So much turkey talk when it comes to wine this time of year, and yet so little talk of the turkey.
What I mean is, for all of the holiday wine pairing help that we can find this time of year, very little of it actually centers around The Bird. The culinary hub & spoke in the wheel of our holiday meals, so-to-speak.
Which is understandable, because the turkey, while usually sitting at the center of our holiday table and taking up the majority of our cooking prep. time, is actually the side show when it comes to most Thanksgiving meals.
The real stars of the act, in wine pairing terms, are the varied side dishes that run the gamut of tastes from savory to sweet, along with the varying taste preferences of the dinner guests. In other words, when it comes to holiday meals you should drink whatever wine you like, because the situation (when it comes to finding an all-purpose wine pairing, that is) is pretty much hopeless (it may also be hopeless because of the company, but that’s your problem).
But… what is a culinary adventurer to do when the slow-roasted bird is actually the focus of a meal? I’m talking about a chicken or turkey spending almost all day slow-roasting to perfection, to be accompanied not by show-stealing sweet yams but by less robust side-item fare meant to place the dining spotlight on the bird itself.
What do we pair with that?
The answer (at least, my answer) might surprise you…
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The Second Glass is kicking some ass.
The Boston-area stalwarts just released their Annual Wine Guide for 2010, and it’s an impressive ‘cheat sheet’ view of high QPR wine selections.
I’m not sure how they selected the wines that made the final cut to be highlighted in the buying guide, and not all of the selections are blow-your-mind good, but I’m impressed with some of the wines that were included (S.A. Prum Essence Riesling, anyone?). The guide is organized by country / region, and you will learn a bit about the wine production and culture for each of the included countries, so it’s not just a list of budget-oriented wine picks.
I especially liked how they highlighted some of the value-producing and fast-improving regions of Spain (Jumilla, Yecla), didn’t shun Austria, and were bold enough to offer up Chenin Blanc recommendations from Clarksburg in California. The guide finishes with the selections indexed by potential purpose (“Turkey Wine,” “Winter Warmer,” and my personal favorite, “Panty Remover.”)
All in all, it’s 40+ pages of wine goodness.
A printed copy will run you all of $2.00 – if you’re too cheap for that, you can browse the entire contents on-line.
Hats-off to the Second Glass team for this handy guide – they’ve outdone similar offerings that run for a hell of a lot more money.
Got a favorite wine guide? Let’s hear about ‘em in the comments!
The November 23, 2009 edition of the New Yorker contains a fascinating article by Evan Osnos titled “Letter From China – Reds: The creation of a wine-loving class.”
The article recounts a short period in the history of the A.S.C. Fine Wines company based in Beijing and run by two Canadians (a father-and-son team by the name of St. Pierre). Just as interesting as the trials and tribulations of the St. Pierre clan is the clear picture that Osnos’ article paints of fine wine consumption in China.
I’ll share some of those numbers with you in a moment, but before I do, let’s get the bottom line conclusion out of the way now: anyone who doesn’t think that China is not among the major players – if not the major player – in the world fine wine market needs to have a belly-button window installed (think about it… you’ll get it).
In a less than 15 years, China’s upper-middle class has gone from a “let’s mix red wine with soda” drinking culture to a group of savvy if star-struck fine wine and dining folk right out of a hackneyed, First-Growth-worshipping Wine Spectator lifestyle piece.
Welcome to the new world of international wine…
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