PROVENCE WINEZINE PICKS WINES FOR THANKSGIVING 2017

by PWZ Contributors

So you want to add a little French flair to this quintessentially American meal?  But a wave of anxiety engulfed you when you remembered that seven years ago, UNESCO deemed French gastronomy to be “a world intangible heritage.”

The French just know how to do it.  They invented the art of the table.  How to set the table, how to arrange the place setting (because every plate, glass, and piece of silverware has its own place on a French table), and where in the world does one park that napkin? (Never in the shape of a turkey peering up at the guest.)  Then, there’s their renowned cuisine and legendary wines and—mon dieu—the task of pairing the food and wine. It’s enough to make one reach for a Xanax before the meal even starts.  But, don’t. Provence WineZine can help…at least in the wine department. (You’re on your own with the correct placement of gramma’s set of antique butter picks.)

This year, each contributor to Provence WineZine offers his or her suggestions for wines that will marry well with your Thanksgiving feast and add a touch of France to the menu.  Not surprisingly, most of the wines hail from the Provence and Rhône Valley wine regions.  (This is Provence WineZine!)  Short of a Butterball Turkey Talk-Line for French wine pairing on Thanksgiving, this article is your best alternative. Breathe, and forge ahead.

You may wonder why one would want to add a dash of French flair to the annual all-American meal.  After all, you may say, the Pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock—who allegedly had the first Thanksgiving meal in the New World in 1621—were English, not French.  Oui?

Actually, it appears that the French may well have been the first to reach the New World. (This is not Fake News, I assure you.) Known as Huguenots, these French pilgrims settled just south of Saint Augustine, Florida and, like the English who crossed the Atlantic some 50 years later, this group of Protestants also fled the religious wars that ravaged much of Europe. Sadly, they were slaughtered by Spanish troops in 1565. Perhaps there is good reason to tip our Pilgrim hats to the French, and what a conversation starter!

Other fodder for conversation at Thanksgiving—and another nudge to include a little French wine at the table—centers on our third U.S. President:  Thomas Jefferson (1801 – 1809) who was also the first U.S. Ambassador to France (1784 to 1789).  There, he was completely captivated by France—its art, its architecture, its gardens and, mais oui, its food and wine. A wine aficionado before his five years in Paris, he honed his palate while in France with his visits to Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône, and Provence. Jefferson amassed an impressive collection of age-worthy French wines. He returned home the same year George Washington proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday.  I wonder if he had any French wines on his Thanksgiving table.

If you are lucky enough to have spent some time in France, you’ll understand why it always warms a Francophile’s heart to find a little French infusion at the table–even if the table is set for the most American holiday of the year.

Read on for our wine recommendations!  À votre Santé!

Pamela O’Neill

Pulling off Thanksgiving is always a daunting endeavour.  But this year’s PWZ challenge to select Provence wines to accompany that oh-so-American meal has me in a tizzy.  Though dutifully thankful to be ensconced in Provence, I am spoiled for choice, unbound by availability, sans excuse for blunders.

Nevermind.  Let’s do this.

When my all-too-Provence-wine-knowledgeable guests arrive, I will beguile them with a flute of festive fizz.  I’m going with Sparkling de Léoube, barely rose rosé from the vineyards of Château Léoube, resting on the Mediterranean shores of Bormes-les-Mimosas.  With a predominance of Cabernet Franc, its fresh white fruitiness and hint of minerality make it lively company for an assortment of canapés.

The first course, a pumpkin and orange soup with fresh herbs and saffron, will go swimmingly with Château Montaud’s Le Chevalier de Rascasse Rosé. Named for the scorpion fish (sometimes called turkey fish, hah!), a requisite ingredient in traditional bouillabaisse, this single varietal IGP Maures is 100% Tibouren, an ancestral cépage essentially limited to the Var region of Provence.  With an aroma of dried apricots, it is fresh yet complex with hints of orange rind, allspice, and nuts with a long, slightly salty finish.

