The time for this annual meal is fast approaching – always a challenging event for wine pairing!
Here are Benson’s top picks for 2022.
Wines to pair with that Thanksgiving feast
First up, it’s all about Pinot:
Balletto Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir – SRP $22 – The 2021 is fun and lively with a light, delicate texture and a refreshing acidity. Bonus from Balletto Vineyards in 2022 – they are now entirely solar powered!
Balletto Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – SRP $34 – The 2019 exhibits everything you would expect from a serious pinot, combining full and captivating aromatics with a delicate texture that defines the Balletto style of Pinot Noir. The wine itself is full of contradictory forces: it’s weighty with a luscious mid-palate, but also surrounded by notable tannins and acidity that keep it focused, balanced and taut. It has plenty of dark fruit, but it is also layered with savory earth and spices that offset it. The overall impact is complex, impressive and delicious.
It’s not Pinot, but it’s great at Thanksgiving – check out Balletto’s Gewurztraminer! (SRP $24)
Hahn Appellation Series Pinot Noir, Arroyo Seco – SRP $25 – Located south of the Santa Lucia Highlands, Arroyo Seco is one of the smallest AVAs in California, boasting one of the longest growing seasons in the state due to cool winds that blow in daily from Monterey Bay. As a result, this Pinot Noir is soft and delicate on the palate, with flavors of cherry and other red fruits, followed by a long finish. Hahn Appellation Series also includes a Chardonnay (SRP $20) and GSM – Grenache Syrah Mourvédre (SRP $25).
Hahn SLH Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands – SRP $35 – Pioneers in the Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH), Nicolaus (Nicky) Hahn first purchased land in the 1970s and was keen to see its potential as a renowned wine region. He led efforts to officially establish Santa Lucia Highlands as an official AVA. Today, Hahn Family Wines owns one of the largest shares of planted vines in the SLH, farming 650 acres (10% of SLH). The vineyards used for Hahn’s SLH wines experience a long and dry growing season that results in wines with remarkable depth, complexity and ripe fruit flavors. Hahn SLH Chardonnay is also available as well (SRP $30).
We’re also looking at some options from exciting wine areas overseas:
Teliani Valley Saperavi – SRP $15 – Made from 100% Saperavi (pronounced saw-pear-ah-vee) grapes. This wine is a great introduction to the Saperavi varietal of Georgia. A young version of Saperavi that shows all of the best characteristics of the grape. Fermented in stainless steel, this medium-full bodied Saperavi shows a classic profile with ripe sour cherry and pomegranate notes, vibrant acidity, and firm tannin. A perfect party wine since it will go with most things on the table.
Xanadu Chardonnay, Margaret River – SRP $30 – From the heart of the ‘Golden Triangle of Chardonnay’ in Western Australia, this wine is made entirely from the Gingin clone, which is specific to this area and gives the wines their signature style. Each bunch develops a mix of small and large grapes which give lower yields and provide outstanding fruit concentration, elegance and persistent natural acidity. This wine is barrel fermented with wild yeasts and matured on lees for nine months but does not undergo malolactic fermentation. The resulting wine shows flavors of gala apples, pears and tangy yuzu citrus alongside a quartz-like minerality.
Yering Station Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley – SRP $30 – This Pinot Noir from the cool climate of Yarra Valley, Australia is proof that Australia has exceptional cool climate terroir to offer. Complex and balanced, with bright strawberry and fragrant spice notes. It has an acidity that works nicely with most dishes and sides. Yering Station is the first vineyard in Victoria, Australia, with vines planted in 1838.
Finally, we’ll finish off with some classic American pours:
Smith & Hook Proprietary Red Wine – SRP $25 – The Smith & Hook story begins 40 years ago in the hills of Monterey County where the Hahn family founded Smith & Hook, launching a decades-long exploration of Central Coast winemaking. Today Winemaker Megan McCollough produces excellent Cabernet Sauvignon wines, priced $25-45, as well as this classic Bordeaux blend of primarily Merlot, Petite Sirah, Malbec & Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit is sourced from three prestigious appellations of the Central Coast: Arroyo Seco, Santa Lucia Highlands and San Antonio Valley. This expressive blend features vibrant aromas of cranberry, dark cherry and plum, underscored by notes of mushroom and subtle hints of lavender.
Biltmore Winery Thanksgiving Wine Trio – SRP $109.00 – When it comes to choosing wines for Thanksgiving, why choose just one? This trio includes the Biltmore Reserve Chardonnay, The Hunt Red Blend and Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs, all ideal for different parts of a Thanksgiving gathering. The best part is that it’s 20% off right now! Here’s more about each wine and why they were selected:
- Biltmore Reserve Chardonnay – SRP $25 – The best pairing for your feast or Biltmore’s modern take on the Vanderbilts’ archived Thanksgiving menu from 1904. This green beans recipe is perfect with a sip of the refreshing and smooth Chardonnay.
- The Hunt Red Blend – SRP $45 – This wine was made with 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 26% Cabernet Franc from Sonoma County making the perfect blend for a complex meal. It’s great to pair with roast turkey which was George Vanderbilt’s favorite – you can replicate the recipe here.
- Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs – SRP $39 – Great as a pre-dinner sip with appetizers or with post-dinner dessert, this sparkling wine was made with chardonnay grapes and features tiny bubbles that give way to a surprisingly creamy mouthfeel along with flavors of Bosc pear and light yeasty ciabatta notes.
For more information, assets, or samples of any of these wines, please don’t hesitate to let us know!