21 November, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009 Pairings -- 2008 Sobon Rousanne and 2006 Anglim Grenache

Amazing but true, Thanksgiving is upon us and that means it's time for another installation of Holiday Pairings with The 20DollarWineBlog.

The pairing of the traditional turkey day fare with wine is not necessarily a complicated proposition, but it's not quite as straight forward as you'd expect, either. Certainly, the wine of choice for the "day of the gobbler" is often, for many people, Pinot Noir. It's a common pick, and is one of my favorite varietals, for certain, but I'd urge you to try something different this year. For me, wine is very seasonal, and with Fall upon us, Rhone is my pick. Rhone styles evoke warm, earth tones and rich fall fruit aromas that, in my mind, are perfect compliments to rich turkey and gravy, sausage or bacon in savory stuffing and vegetables. It's not limited to pairing with savory dishes, though. These same aromas can pair well with sweet potatoes/yams, cheese dishes and other desserts. In fact, one of my favorite wines with pumpkin pie is a late harvest red rhone varietal.

Let's start with a white wine...

First is the 2008 Sobon Estate Roussanne.

Roussanne is a varietal from both the north and south regions of Rhone and is widely grown outside of France, both in Europe and in California and the new world. It's not an easy grape to grow and harvest, but rewards with it's subtle flavors and gentle structure. Winemaker Paul Sobon has done well with this 2008 vintage. It's nicely sharp on the front end ensuring it cuts thru richer foods, but is well balanced in the mid palate and has a moderate, but gentle finish. The nose of pear and minerals leads the sensory parade here and with enough acid to ensure it's not slow or lazy, yet not crisp that would lend more to hot summer days. He blends this with both Viognier and Grenache Blanc (one of my favorites!) for a bit of structure and silkiness, and accordingly, I think it does very well with most of the SuperThursday fare quite well.

2008 Sobon Estate Amador County Roussanne
Retail: $14
Grade: B+

Next is the 2006 Anglim Winery Grenache

Grenache is just a plain out delicious varietal that I think is the poster child for red Rhone wine in the fall. When done right, it just plays nicely with a very large variety of foods. It's planted in nearly all productive wine regions in the world where there are hot conditions which it needs to mature well.

Winemaker Steve Anglim puts forward a nice effort with his 2006 Grenache here. With fruit from Paso Robles, he's choosing from vineyards which are in a very warm climate, allowing the grapes to naturally ripen later and accordingly, develop mature flavor potentials, not just sugars.

The nose on this Grenache is plentiful with rich deep fruit including plums and bing cherries. It flows evenly across the mid-palate and finishes a bit peppery. Its lush, velvety mouthfeel provides a great deal of satisfaction for those who prefer the warmer, richer, dusky wines. As such, it will happily enhance the bold seasoning of the stuffing, the richness of mashed or roasted potatoes and the salty brine of the bird. It's a bit high in alcohol at 15.3%, so please take note of that if your palate works better below that concentration.

2006 Anglim Winery Paso Robles Grenache
Retail: $24
Grade: B+

So, there you have it. Thanksgiving 2009 is around the corner. Please head out to your LWS and seek out one or both of these bottles. They are both widely available. We think you'll be impressed with the pairing that each of these will provide to your Thursday spread! Enjoy the day and cherish your loved ones and friends. We each have much to be thankful for.

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