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Exploring bold pairings for when it’s time to wine down

A surreal year calls for interesting new bottles to accompany your holiday feasts

Image Credits Photo courtesy of Anne Watson Photography

Somehow, it’s November 2020. Personally, I have no idea how this happened. Nonetheless, we are on the cusp of the holiday season, which, undoubtedly, will look very different for most people this year. The good news is, though, that we can — and should! — still drink wine. Normally, I’d think that writing a wine-for-Thanksgiving column would be a little too obvious or boring. This year, though? I think dialed-in solutions are just what we need. I checked in with the proprietor of South Park’s The Rose, Chelsea Coleman, who is also about to open another bar in nearby North Park called Mabel Goes Fishing. She has one of the most interesting wine catalogs in the county. Here’s what Coleman says we should be sipping with a side of turkey this Thanksgiving.

“The general wisdom around Thanksgiving wine is that you have two choices,” Coleman says. “Your first option is to find a luscious off-dry white like a spätlese (late harvest) riesling or a tendre (off-dry) Vouvray ripe with pear and floral aromas. Your second option is to seek out light, high-acid reds with low tannin that can handle the gravy and cranberry sauce drowning your dried-up turkey breast. This is why you often see Beaujolais on the table.”

Then, she tosses in a curveball. “However, I am a giant advocate of throwing traditional drinking etiquette out the window,” she continues, adding that she strongly recommends “bubbles” of any sort and for all portions of the meal, as they are “the friendliest of food wines. [They] are ready to slash through fat and complement difficult-to-pair foods with zipping acidity or spice.”

Coleman’s Top Picks

François Pinon Vouvray Pétillant Brut: “Gosh darn it, I love this wine. It has all the things you want from Vouvray by way of aromatics and its beautiful méthode champenoise bubbles run across your tongue with the right balance of acidity.”

Il Farneto Frisant Rosso: “I own a ‘natural’ wine bar and this selection is the only one I’m throwing at you that is not a ‘clean’ wine. Which is to say it’s a touch unconventional in that there is a hint of Brettanomyces (the same bacteria that makes Belgian beers sour) dancing around with the strawberry fruits and black licorice notes of this elegantly sparkling pétillant-naturel.”

Los Pilares High BPN, San Diego County: “A sparkling wine made from cabernet sauvignon grown at high elevation in San Diego County?! This wine is a delight and pretty much tastes like the best version of cranberry sauce your brain could possibly conceptualize. Chill it down and drink it with all six courses.”

J. Brix Carignan 2019 McCormick Ranch, San Diego County: “Traditionally a blending grape, carignan has come into its own over the last few decades as a surefire easy food pairing. Rich in red fruit and light on bitter tannins, this version of it is zippy and lively in all the ways you need it to be when the tryptophan kicks in.” therosewinebar.com


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