All posts by TaraCoble

Thanksgiving wine

 Thanksgiving is a special time for sharing and wine has an important role on the dinner table as well as bringing together friends and family.  When is a great conversation lubricator and food enhancer.  As a host, there are many approaches to consider regarding your choices for a bottle, but more likely bottles,  of wine for the Thanksgiving dinner table.  Some great, and somewhat easy, ways to pick a great pair for Thanksgiving dinner include sticking to the tried and true grape varietals that compliment flavors that are typically on the table, having a theme for the dinner that leads to a wine choice, and most importantly, choosing more than one wine to drink with dinner.
     Let’s start with full proof grape varietals.  For at the Thanksgiving table I stick to the tried and true wines.
Chardonnay:  Nothing pairs better with all the creaminess and richness of mash potatoes and turkey better than Chardonnay.  Try to pick one with full or partial malolactic fermentation and a little oak aging.  This makes the wine creamier and complements all the fat and butter on the table.  This is called a mirror pairing.  Chardonnay can also have great acidity to keep it from becoming overbearing.  My top pick would be a Dierberg from Santa Rita Hills, or a Paulmeyer from Napa Valley.
Pinot Noir- Many Pinot Noirs on the market are overrated and cost way too much. Granted, really not the grapes fault here.  The movie Sideways boomed the market for Pinot in the central coast and designated the Merlot market to the abyss.  Very sad news for this writer.  There are still great finds out there.  Be on the look out for for affordable wines from the Santa Rita Hills AVA, Sonoma Coast, or Willamette Valley of Oregon.  Pinot Noir is fabulous with Thanksgiving because it is just heavy enough to handle turkey’s dark meat but acidic enough to cut through much of the fat on the table. Look for a pinot that showcases some earthy and herb notes. I don’t know about you but there is always mushrooms in my stuffing.
Grenache- Starting to gain some following in the US as a stand alone wine and not just blended into a GSM. By nature, Grenache can have lots of baking spice notes and can be very fruit forward and full bodied regardless of their inherent light color.  Many Grenaches can be a perfect pair with many of the spices that are used with Thanksgiving Day cooking.  Just as a tip, look for a Grenache that comes from a cooler climate.  This will ensure that the wine has enough acidity to cut through the inherent richness of Thanksgiving dinner. I prefer Majestic Oak Vineyard Rancho Del Prado Grenache.
Bubbles- Hands down the easiest wine to pair with food. With Thanksgiving, I would stick to a CAVA or a Percecco.  Don’t overthink the choice here. Bubbles not only pair with many of the days common flavors, but they also scream out “Celebrate!” People are always in a better mood when there is sparkling wine on the table.  
     Another trick that I love to do is having two wine glasses on the table during dinner.  One for a white and the other for your red so you can match your wine to each bite. Sounds a little strange but it works. Had my friends try this last year for our “Friendsgiving” and it was a hit.  This not only takes a little of the pairing pressure off, but it is also fun to play with the many pairing combinations and possibilities.
        Lastly, having a theme really helps guests get excited and gives them a task into looking for a wine, not just bringing some off the shelf store wine.    Let’s be honest, it’s going to take more than a couple bottles to keep the party going, the conversations flowing, and cope with all the shenanigans that go with having the whole family at one table.  Giving everybody the responsibility of choosing a bottle to revolve around a theme kills multiple birds with one stone.  There is more conversation lubrication, everybody gets a chance to talk about there wine and why they chose it, and the theme twiddles down the choices which takes the pressure off.  

Can you unlock the mystery of your favorite wines?

So recently Andrew and I went on a road trip to pick up a new car and on the way home I realized that I had downloaded the first four episodes of Serial, but hadn’t had a chance to get into it yet.TWL Tara in the new car

The new car is equipped with Bluetooth and all that fun stuff and the long drive home was a great chance to start listening to the podcast. But once we got home, we both ended up so busy that we hadn’t been able to finish all 12 episodes.

Well, last night we opened up a fantastic bottle of wine and decided to binge-listen to Serial. (We only got through Episodes 5-9, so DO NOT tell me the ending!) Continue reading Can you unlock the mystery of your favorite wines?

What do you think I do?

So I decided to ask a few of my friends that simple question: What do I do for living?

I was actually surprised of some of the responses. While some of haven’t responded at all (yet), others responded immediately. And some people I expected NOT to respond did. I guess you never know…

TWL Wine Blogging Meme

I was extremely surprised by the responses. I was looking for some kind of smart-ass answer like “you get people drunk” or “you drink wine” or “you’re always drunk” — something along those lines. We’ve all seen those pictures ‘What my friends think I do…;’ ‘What my parents think I do…;’ ‘What society thinks I do…;’ ‘What I think I do…’ That was the gist of this blog post and I thought it was going to be to be funny and witty, but actually I ended up receiving a little gift. Continue reading What do you think I do?

Tasting Notes: Revelation Chardonnay 2012

TWL Revelation Chardonnay front label uprightEver had one of those socially awkward dates? You know the kind: You try every conversation starter you can think of and he gives you flat, one-word answers.

That’s what this wine was like for me.

I was really excited to find such an affordable (about six bucks) imported French wine. After all, the French invented great wine, right? Continue reading Tasting Notes: Revelation Chardonnay 2012

Tasting Notes: 2011 Presidio Estate Viognier

2011 Presidio Viognier

The Presidio Viognier has a nice golden color due to aging in natural French oak barrels for 10 months. The outer ring has a very nice clear yellow color to it.

The ‘Nose’ [which is a tasting term that describes the kinds of smells a wine has] include green apple and plum skins, Juniper berry, honeysuckle, bananas flambé, and toffee. Continue reading Tasting Notes: 2011 Presidio Estate Viognier