Next up is a Viognier.  Typically associated with the little appellation of Condrieu in the Northern Rhone, my selection hails from just up the road in Fox Amphoux.  Bomont De Cormeil’s Viognier is an IGP Coteaux du Verdon.  Partially fermented in French oak, it’s wonderfully aromatic and tastes of stone fruit and caramel, ending on a zesty citrus note.  I’m thinking a match made in heaven with a grilled pear, Roquefort, and bourbon-glazed pecan salad. 

Now to the main event.  The turkey and fixin’s will be replete with fresh woody herbs, wild mushrooms, garlic and onions, and enough butter to choke a horse.  So I’m going toward big with Mas Negrel Cadenet Rouge from Mas de Cadenet in Trets-en-Provence.  Selected from the domain’s oldest vines, it blends equal amounts of Grenache and Syrah with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Its fruity, spicy, rich flavor can stand up to anything a Thanksgiving fiesta can dish out, with enough light tannins and acidity to complement the most decadent butterball side dish.

It’s hard to imagine a cheese course after all that stuffing, so we’ll head right to a traditional finale of pumpkin, apple (o.k. maybe cheddar), and pecan pies partnered with Le Thoronet vineyard Sainte Croix La Manuelle’s Muscat, which is a relatively light sweet wine with notes of honeysuckle, orange, and nutmeg.  Round and smooth, it finishes with a dash of tart apple. 

Happy Provence Thanksgiving!

David Scott Allen

As a fan of “big whites” (POTUS not one of them), my perfect wine for the day would be the Domaine Chante Cigale white Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Hands down. To bring in a red, which many prefer, I suggest the Louis Latour Domaine de Valmoissine Pinot noir. And there is nothing that would finish a meal better than a glass of the Domaines Ott Vieux Marc Rosé. It would be perfect with apple or pumpkin pie.

Elizabeth Gabay, MW

Not being much of a meat eater, I find it easier to think up wines to go with a vegetarian meal full of autumn flavours. Planning rosés to match with a meal allows me to think up some unusual wines to accompany distinctive flavours.Festive occasions for me are always a great excuse to start with fancy nibbles which can be munched on with a sparkling wine to set the mood. I particularly like little round slices of toasted baguette with tapenade, the traditional Provencal olive paté. Its salty almost bitter taste is a great palate cleanser with a sparkling rosé – maybe decorated with a few festive cranberries. As a recent convert to beetroot, one of my favourite starters is beetroot with feta cheese. The sweet earthy richness matched with the salty cheese is a match made in heaven with Cabernet Sauvignon based rosés from Slovakia, such as Velkeer’s Tri Ruze, with their touch of residual sugar, fresh black fruit and green, leafy acidity.

Moving onto the main course, roast vegetables for me are the key flavour whether roasted pumpkin, sweet potato, onions, potato and any other vegetables. For me, the key here is that caramelised flavour these roasted vegetables take on. This is when a rosé with a bit of age can really star. Looking for a high-quality Provence rosé with more than three years of age may seem a strange recommendation, but with some age, these rosés start to take on subtle hints of dried fruit and even a hint of orange peel which, combined with still fresh acidity, are perfect with a rich meal. Tavel wine such as those of Mordorée, Maby or d’Aquéria or a Bandol rosé such as Tempier, Pibarnon or Bastide Blanche are probably the most easily available aged rosés.

Blue cheese with bowls of nuts always screams out port to me – and luckily pink port is also available, try Croft’s. Less tannic and heavy than red port, the wine has plenty of sweet rich fruit. In Provence, vin cuit (a wine cooked and reduced to a tawny port-like intensity) is the traditional Christmas drink to have with dried fruit and nuts. Alternatively, a selection of hard, cheddar like cheese with their salty tangy acidity, can fight a bit with port so I would choose a rosé with long fresh mineral acidity, especially those from the coastal region around La Londe, whose wines have fresh a saline minerality: Domaines Léoube, Ste Marguerite or St André de Figuiere.

