Jim Beauregard's Tasting Notes: For your Thanksgiving table and beyond

BY JIM BEAUREGARD November 26. 2013 3:07PM

You'll be reading this just before Thanksgiving, and if you haven't finished your wine shopping, I thought I would include a few last-minute suggestions.

Now, there are quite literally thousands of wines out there, and among those, hundreds here in the state that would fit the bill for Thanksgiving pairing. Rather than naming a specific wine, I'm going to stick to general types, by food.

Turkey is not something known for its wildly exotic and over-the-top flavors. By itself, it has its distinctive flavor, though it can hardly ever be described as overwhelming. This is an important fact in pairing because big wines would overwhelm it.

This having been said, the options are many. For white wines, one could consider unoaked Chardonnay, especially from California, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Vouvray. Any white Burgundy, for that matter, would fit the bill, as would Gewürztraminer.

Moving from white to light reds, Beaujolais and Beaujolais Nouveau would be good choices, especially for those who favor the dark meat. A lighter Pinot Noir, particularly something from California or perhaps Washington, would fit the bill. One might also consider some lighter Spanish wines like Tempranillo.

And, something I've not mentioned here before, because it is newer to the scene: some of the extraordinary Austrian wines that have found their way into New Hampshire, thanks to Crush distributors, over the past couple of years. Many of our independent wine shops carry them and they are worth seeking out.

A sparkling wine can always add a special touch, look for the dry end of the spectrum marked "Brut". If you are someone who tends toward a heavier plate with lots of gravy, a heftier wine might fit the bill for you, perhaps a Merlot or Shiraz.

And, last but not least, serious consideration should be given to some of the cranberry wines made by New Hampshire winegrowers.

So, those are some ideas for the holiday.

And speaking of the holiday, here is a winter selection from Samuel Adams that fits the bill:

Samuel Adams Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout, (ale brewed with spice – cinnamon, nutmeg, clothes and ginger), 9% ABV. Dark tan head over black beer. The nose is all spice, like the label says, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger. If you linger over it for a minute or two, they take turns coming to the fore. Medium-dry palate, medium bitterness, good acidity, and some medium tannin that coats the sides of the mouth but not the teeth, well-integrated alcohol at 9.0% abv. It possesses the rich texture of a stout with medium-plus flavor intensity of the spices I mentioned above, along with a bit of toast/roast in the background and a hint of Caramel. Definitely something to pair with Thanksgiving dessert. $5.99 to $6.99 suggested retail price.

Contact local beer and wine writer Jim Beauregard at tastingnotesnh@aol.com.


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