Years ago when I was still pairing diet cola with food and knew
nothing about wine, a dinner guest arrived with a special bottle of
Pinot Noir. Unbeknownst to him, I put the bottle in the
refrigerator. Later, when dinner was about to be served, he
inquired about the wine. My guest’s frosty glare was colder than
the over-chilled wine.
Years ago when I was still pairing diet cola with food and knew nothing about wine, a dinner guest arrived with a special bottle of Pinot Noir. Unbeknownst to him, I put the bottle in the refrigerator. Later, when dinner was about to be served, he inquired about the wine. My guest’s frosty glare was colder than the over-chilled wine.
Since then, I have learned that wine should be treated with great care. Keep wine in a cool, dark environment – preferably a wine refrigerator. Never let wine sit in a hot car or in direct light. For best flavor, red wines should be served with a slight chill; white wines should be served colder, but not ice cold.
As Thanksgiving nears, most people will serve pinot noir because it pairs well with turkey and most of the traditional side dishes. However, the following wines offer the perfect opportunity to take your guests on a little wine adventure, while still pairing perfectly.
The Thomas Fogarty Gewurztraminer (2008) was the star of the show at the Capitola Art and Wine Festival in September. This delightful wine is pink grapefruit in a bottle. With just a hint of sweet, it’s bright, clean and has great acidity on the finish. Pairs well with appetizers, spiced yams and savory sage stuffing. Find it at Rocca’s Market for $10.99, or at Whole Foods for $14.99.
Another impressive crowd-pleaser for your Thanksgiving table is the Opolo Summit Creek Zinfandel (2009). This rich, full-bodied wine tastes like ripe black cherry with a touch of spice. It’s one of my favorites, at Costco, for $14.59.
Local Winery Buzz
One of our area’s newest wineries, the Aver Family Vineyards, lives up to its tagline of “Where Friends Become Family” by welcoming newcomers to their home tasting room with the most incredible views of the surrounding hills and vineyards.
John and Carolyn Aver’s dream of owning a winery began in the early ’90s when they planted grape vines as landscaping for their home near Sonoma. As soon as John planted the first vine, he knew that grapes and wine would be his life. After taking viticulture classes at U.C. Davis and talking with other winemakers, in 2005 they located an 8.25 acre vineyard nestled at the southern edge of Santa Clara Valley.
Their highly acclaimed winemaker, Kian Tavakoli, previously headed up the Clos du Val red wine program and apprenticed in the fine art of making Cabernet Sauvignon at Opus One. Together, John and Kian specialize in producing a variety of magical Rhone wines and blends.
In 2008, their vineyard was spared from a devastating fire that roared over the surrounding hills and past their home. Their flagship wine is “Blessings,” a tribute to the fact their vineyard was spared. Produced from estate Petite Sirah, it is focused, complex with great fruit intensity.
“Hope,” a Rhone-style blend with red cherry, plums and black olive flavors was named in recognition of the power of hope to get them through any situation, no matter how dire. Let these wines grace your Thanksgiving table as they will both pair beautifully with your holiday dinner.
From the start, John’s vision has been to continue Santa Clara Valley’s legacy of being the first premium wine growing region in the state. John feels a strong connection to the early growers and is inspired to “grow the best grapes and make the best wine.” John’s careful hands-on approach and selection ensures that there is “not a bad grape by the time it gets to the fermentation bin.” You can visit Aver Family Vineyards every third weekend of the month.
Cut bacon strips in half, fry until translucent and drain onpaper towel. Insert tiny sticks of parmesan cheese into pitteddates. Wrap bacon around the date, secure with toothpick and bakeat 350 for about 40 minutes, until bacon is browned.