For dessert – well, no choice, a deliciously sweet Cabernet d’Anjou is a delight such as those of Domaine de la Petit Roche or Château Passavant. Ranging from off-dry to honeyed richness, these wines come from the same hills as the unctuous white Bonnezeaux and Coteaux de Layon in the Loire Valley. Their perfumed richness make them perfect with fruit and cream desserts.

Jill Barth

Pierre Amadieu Le Pas De L’Aigle AOC Gigondas Rouge – Made from old vine Grenache and Syrah, this is a big, fresh bottle. This wine is sleek and silky with balanced fruit and pepper. Gigondas is a true crowd pleaser, a treat I love to share with family and friends. Perfect for mushroom dishes and long-roasted meats.

Domaine Dalmeran Château Dalmeran Red – Wines from Les Baux-de-Provence AOP blend the Provence atmosphere with the robust flavors of the Southern Rhône. This Grenache, Syrah and Cabernet-Sauvignon blend ages in oak for 24 months then rests in the bottle for five years before release. A balanced blend that will suit rich sauces and seasonings.

Domaine de Fenouillet Muscat de Beaumes de Venise – I think every great gathering should have a Vin Doux Naturel, a classic product native to southern France. This wine is a certified organic and full of ripe fruit flavor with a long succulent finish. Sip after the meal instead of a heavy dessert, a true treasure for the holidays!

 

Jerry Clark

As I am the American half of a Franco/American marriage, and have throughout my life avoided culinary development in favor of wine appreciation, I leave the menu ideas and its preparation to my wife, who happily has the French food DNA in abundance. Thus I must open with the revelation that we do not celebrate Thanksgiving with its traditional food fare. No turkey that day, unless we are invited home by friends to share in their bounty. That fowl is just not much appreciated over there, and you are as likely to see it on a restaurant menu as Welsh rarebit. In that rare instance when we do get an invite I announce up front that we will bring the wine. That part I enjoy, as it gives me a chance to showcase what wines I think will match up well. When we arrive our tote-bag opens to reveal the following:

Champagne – One of the souvenirs I treasure from our time living in France was that dinner parties opened with a glass of Champagne, and the evening often ended back with Champagne. 

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc – I think this pairs very well with Turkey, plus often there is someone in the party that will not drink any reds. A great many casual American wine drinkers are unfamiliar with this area’s very pleasing white wine, which can give an added surprise to the dinner.

Cairanne – Turkey day is notable, thus the accompanying wines should be as well. It would be easy to pair up the white Châteauneuf-du-Pape suggested above with a neighboring red. They are far more plentiful than the whites, thus readily available in any self -respecting wine shop. But I would prefer to choose a Grenache from a bit further north, in Cairanne. In doing so I would pour the best, anything put forth by Marcel Richaud. Louis Dressner brings it into the U.S., and if having trouble locating any I would contact them in New York to know where to get your hands on some.

Vouvray Demi-Sec – California largely gave up on Chenin Blanc many years ago after mostly lackluster results. I discovered it again while in France, and happily the Loire continues to do it right, meaning an exceptional acid balance. Made dry, off dry (demi-sec) and sweet, with even some pleasant bubbly thrown in, I point out that the demi-sec from a top producer, such as Philippe Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Demi-Sec, can be placed along side the turkey or with the pumpkin pie. Even more fun is to present an older vintage, as the demi-sec, in some cases, can age as well as the sweet (moelleux).

This year we are invited to dinner in Rockford, Illinois. Our hosts profile is Italo/American, with a strong Neapolitan accent. At the moment I am considering arriving with a rather unique selection of Campanian white and red wines drawn from my cave. That should raise a few eyebrows and get some discussion going, as our host reputedly has an excellent cellar.

William “Towny” Manfull

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year.  The family is together, special friends are invited and, if you love to cook, it is as close as one gets to being an Iron Chef for a couple of days!   There is also something special about celebrating Thanksgiving in New England…where it all started.  The trees are bare and the air is crisp; sometimes it snows.   Hmmm…maybe it’s time for a mental trip to Provence  to warm up a bit!  Yeah, I’m thinking Cassis, a charming seaside village  just east of Marseille! 

