Voice of the Vine: Be Thankful for Guigal

This is a special season for Americans, one in which we take the time to count our blessings and be thankful for family and friends. The culmination of this good will is the Thanksgiving feast, which ranges from soup to nuts. The important message is not the food itself, but the sharing of it —…

Published November 18, 2011 6:04 PM
3 min read

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VOVthumbThis is a special season for Americans, one in which we take the time to count our blessings and be thankful for family and friends. The culmination of this good will is the Thanksgiving feast, which ranges from soup to nuts. The important message is not the food itself, but the sharing of it — quite literally — with family and friends.

 

By Lou Campoli

This is a special season for Americans, one in which we take the time to count our blessings and be thankful for family and friends. The culmination of this good will is the Thanksgiving feast, which ranges from soup to nuts. The important message is not the food itself, but the sharing of it — quite literally — with family and friends.

While you can prepare any meal you want for Thanksgiving Day, the traditional centerpiece is the turkey roasted with all kinds of trimmings. The flavors are limitless. Anything goes.

 

VOVAs with any special meal, we have to consider what complementary beverage or libation to serve. Our preference is wine. We consistently profess that you are the ultimate judge of whether or not a specific wine matches well with a specific meal. Having said that, the Thanksgiving meal, because of its multitude of flavors, brings with it many flavors to match and a host of wines from which to choose. In these columns, we have mentioned on many occasions that the first wine that comes to mind is red zinfandel, “America’s grape”.

 

But this year we are going to venture abroad, to the country that gave us our amazing Statue of Liberty — France. No one can deny that Burgundy’s reds and Alsace’s whites are fabulous and pair easily well with this meal. But one area we’d like to focus on provides wines for every taste, and at very affordable prices — the Rhône valley, specifically Côtes du Rhône. Although there are many producers of Côtes du Rhône wines, we are going to focus on one of the absolute best, E. Guigal (ghee-gal’).  

 

These wines are all made with local grapes, so many may be unfamiliar to you. Don’t let that dissuade you from trying them!

 

Côtes du Rhône Blanc ($16): This white is made mostly from viognier, blended with various proportions of roussanne, marsanne, clairette, and bourboulenc. The color is pale straw, with hints of gold. It shows amazing aromas of citrus, peaches, figs, spice, flowers and almonds. The wine is bone dry and medium-bodied, with good acidity necessary to cut through the richness of the meal and its sauces. The finish is long and fresh. This wine is best served cool, not cold, so that you can appreciate its complexity. You can serve this white all year long with seafood, shellfish, chicken, and white meat dishes.

 

Côtes du Rhône Rosé ($15): What a fabulous dry rosé. It has an amber, onionskin color. This wine is made predominantly from grenache and cinsault, with traces of mourvèdre and syrah. The fruit flavors jump from the glass – citrus, cherries, red raspberries, red currants, and pomegranate. Serve this wine cool, but not cold. In addition to the Thanksgiving meal, this rosé is wonderful with lightly sauced red and white meat dishes, poultry, ham, grilled vegetables, spicy foods and salads.

 

Côtes du Rhône Rouge ($16): The deep, dark red color of this wine prepares your mind for the burst of flavor that awaits you. This red is packed with cassis, kirsch, cherry, black raspberry flavors, with hints of violets, pepper and graphite. You will notice a touch of cocoa on the long, lingering finish. A great wine with turkey and trimmings, this red also pairs well with all grilled meats, especially lamb, and vegetables.
If you are going to try all three wines with your meal, use the white first, then the rosé, and finally the red.

Guigal produces other Rhône wines, and there are many other producers of Côtes du Rhône. Start with the ones mentioned above and, if you enjoy them, keep on tasting.

 

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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