Thanksgiving is a superior holiday. There are no silly costumes, no edible panties and no burdensome gift obligations. It’s all about eating.
But even the best-prepared meals can suffer from poor beverage choices. You may make a mean turkey or be expert at cracking a can of cranberry but, unless you happen to excel at enology, choosing the right wine can be a daunting prospect in a store packed with pretenders and cheap tricks.
I’m no cork dork myself, so I went with SFR readers’ pick and asked 2009 Best of Santa Fe winner Susan’s Fine Wine & Spirits to recommend bottles up to the task of a day-long meal with a cacophony of flavors.
The results below were compiled during an exhaustive binge, with the help of some borrowed palettes and plenty of homemade goat cheese. The SFR tasting team lists the strengths and weaknesses of each wine. We’ve provided each wine’s avian spirit animal as a means of describing personality, as well as its respective gaits (we all know wine has legs, but no one ever talks about how it walks). Each wine is wrapped up with a description—for those awkward moments when you’re forced to describe its flavor—and a suggested food pairing, guaranteed to ensure your wine cred well into next year.
2006 Los Vencejos Tempranillo ($10)
What’s strong: Smells like the perfect Argentinean peccadillo
What’s wrong: Premature flavor ejaculation, finishes like a boxer throwing a fight
If it were a bird it would be: An ostrich
Gait: A bit of a dry jiffle
Wine-ism: Tasty paper and paste with a hint of tropical decay
Drink with: Green beans and bacon
2008 Brick House Gamay Noir ($24)
What’s strong: As eager, effervescent and flavorful as teenage sex fantasies
What’s wrong: Wet as a water park full of fat kids with small bladders
If it were a bird it would be: A sulphur-crested cockatoo
Gait: A definite sashay
Wine-ism: Optimism, popcorn and seltzer with a hint of public transportation
Drink with: Herbed turkey breast and consommé (also, drink it in the kitchen while you’re cooking)
2000 Mas Cal Demoura Coteaux du Languedoc ($21)
What’s strong: Funky, fungal flavor apex that recalls a land before obsessive cleanliness
What’s wrong: Is pepper in the bargain bin near the vineyard?
If it were a bird it would be: A pterodactyl
Gait: You know those blurry “photos” of Bigfoot?
Wine-ism: Triangular, malmy and corpse-y; dirt is not your enemy
Drink with: Sautéed mushrooms and a shot of gravy
2008 Turkey Flat Rosé ($20)
What’s strong: Lineolate striations of flavor; good for polyamorous pairings
What’s wrong: Sweet enough to be saccharine; better in the daylight hours
If it were a bird it would be: A magpie
Gait: Granny on a runway
Wine-ism: A little Mae West, a little pure cane Hawaii and a twist of Plymouth Rock on a sunny day
Drink with: Cranberries, hearty genuine parmesan or leftovers
2007 Truchard Roussanne ($19)
What’s strong: Easy nose, blunt and challenging flavor that rewards exploration
What’s wrong: Too brutal to serve last, keep a mellow complement in reserve
If it were a bird it would be: A double-banded courser
Gait: Tie blowing in the wind as the match is tossed over the shoulder and lands in the fuel
Wine-ism: Solid and creamy, yet dephlogisticated—but not like you think, sicko
Drink with: Stuffing, sweet potatoes, marshmallows and tofurkey
2008 d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab ($15)
What’s strong: Like bottled sunshine
What’s wrong: Like bottled sunshine
If it were a bird it would be: A canyon swallow
Gait: Between a mall walk and a jog
Wine-ism: Claustrophobic, grassy and impetuous; good for drinking before noon
Drink with: Oysters, dessert and relatives with whom you are uncomfortable
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