To transport us back to the Côte d’Azur, I selected a crisp, minerally white wine from Cassis produced by Domaine du Paternel, their Blanc de Blancs cuvée.  Bring the glass to your nose and you will be awash in aromas of sea spray.  The palate offers layers of salinity, garrigue, honey, and citrus.   Delicious! The finish is clean with a very pleasant minerality that is typical of Cassis whites. The grape varieties from the Cassis AOC feature a primary blend of Clairette and Marsanne with support in blending from Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc, Pascal, Sauvignon Blanc, and/or Terret Blanc . The bad news…unless you are in Cassis this week, your chances of finding a bottle of Domaine du Paternel are pretty slim as nearly all production is consumed in Cassis and finer restaurants around France.  The good news, however, is that Rosenthal imports an equally enjoyable white from Cassis from Domaine du Bagnol.  We often serve raw oysters to start to our Thanksgiving meal and the Cassis white is a perfect way to launch the feast!

Our main course for Thanksgiving is usually the traditional roasted turkey with a combination of sweet and savory side dishes such as  a praline-topped sweet potato casserole, a sausage, chestnut and cornbread stuffing and, our perennial favorite, Gramma Vickar’s Cranberry relish with orange peel.  While the “safe bet” for Thanksgiving may be to pair a light red such as a Pinot noir or Beaujolais with the turkey, I am a believer that bolder side dishes can support bolder wines!  To hedge my bets, I will propose lighter reds for a light menu and a bolder red if your menu includes more robust recipes.   

My pick for a lighter red is actually a darker pink!  How about a Tavel?  The Tavel rosés have enough fruit and body to compete with mildly assertive side dishes and have enough acidity to freshen the palate between the wide varieties of flavors on the plate.  I also find that many Tavels have a savory quality that make them a good pairing with sage stuffing and the roasted root vegetables that are commonly served.  For producers, I like the Château de Ségriès or the Domaine de la Mordorée (La Reine des Bois cuvée if you can find it)Both wines are available in the U.S. and would be excellent choices for your special meal.  If you are following an organic theme for your dinner, a bottle of Domaine de l’Anglore Tavel will play well with the bird and supporting characters as well as be an interesting conversation starter about the merits of “natural” wine.

My “unicorn” pick for Thanksgiving dinner is Château Léoube Collector, a Cabernet Franc based red wine from Côtes de Provence.  Why is it a “unicorn”? Cabernet Franc is not a common grape variety in Provence and the production is so small that it is hard to find outside of the winery itself.  The Collector is a medium body red with wonderful fruit, finesse, and freshness that would impeccably accompany a wide variety of dishes.  Make sure you give ample time for the Collector to breath before the meal! (This is an organic wine.)

The “bold” red picks  hail from the Rhône.  A Vacqueyras or Gigondas is a nice alternative to a pricey Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  The Fruits Sauvages cuvée from Le Clos du Caveau is a lovely medium body red that would marry nicely with most dishes on the Thanksgiving table and is anaturalwine to boot!  The Domaine de Marcoux Côtes du Rhone is a one of the go-to reds in our household.  It is so beautifully structured, with just the right amount of tannins, that it will easily hold its own with this special meal.

For dessert, a Muscat de Beaumes de Venise is an excellent ending to the meal.  It has finesse and a lightness of body with just enough sweetness to complement a dessert rather than competing with it.  This is an underappreciated dessert wine from southern Rhône and will please wine experts and neophytes equally.  Several producers to look for are Paul Jaboulet Aine (Le Chant des Griolles cuvée), J. Vidal-Fleury, and Domaine des Bernardins.

Bon Appétit!

Pierre Schott

{C’EST ENCORE LOIN, L’AMÉRIQUE ?!}

Thanks for Thanksgiving!

