Thanksgiving Wines - in Tahoe and Beyond

Tahoe House on the West Shore offers “everything but the turkey” for Thanksgiving on an advance-order/take-out basis, and their wine selection to go with Thanksgiving foods is as well thought out and varied as their Thanksgiving menu.

I’d opt right away for a bottle of the Seaglass 2011 Monterey County Riesling.  This is a great wine as an aperitif, light and refreshing.  Flavor of peach and pear, with aroma of honey and fragrant flowers are what greet you in the glass, with a sweet fruitiness.  The vibrant blue bottle in which it is packaged also sets a festive mood for the feast to come.  13 percent alcohol.  $16.99 the bottle.

The 2011 California Pinot Noir from Mark West is a tasty and affordable wine for those who like red wine with turkey.   This is a delicate and juicy red wine with medium body.  Flavor and aroma of  raspberry, sweet cherry, and nutmeg spice makes this Pinot Noir a great pairing with turkey.  It is complex, fruity and silky.  13.8 percent alcohol.  $9.99 the bottle.

If some of your guests will want a white wine with your turkey, that’s a good choice too.  Reach for the 2012 Hanna Sauvignon Blanc from Russian River Valley.  Turkey, specially the basted and infused preparations so popular at Thanksgiving, will pair well with the minerality of a Sauvignon Blanc.  The color is a straw yellow, and aroma is grapefruit, tangelo, quince, mint, basil and pear.  The winemaker notes a taste of kiwi and lime zest, and, on the mid palate, more flavor of lemon, peach, honey and a touch of grassiness.  The finish is bright and clean. 13.2 percent alcohol.  $17.99 the bottle.

To end the meal with the classic pies and other goodies, I recommend two choices:  a rose or a dessert wine.  The Stags’ Leap 2011 Napa Amparo Rose, Napa Valley, is a vibrant pink that leads you to expect its aroma of raspberry and then melon.  Flavor is of wild strawberry and a touch of pomegranate, with some creaminess and a hint of caramel.  It is refreshing with a nice finish.     14.1 percent alcohol.  $23.99 the bottle.

A classic dessert wine, one of my favorites is the Cline Ancient Vine Zinfandel 2006.  It has a wonderful mouth-coating flavor of dark berries, strawberry, coffee and chocolate, with a vanilla smoothness, soft tannins and a long lingering finish.  14.5 percent alcohol.  $10.99 for a 375 ml bottle.

Oh, by the way, Tahoe House does offer the turkey too – free range Diestel turkeys have to be ordered well in advance and cooked at home.  Tahoe House Bakery & Gourmet is located at 625 W. Lake Blvd., Tahoe City.  530-583-1377.

And, if you have turkey leftovers, making a salad with cooked turkey chunks, celery, grapes and walnuts, with mayo or sour cream, is a great treat.  I suggest you pair it with an Italian Chardonnay.  Pomino Bianco 2012, from the Marchesa de’ Frescobaldi estate near Florence, is a recently-promoted Italian white wine It will, of course, accompany a Thanksgiving feast magnificently!  A few notes from the winery:  Pomino Bianco comes from one of Tuscany’s most renowned areas for the production of high-quality wine; it is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco grapes that have been at home in Pomino for many years.”  l liked its intense yellow color, and the aroma of white flowers like lily of the valley and jasmine, with apple and pear.  It is a balanced and fresh wine, with delicate minerality, and a long and lovely finish.  It was fermented primarily in stainless steel, with the riper grapes fermented in French oak.  The winemaker tells an interesting story about the exciting harvest of the Chardonnay in this wine:  without precedent … gathered during an extremely prolonged stormy period of weather that gave us a thousand and one inflections.” 12..5 percent alcohol.  $17.99 suggested retail price.  Available at

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