an hour before it was time to sit down. While I passed over some pricier choices from my cellar, this year’s final choices landed mostly in the $11-16 range, with one bottle (marked with an *) at $20, and one bottle (marked with an $) in the low $30’s.  Links on the name are to the manufacturer’s site when available, or other resources when not.

My 2013 Thanksgiving Dinner Wine Servings:

Domaine de Vaufuget Vouvray 2011, Loire, France. The chenin blanc used for this Vouvray has a nice balance of fruit and acidity. It is gentle with a hint of sweetness that is perfect for wine drinkers with less complicated palates who want something they can simply enjoy that will also beautifully complement the entire meal.

Heinz Eilfel Spatlese Riesling 2011, Mosel, Germany. The doctor (who normally only drinks bold reds) fell madly in love with this wonderfully balanced gem that offers depth of minerality with gentle fruit, some sweetness up front, some salinity on the back palate, and a longer finish than most whites. Three non-drinkers tasted this but preferred the Vouvray this year, while the serious wine lovers at the table adored this one.

Modus Operandi Vicarious Rose 2011*, Napa, California. The older generation at dinner surprised themselves and preferred this rosé over other wines tasted. Overheard: “I usually don’t like rosé, but this is amazing”. This is a very well-made wine with great character and depth of flavor that pulls together the savory and sweet with nice acidity and no aftertaste, leaving the palate clean and fresh like a white wine but pairing on the palate like a red. The best of both worlds, perhaps, and a regular in my stable for Thanksgiving. Only four barrels were made in 2011, but my secret weapon, and it always delivers.

Jean-Foillard Côte du Py Morgon 2011$, Beaujolais, France. Gamay at its finest, a lovely beaujolais that ages with finesse and grace. Bright, vibrant fruit with shining acidity that is the alcoholic equivalent to a fabulous homemade cranberry sauce: fruity and tart, acidic and clear, defining the savory dishes and integrating all the elements. Only the oenephiles at the table ooh’d about this wine that sold out after I tried to get more from the NYC wine store where I’d found it. Hard to find and a pain to remove the wax cap, but oh such a perfect expression of the grape.

Château Canteloup, Premières Côte de Blaye 2000, Bordeaux, France. Aged to perfection, this wine was the answer to dark meat, mushroom gravy, and the elderly Bordeaux snob. The nose is musty, the mouthfeel is velvety, the fruit is subdued, the tannins are retrospective. The wine is smooth and classically styled.

Bogle Vineyards Phantom 2010, Clarksburg, California was the big bold wine I held in reserve for this year’s meal. One specific guest did not make the table this year and this wine was perfect for him; several people tasted it today and remarked at the massive fruit flavors of this old vine zinfandel/petite sirah/old vine morvedre  blend with powerful tannin on the finish, but it was passed by this group for lighter or delicate options. Resealed with a vacuum pump, I look forward to a better pairing for a meal soon to be devoured!

I’d love to know what wines you served this year. Feel free to leave a response to this post, drop me an email at jvbuncorked@gmail.com, or via twitter,  @jvbuncorked.

à votre santé!


One Response to “2013 Thanksgiving Postmortem”


  1. That Time of Year: 2014 Thanksgiving Postmortem | jvb uncorked - November 29, 2014

    […] would my four wines be thus year? Last year I had six wines, (one held in reserve for a guest who didn’t make the meal after all) but […]


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