Rendre grâce…

Voilà ce que j’appelle une bonne vielle tradition.  Une de celle qui parle à l’âme, en même temps qu’au ventre et au palais!…Que serait notre vieux monde sans la convivialité – oh oui, je vous le demande ?! Un monde tristounet où chacun resterait dans son coin, à ruminer l’égoïsme de sa vie …

MAIS QU’EST-CE QU’ON PEUT BIEN BOIRE AVEC TOUT ÇA?!

Il y a la sacro-sainte dinde, bien sûr, qui, en temps normal, appellerait un vin dentelle, mais c’est qu’elle est fourrée, la bébête : marrons et autres joyeusetés! Alors ? … Et puis, elle est diversement accompagnée: purée de patates douces, haricots verts en daube, gelée de canneberges* – et que sais-je encore ! Alors ? … Et l’on finira avec des tartes: aux pommes, au potiron, à la noix de pécan ! Alors ? … Et puis l’apéro – on a failli oublier l’apéro, cong.’ .’ …Ben … on va y réfléchir sérieusement, mes bons compagnons de ripailles ! …

A l’apéro – pour se mettre en appétit…

Ici, de par chez nous, en haute Provence, du côté du Manosque-des-Plateaux cher à Giono, on aime assez se faire la bouche avec un muscat! Au fait: où c’est qu’il allait, donc, pour se ravitailler en vin, le père Giono, le poète des collines envignées ? … Au Château St-Jean-lez-Durance, à Manosque ! Eh ben : on ira, nous aussi, et on verra bien ce que ça donne – pardi ! , aujourd’hui … Les d’Herbès, ils vous reçoivent comme des rois, en leur château niché dans une touffe de platanes séculaires … Muscat – donc, de Hambourg, et à petits grains, vinifié en … rosé ! Qu’à cela ne tienne : il est sublimissime !

Pour la dinde et ses atours…

Finalement, on va essayer quelque chose de particulier (soyons fous !) – mais de saison, et on va aller à La Blaque, à Pierrevert : on y fait le meilleur rouge primeur que je connaisse – et Dieu sait que je ne cours pas après ! … Si vous détestez le côté bien trop parfumé de ce genre de produit, trop ceci trop cela, pas assez ceci pas assez cela, ce primeur-là (un peu plus fait que la normale), va vous plaire – et ça reste agréablement féminin mais qui commande (si vous voyez ce que je veux dire …), et ce qui n’est pas négligeable, vu qu’on est là pour trinquer à l’amitié et au partage, c’est qu’on ne sature pas facilement ! Alors …

Au dessert – cerise sur le Gâteau

Alors là, il nous faut finasser quelque peu : on a beau être chauvin, il arrive un moment où il faut se permettre d’aller voir ailleurs … Oh : je vous rassure, on reste dans le sud ( faut pas exagérer !), et on va du côté du Gers gascon, chez le roi du moelleux (Yves Grassa a été élu meilleur vigneron du monde de l’année – il y a juste trente ans de ça, au “International Wine Challenge” à Londres), et on se délecte de son exceptionnel Tariquet “Premières Grives” qui allie les deux choses les plus réjouissantes en matière de vin : la finesse et la puissance ! Oh yesss! Thanks for Thanksgiving! Every year again…

*cranberries

Susan Manfull

With so much food going in and out of ovens, on and off burners, into bowls and onto platters, the opportunity for error, or even catastrophe, is quite high on Thanksgiving.  In our home alone, there was the time, early on in our marriage, that Towny miscalculated the cooking time—or maybe it was the number of pounds the humongous turkey weighed—and by the time Godzilla bird and our guests met at the table, hours after planned…well, let’s just say the wine pairings no longer mattered. A few years later, having mastered the fine art of timing required with such a cacophony of foods, our dinner came to a screeching halt shortly after we took our seats.  A dear friend’s sleeve caught fire as she reached across the table (and over the flame).  The funniest part of the whole episode is that, not wanting to disrupt the conversation, she kept the incident to herself until the smell of burning hair wafted across the table.

