So here I sit on the 11th of November thinking of my wine pairing suggestions for Thanksgiving. I swore to myself that I would not succumb to the holiday sirens that beg anyone who writes about wine to do the obligatory post about holiday food and wine pairings. But alas, I have surrendered!
Since it was the Spanish who discovered America, I thought it would be fitting to find a Spanish wine that would complement the schizophrenic culinary delight that is Thanksgiving. I knew that the wine I chose would have to stand up to not just the turkey but also the myriad of sweet and savory side dishes that accompany the “bird”.
My attention deficit thought processes took me first to Loire France, then to Rheingau Germany, then to Wachau Austria, and then finally settled on Rueda Spain. Located in the northwestern portion of Spain the Rueda D.O. produces only white wines, from the Verdejo grape. Wines labeled Verdejo from Rueda must be at least 85% Verdejo (the remaining 15% can be a blend of Viura and/or Sauvignon blanc), however most are usually 100% Verdejo. These wines are known for being dry, fruit forward and possessing a lively acidity with hints of herbaciousness. They are unaged (no oak) and meant to be drunk young, while their primary fruit and acid are at their best.
Why Verdejo from Rueda you ask? Why not, I say? It’s time to try something new, different, and exciting. Verdejo’s fresh acidity and bright fruit flavors compliment the multitude of both sweet and savory flavors that are Thanksgiving. The citrusy acid cuts the sweetness of the cranberry and other dishes, while the fruity aspect compliment the more savory aspects of the turkey and stuffing.
The two wines I tasted for this post are:
2008 Bodega Gotica Poligono Verdejo Retail: $18
The wine has a medium golden core that fades to a light lemon rim. On the nose the aromas are muted and youthful with hints of lemon curd, wet stone, melon and bell pepper. On the palate the wine is dry with medium acidity and medium plus flavors of lemon rind, melon, and dried herbs. There is a bitterness on the finish throws this wine out of balance. Alcohol was medium and well integrated. I found this wine to be average and not the best example of all Verdejo can be. PASS!
2008 Vinedos de Nieva’s Blanco Nieva Verdejo Retail: $18
Bright lemon core with a water white rim. The nose shows medium plus intense aromas of youthful green apples, ruby grapefruit, and fresh mowed grass. Flavors of grapefruit pith, green apple, peach, and some herbaciousness are supported by crisp acidity and some tongue tingling spritz. This is a balanced wine that offers the palate a nice refreshing zing while backing it up with fresh fruit flavors. I found it to be a very good quality example of Verdejo and the one that I am going to pair with my Thanksgiving feast. PAIR!
There you have it, my two cents on what to wash down your turkey with!
Happy Spanish Thanksgiving!