Pointers, tips, and suggestions for sparkling wine for the New Year’s holiday will be posted here on Friday. And, in keeping, with the spirit of the celebration, there are quite a few on the list that cost more than $10.
Also, I’m going to teach the introduction to wine class at the new Cordon Bleu school in Dallas. I start Jan. 7, and I’m quite looking forward to it. I’ll post updates as the three-week class progresses. I’m especially curious to see what cooking students know about wine. And no, I don’t have to wear a chef’s outfit.
? For whites, consider Alsace. These wines — mostly pinot gris, riesling and gew rztraminer — are versatile, pairing with fish and chicken as well as lighter meat like pork. They aren’t the value they were a year or 18 months ago, thanks to the weak dollar, but they’re still fairly priced. Try Willm Gew rztraminer Reserve 2006 ($18), which is a touch sweet with apricot fruitiness on the front and had Alsace minerality in the back.
? Spanish reds. Regular visitors to this space know how much the Wine Curmudgeon likes Rioja, where you can still buy top-level wine for $30 or less. Look for Montecillo reservas ($15) or gran reservas ($25-$30), made by one of the true originals in the wine business, Maria Martinez Sierra. The classic pairing is game, but it also works with beef and cheese.
? Sparkling. Lindauer Brut NV ($11) is New Zealand’s best-selling bubbly, which is just another example of the country’s wine acumen. It ?s softer than a French champagne, though still not sweet. Why this wine isn’t more easily available baffles me.
Actually, pairing wine with Thanksgiving dinner is a thankless task. There is sweet food, sweet and sour food, rich food, poultry, and whatever happens to be a tradition at that particular table.
So drink what you like. It will probably match something.
? Pinot noir is the traditional wine, since it’s turkey-friendly. Mark West California 2006 ($15) is one of the few value pinots around, and it’s a pretty respectable effort. It’s fruity, but not overly so, with a touch of what wine types like to call rusticity. If you want to spend more, consider Orogeny Pinot Noir Green Valley 2005 ($30), full of red fruit and very easy to drink.
? Chardonnay, since it goes with almost anything. $8 will get you Baron Philippe de Rothschild Chardonnay 2006, which offers a fair amount of value. It’s not white Burgundy or Napa, but it’s more than sufficient. Even more value at $20 is the bright, crisp and green apple-y Maison Verget Macon-Villages 2005. It’s unoaked, which means it’s lighter than its California cousins.