More recently, when my daughter’s boyfriend (at the time) was a guest at the table (and we were all endeavoring to make a good impression), I went racing through the kitchen between courses and caught my apron on the open door of the convection oven, pulling it right off its hinges effectively eliminating an essential appliance for cooking the rest of the meal.  (It seemed a long evening after that mishap.) Sometimes, the incidents are inconsequential, like the time we served roasted acorn squash slices topped with funky spices and every plate came back to the kitchen empty except for a singular acorn squash slice on each one.  I shredded that recipe and hoped no one would remember the awful squash but I knew they would.  Thinking back on my  own early Thanksgivings at my grandmother’s house, to this day, I remember only the Sunbeam Brown ’n Serve White Rolls, the bottoms of which my grandmother burned black every year.  I understand why people dine out on this day and briefly consider it myself every once in a while but then I think of the stories I’ve collected and, oh, those left-overs.  And I soldier on, always glad I did.

Okay, the fourth Thursday in November is barreling down once again and, echoing Pam’s words above, “Let’s do this.”

On such a holiday as festive as Thanksgiving, a little bubbly is, well, obligatory.  When in Provence, I would head straight to Château Léoube for a bottle of their incomparable Sparkling de Léoube.  Closer to Lourmarin, where we hang our hats and keep our flutes, I would seek out Château du Seuil’s sparkling wine, Le Grand Seuil, a new addition to their line-up.  Léoube’s sparkling elixir is made from Cabernet Franc and Seuil’s is from Ugni Blanc. Both are traditional method sparkling wines and both are quite dry.

While the men finish shucking the oysters—yes this is sexist—I will open some of our favorite Rolle-centric whites from Provence to accompany our briny bivalves, served with Towny’s mignonette and fresh lemon wedges.  (No cocktail sauce because, uh, then what’s the point in including the oyster?) I am very fond of the Rolles (maybe with a little Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, or Ugni blanc in the cépage) produced by Château Margüi and Château d’Esclans.  As a general rule, raw oysters are best enjoyed with a cold, dry, crisp white wine, especially one with a clean finish so that it does not compete with the oysters. These wines fit the bill!

David Scott Allen, who writes our food and wine column, makes a lovely Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque Soup that we will start with at the table.  We’ll stick with Provence white wine here, although a slightly different white with a little more weight and aromatics such as Château Vignelaure Blanc (a blend of Roussane, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon), Château Barbebelle Heritage (a mix of Rolle, Grenache blanc, Ugni blanc, and Sauvignon blanc), Château Léoube Blanc de Léoube  (Sémillon, Rolle, and Ugni  blanc) or Domaine Richeaume Columelle Blanc (a blend of Clairette, Rolle, Viognier, and Sauvignon Blanc).

For the turkey and the trimmings which, try as I may, always ends up a cacophony of flavors (albeit delicious ones) ranging from the sweet and sour cranberry relish to the caramelized tastes of the roasted carrots and fennel to the rich turkey gravy slathered atop the mashed potatoes.  The wine must have a presence but not so much that it overpowers.  I’d like to offer our guests a savory rosé and a quietly confident red. 

For the rosé, I recommend Château Guilhem Tournier La Malissonne (2016) rosé.  Predominantly Mourvèdre with 10% Cinsault, this Bandol gem has the right presence for such a meal.    Château Sainte Anne, also in Bandol, makes a lovely red, a blend of Mourvèdre, Cinsault, and Grenache that has just the right amount of structure and weight.  We recently tried the 2016 and the 2007 vintages, both of which were excellent but the latter was a standout and perfect for this meal.  I would also be delighted with any of the Tavels mentioned by Elizabeth or Towny.

For those of you who are serving ham instead of (or in addition to) the turkey, here’s a shout out to Château Malherbe Pointe du Diable (2013) Rouge, an immensely elegant red wine that will grace the table—alongside that ham—with  notes of spices from the nose through the finish.  My daughter and I discovered this estate last summer and loved this red.  I noticed that the tasting notes recommended baked ham as a good partner for this wine.  (How often to you see that?) I think it would also go very well on the turkey side of the table, too.

