I first posted this article 2 years ago, and the styles of wines that I described then, still hold for your turkey or ham Thanksgiving dinner this year. The wine vintages from the wineries below will have changed, but these are all quality wines from quality wineries here in BC, and you should feel comfortable purchasing them at your local wine shop.
My latest reviews for two of these BC wineries:
Back to work after summer holidays, the Fall can get very busy with work and family. Thanksgiving comes knocking on the door before you know it here in Canada. Some of you may be off to the Okanagan to enjoy their Fall Wine Festival, which is ongoing as I write this article. Pick up a few bottles from the great wineries there to help you celebrate Thanksgiving. Let’s look at a few red and white wines that you may want to have with your roast turkey or ham this year.
Wine Pairings for Roast Turkey
Roast turkey can be quite rich in flavour, plus gravy adding extra flavour. You need a wine that can stand up on it’s own and complement the roasted flavours. A lightly oaked Chardonnay is one choice, an aromatic Pinot Gris, or if you prefer red, a juicy Merlot, a Gamay Noir or Pinot Noir (see my Ham pairing wines). A few that I’ve tasted over the past year:
- Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Chardonnay 2009 ($25). Light pear skin colour. Nice vanilla, pear and tropical fruit nose. Medium plus body, round, with vanilla tropical fruit and sweet spices. Medium acidity. It is nicely composed, not too overdone with the oak.
- Gray Monk Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2011 ($16.99). Pale straw colour. Nice light peach and honeysuckle nose. Medium body, medium acidity, off-dry with ripe stone fruit and apple flavours. Very tasty.
- Spierhead Winery Chardonnay 2010 ($21.90). Pale lemon colour with a light citrus and vanilla nose. Light body with tropical fruit and sweet spice (cinnamon) showing up mid palate. Dry with a medium length.
Perseus Pinot Gris 2012 ($16.90) – Medium lemon in colour. It has a youthful aroma with citrus and pear fruits, as well as some vanilla and lees. The wine is dry with medium plus body and has a round mouth feel. It does have medium plus acidity that manifests as an acidic prickle on your tongue. Lots of tropical fruit, in particular, banana and pineapple, together with green melon and citrus fruit flavours. I also picked up more vanilla and lees. It has a spicy mid palate that continues to the finish. The higher acidity leaves you with a mouth-watering finish. This is a good wine, and with the screw top, means to be enjoyed now.
- Spierhead Pinot Gris 2013 (BC $19.90). Pale to medium lemon with a tint of green in the glass. On the nose I picked up Granny Smith and Red Delicious apples, together with melons and a hint of vanilla. With some airing, lemon and grapefuit aromas also became apparent. It’s dry with medium plus acidity, with an acidic prickle that dances on your tongue. Medium plus body, round mouth feel, some creamy lees, a hint of honey, and stone fruits, pears, lemons and Red Delicious apple flavours. Again with a bit of air, I also picked up lychee. Quite a mouthful of flavours. Mouth watering finish. This wine really tastes like fresh fruit to me. A very nice example of BC Pinot Gris.
- Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Merlot 2009 ($30). Light transparent garnet in the glass. Bright ripe cherry nose. Light body, dry with ripe cherries and vanilla flavours. Sweet cherry finish.
Wine Pairings for Roast Ham
Roast ham is also quite full flavoured. It has some sweetness to it, and can have other flavours such as some smokiness, depending on how it’s prepared. Riesling is a nice pairing with ham; think Alsatian food. I think a Cabernet Franc, Gamay or Pinot Noir would also be nice with ham.
- Fairview Cellars The Bear 2009 ($34.90). This is a Bordeaux blend using 5 red varieties (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec). Medium translucent garnet. Light dark fruit nose. Full body, with ripe black fruit and ripe red cherries. The oak is integrated very well in this wine. Dry, with soft mouth-feel. Very good.
- Mt. Boucherie Family Reserve Gamay Noir 2012 (~$20) Translucent medium garnet in the glass. Ripe cassis with some earthiness/smokiness, along with black currant, raspberries, and other black fruits. After an hour, I was getting more red cherry aroma. This wine is dry with medium body, tannins and acidity. There is a smokiness that you first get, but then that dissipates fairly quickly. The tannins are quite fine. On the palate, I picked up ripe raspberries, red plums, blackberries, and black currants. After an hour of decanting, there was also some black currant leaf, and dark chocolate. The acidity, although not too strong, makes the fruit flavours more intense. My only regret is that this wine finishes a bit too quickly.
Bartier Scholefield Red 2011. A blend of mostly Merlot, with lesser amounts of Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Gamay Noir. This wine was noticeably dark to opaque ruby in the glass. Lots of sweet, purple fruit aromas, along with raspberries, plums, vanilla and a hint of chocolate. Quite enjoyable to nose. Wow, lots of layers of juicy fruits on the palate. Ripe raspberries, red cherries, red and black fruit, and plums. I also picked up vanilla, sweet spices, and milk chocolate flavours. This wine has medium body and is soft and silky, coating your mouth. The juicy fruit flavours were dragging my tastebuds all over the place. The tannins were not too strong, but there was enough to support the fruit. An outstanding wine expressing an exuberance of youth in my opinion.
- Summerhill Pyramid Winery Pinot Noir 2011. It has a medium intensity aroma, very concentrated upon first opening, with aromas of black fruit, dried fruit, raspberry, red cherry, red currants, and hints of perfume and cinnamon. On Day 2, the aromas were maybe more intense. I was now getting sour cherries, raspberries, vanilla, tobacco, and chocolate on the nose. A dry wine, with medium acidity, tannins, alcohol and body. Upon initial tasting the wine had a very light mouth feel and felt thin, but after decanting, the wine became rounder and felt fuller. On the palate you get tea leaves, violets, red fruits, and hints of raspberries, cinnamon and roses initially. With decanting red cherries, chocolate and vanilla flavours were also evident. This wine finished quite dry and astringent on initial tasting with medium length, but again with decanting, the astringency decreased giving you a nicer finish. On Day 2, I was also pleasantly surprised with violets on the finish. If you want to get the best from this wine, decant it please, but more than just a few hours. You may want to open this wine the night before you go to bed, to have it in great form for your dinner the next day.
I wish you many happy Thanksgiving with your family, now and in the future.