A FOOD-loving holiday, there’s no doubting the whole of the US will be celebrating Thanksgiving with its usual fervour.
Star-spangled feasts will be planned around the hoopla of the Super Bowl and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the fourth Thursday of November, so why not raise a glass to the foodie party across the pond (which seems to be finding a place in our calendar too) and uncork some Californian wines that chime with the occasion?
Originally a feast to celebrate the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest, it’s similar to our traditional turkey dinner with sweet potatoes replacing roast spuds, and pumpkin recipes served before or after.
To complement homemade pumpkin soup with a dollop of sour cream, serve an off-dry rose such as Big Top White Zinfandel Rose 2011 (£7.99, www.virginwines.co.uk). A pretty salmon colour, the fresh, juicy flavours complement the sweet, earthy taste of pumpkin. And the appealing circus act on the label will bring some visual delight to the table.
The late Robert Mondavi was a global ambassador for Californian wines and while his iconic Oakville winery still signals top-notch wines (it changed hands in 2004), his Woodbridge winery produces quality wines at affordable prices. To complement Thanksgiving appetisers such as smoked trout pate, cheese dips and deviled eggs, try Robert Mondavi Woodbridge Chardonnay 2010, (£8.49, Waitrose). It’s crisp enough to cope with rich hors d’oeuvres, and the tropical fruit flavours with a hint of vanilla and some oaky spice will help perk up the palate before the main event.
Trefethen Family Vineyards produces a well-balanced chardonnay which foodies have been appreciating for years thanks to its restrained style. Try Trefethen Family Vineyards Chardonnay, 2009, Napa Valley (£18.99, www.laithwaites.co.uk), which is delicious on its own, with creamy seafood, and turkey or chicken with roasted vegetables. Green apple, pear drops and stone fruit flavours mingle together without the excessive use of oak, and limey aromas on the sustained finish give it lasting appeal.
But if you’re pushing the boat out and want to add extra razzle dazzle to a lobster dinner, Hanzell Chardonnay 2009, Sonoma Valley (£41.83, www.goedhuis.com) comes highly recommended. Not a particularly fragrant wine, the winemaker’s held the reins back on the bouquet and kept it all for the pleasure of the mouthfeel. Elegant and silky with ripe pear, honeydew melon, a hint of hazelnut and a mineral element which gathers speed on the lingering finish, it veers on a Burgundian style with a mild French accent.
’Giving thanks’ and piling the plate with glazed roast turkey, gravy and sweet potato mash calls for hearty reds to match the weight of the dish.
A trusted label in American households, Beringer Vineyards produces consistently good wines at fair prices. For a soft and gentle cabernet sauvignon, try Beringer Classic Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (£8.98, Asda). It has lush blackberry and cherry fruit flavours wrapped in a blanket of sweet vanilla and oak spice with smooth tannins.