Skipping over the traditional French cheese course, we will move right to dessert:  a Persimmon pudding, a spicy cake made of the pulp of fresh persimmons and served with a dab of molasses-infused whipped cream.  It is my grandmother’s recipe (not the one who burned the rolls) and it’s been a part of our Thanksgiving or Christmas for many years.  The perfect match for this unusual dessert is Mas de Cadenet’s Vin Cuit, a cooked dessert wine, elegant with a gorgeous, deep golden amber color; intense and complex flavors from the first wave of aromas to the lingering, faintly smokey finish; and a silky mouthfeel.  In September, we saw it cooking in a huge cauldron on the edge of the vineyard.

When Thomas Jefferson traveled to Provence (around 200 years ago), he apparently developed a special affinity for vin cuit. On his January 7, 1822 record of “Stock of Wines on Hand,” 17 vin cuits de Provence were listed.

Finally, a great ending to the meal is, as David wrote above, a Vieux Marc de Provence.   As much as I like the Domaines Ott Marc he opted for, I am going to go for the Château Peyrassol version.

Mike Dater

Apparently the world is made up of oenophiles, wine connoisseurs, sommeliers, and the rest of us schmucks. The rest of us schmucks don’t know from a wine’s bouquet, or its subtle nose, or its complexity. We don’t know from fruity or oaky either.

Enter the local wine guy down the street. He owns a wine and cheese shop whose motto is “wine for the table, not the cellar.” I’m feeling more comfortable already. This is the kind of place it’s safe to ask for something to pair with a peanut butter sandwich. (And he’s back, quick as flash: “strawberry jam.”)

This guy gets it. Not everybody is a wine freak, but we still drink the stuff. Today I need something to take to our daughter’s house for Thanksgiving. He picks out a nice red and says that I’ll like it (and I know I will). OK, now maybe a white. Ditto. I’m happy, he’s happy, my daughter’s happy. And the whole family is guaranteed to have a good Thanksgiving, providing, of course, nobody mentions Donald Trump.

 

 

Note:  All illustrations are by Mike Dater and may only be used with permission. 

For a printable copy of the list of PWZ 2017 Wine Picks, click here.

 

 

 

28 Comments

  1. Now this was fun – lots of fabulous old friends suggested and new ones to meet. I propose a Team Winezine pilgrimage to Provence next year for a Thanksgiving throwdown. Let’s put these picks to the test! But, please, someone bring the bird or we’ll be waiting till Christmas for Tom Turkey to appear on French supermarket shelves!

    • Pam – your dinner sounds wonderful! And I love your recommendations, as well.

      • Thank you David! That’s high praise indeed coming from our resident wine and food pairing guru and chef of Cocoa and Lavender fame. And I would definitely serve a white Châteauneuf-du-Pape with the whole turkey extravaganza. Parfait!

    • Echoing David and Paula’s comments, your menu does sound delicious and I love the wine choices! Tom Bove’s Bomont De Cormeil’s Viognier is an especially brilliant pairing for the grilled pear and Roquefort salad. I remember well the hunt for the turkey when we were in France the first November and, in the end, our rotisserie vendors could have lassoed one for us but, in the end, we opted for the chapon (aka capon) to inject some French into our American meal. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Oh my—having recently arrived in Lourmarin I had totally forgotten that Thanksgiving is soon here. These delightful recommendations will certainly help my planning.

  3. Enjoyed your post. Got a few giggles reading about Thanksgiving misadventures. And my mouth was watering for pumpkin and orange soup with herbs and saffron. Any chance Ms O’Neill would share the recipe?

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

    • I agree with you Paula – I would love the recipe for the pumpkin and orange soup! Maybe since we both asked…?

