Charming the ladies...
Hit the weekly wine-tasting last Saturday at Calvert-Woodley (DC) to help plan my Thanksgiving wine-buying, and, luckily, Steve Rowland from Pasternack Wine Imports was in charge. He was working hard, in fact, to explain Gewürztraminer to a group of bewildered punters, who had wandered in for a free sniff. He had gotten everyone going with a sparkling Rosé-a fizzy and ripe strawberry-tasting treat from Alsace, France winery Lucien Albrecht. The winery, established in 1425, makes this crémant (French non-champagne sparkling wine) from Pinot Noir grapes. (They also have a blanc be blancs made from 100% Pinot Blanc). This bottle, at around $17, is a great celebration wine, and a real value, especially when compared to Champagne. Albrecht pioneered the special designation for crémant wines, which are made using the exact same methods as Champagne (méthode champenoise).
This was followed by the Gewürztraminer Réserve, which has a spicy, smoky, and slightly off-dry, easy-going taste, making it perfect for a long holiday meal with many different (and usually rich) dishes. I would glady start the evening (or afternoon), with the sparkler, and head into the meal with the Gewürz (pronounced Guh-VIRTZ). At about $16 a bottle (both wines are currently on sale at CW in DC, and may be available at your local wine stores), this is a nice mid-level entry for a special holiday meal. And the sparkler is even good enough for New Year's, when people tend to overspend on wine that, in the end, doesn't seem so special for the price.
But back to Thanksgiving. I'm really excited to cook the two different kinds of blood pudding I am making for the family (more on that another time), and can't wait to open that first bottle of sparkling Rosé at about, oh, 11AM. Thanksgiving, remember, is a long day, especially for the cooks, so drink early, drink often. And don't forget to take a nap before the Jets game at 8:20-I would recommend a long snooze during the Dallas game-you don't want to peak too soon. Have a great holiday, turkeys.
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