Four for Turkey Day
As discussed in our Food and Wine Matching Engine and the Nov. 15 edition of 30 Second Wine Advisor, turkey makes a challenging wine match, not only because it has both light and dark meat, but because its meat has an oily quality that's not always friendly to dry wines.

I call my solution "the cranberry sauce principle." Cranberry sauce is a traditional condiment with turkey because it's both fruity and tart; so choose a wine with similar characteristics -- Beaujolais or Zinfandel if you want a red, or Riesling, Gewurztraminer or Chenin Blanc if you're inclined to a white.

We roasted a pre-Thanksgiving turkey last week and tried it - both hot from the oven and as leftovers - with a variety of red and white wines. The results substantiated the theory - two Beaujolais, a Vouvray and an Australian Riesling all worked reasonably well. But the Beaujolais stood out, making tasty, synergistic matches that went beyond merely washing down the food.

Diochon Domaine Diochon 1997 Moulin-à-Vent Cuvée Vieilles Vignes ($16.99)
Representing the luxury end of the Beaujolais scale, this fine red actually benefits from a bit of aging and is showing better now then when I last tasted it in January. Dark ruby in color, it breathes delicious blueberry and spice aromas and shows full, tart berry fruit and zippy acidity on the palate; dry and full, clean and lasting, it's a well structured and balanced wine. U.S. importer: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, Calif. (Nov. 12, 1999)

FOOD MATCH: Working exactly like cranberry sauce with roast turkey, its bright fruit and snappy acidity make it a perfect match with both light and dark meat.

Beringer Beringer 1999 California "Nouveau" Red Table Wine ($7.59)
Clear reddish-purple, with forward aromas of candied strawberries and banana oil, leading into a very ripe berry and banana flavor, juicy and tart with a hint of sweetness. Bananas and a hint of bitter almond linger in the finish. Resembles the traditional Nouveau Beaujolais style of France, but more ripe, forward and grapey than most. (Nov. 14, 1999)

FOOD MATCH: The cranberry-sauce principle continues to hold; exuberant fruit and tart-sweet flavor improve our attitude toward leftover turkey, sliced and warmed in leftover gravy.

Marc Bredif Marc Brédif 1996 Vouvray ($13.99)
Clear, pale straw color, with apple and pear aromas surrounded by earthy, musky Chenin Blanc fruit. Ripe and fresh, slightly sweet and very tart, evokes cooking apples with a slice of sharp Cheddar cheese. U.S. importer: Maisons, Marques et Domaines USA Inc., Oakland, Calif. (Nov. 12, 1999)

FOOD MATCH: The wine's piercing acidity makes it a good palate cleanser, but no particular flavor synergy occurs.

Leasingham Leasingham 1996 Clare Valley (Australia) Riesling ($$7.59)
Clear, pale gold, with a markedly citric aroma, lime peel and apples and a whiff of the odd but pleasant "petrol" quality of older Riesling. Crisp fruit flavors mirror the aroma, fresh and clean; tart lemon-lime and muted "petrol" in a very long finish. Previously tasted a little over a year ago, it's showing interesting evolution and greater complexity. U.S. importer: International Cellars, Chantilly, Va. (Nov. 14, 1999)

FOOD MATCH: As with the Vouvray, it washes the palate clean and doesn't detract from the flavors, but for a match that sings, I'll stay with Beaujolais.

More wines for Turkey Day

Clock These wines were featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor, my free weekly E-mail bulletin of quick wine tips, advice and tasting notes. Click here to join the E-mail list!

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All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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