      • Salut Paula and David. Happy to share my pumpkin soup recipe. So kind of you to ask! It’s easy peasy, totally luscious, and, best of all, can be made in advance – way in advance if you freeze it.
        Just cut your pumpkin into wedges – don’t bother peeling – and throw them on a baking sheet with roughly chopped onion, halved oranges or clementines (I prefer clementines), unpeeled garlic cloves, a chilli pepper or two, and fresh woody herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme). Then add a glug of olive oil, a drizzle of maple syrup, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and toss. Cook at around 350°F, tossing occasionally, till tender with tasty caramelised bits. In the meantime, heat up some chicken broth, white wine, and sprinkle with crushed saffron threads. Puree the peeled pumpkin with your appliance of choice and add the warm liquid, with juice squeezed from roasted oranges/clementines, to desired consistency. At this point, you can refrigerate/freeze the soup till the big day.
        When reheated, add as much cream as you like. I serve the soup sprinkled with sage leaves fried in butter, also done in advance (keep the cooled crispy leaves in a sealed container). Before serving, drizzle with anything you fancy such as warmed butter reserved from frying sage, truffle oil, maple syrup, bourbon or rum, crème fraiche…
        Bon appétit!

  4. This was great fun, Susan – I probably should have gone on a bit more about how much I can’t stand most Thanksgiving wine recommendations that we see in U.S. publications. The choices are usually thin, wiry and (to me) tasteless… but, because they are in print (thus, must be true and not fake news) people adhere to the suggestions.

    The above are all so wonderful and creative, and I would love to share the table (and kitchen) with all of you!

  5. Nice post Susan. I think you should find a cartoon of a turkey with a beret!

    Also I feel in good company now knowing that Thomas Jefferson liked Vin Cuit!

    Happy Thanksgiving!…Michael

    • I shared the idea of a French turkey with Mike Dater, our resident cartoonist/illustrator/artist, so maybe next Thanksgiving (or even Christmas as that is when the French eat their turkeys!) I love the idea!

      Re the Vin Cuit….It is available for purchase in the U.S. Mas de Cadenet Vin Cuit, my personal favorite, could be found last holiday season in several retail stores in New York and New Jersey: Hudson Wine Merchants (ask for Jess if you have questions), Gary’s Wine and Marketplace, Brix. I’m told it is also on the wine list at Le Bernadin in Manhattan and at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York. I hope it is the same this year (and, if anyone wants to know, drop me a line and I will check!)

  6. Hi Susan,
    I just loved reading today’s suggestions for French wines for Thanksgiving! Your stories of Thanksgivings past were so much fun to read as well! Also, who is your illustrator? The illustrations so beautifully match your writing!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    • Hi Eileen,
      Thanks for that nice feedback about this post — it was great fun to put together, too! — and regarding our resident illustrator, Mike Dater. His work may be found throughout this blog (search Mike Dater in our search box) and you can read more about him on the contributors’ page: http://www.provencewinezine.com/contributors/ . We love his work, too! Some of his work is available for purchase, too!

  7. Hi Susan and Contributors, you outdid yourselves this time! Great picks that would add some life to any Thanksgiving party. This time of year, one expects the obligatory Pinot Noir options from the press but not a one from Provence WineZine! I never would have thought of a Vouvray Demi Sec but it makes sense and is likely to appeal to non-wine drinkers at the table. Many of the wines will be hard to find over here but I know I can find a Tavel or two. May give Tavel a try this year! Thanks for wonderful picks…now what about Christmas dinner?

    • Hello Peter, Thanks for the enthusiastic endorsement of our list! If you do give Tavel a try, I’d love to hear what you think! I will tuck away your idea that we regroup and suggest some wines for Christmas! Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Peter,
      You likely know the South Africans never lost their taste for Chenin Blanc, and may be easier for you to find in your area. I cannot recommend any particular ones, as I still feature those wonderful Vouvrayans (no idea if this if how they identify themselves).

  8. Great to see wine recommendations for vegetarian thanksgiving 🙂 !

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