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It’s been a few years since we’ve discussed wines for Thanksgiving.
But here we are — the long weekend is around the corner and an invitation to a “Friendsgiving” get-together is looming.
That’s the thing, it does feel like the notion of Thanksgiving continues to evolve. Not the significance of graciously gathering with friends and family to pay homage to the harvest season, but rather the rigid convention of sitting around the dining table eating a prescribed meal centred on turkey.
Focus on the former and have fun with the latter (the eating part, that is), and if potables are a part of your Thanksgiving, here are a few ideas:
Dominion Cider Co. First Principles Cider, Summerland (around $7.00 for a 473mL can, available at the cider and select private liquor stores)
Given the significance of celebrating the harvest surrounding Thanksgiving, it does feel appropriate to call on local liquid produce. And while wine remains the focus of this column, in the spirit of both evolving and celebrating local, its worth highlighting cider. B.C. grows a lot of apples. Some apples make excellent cider, which happens to pair remarkably well with many Thanksgiving meals. For example, a cider like Dominion’s tart and unapologetically dry First Principles — which is a blend of wild-fermented heirloom English cider apples and crab apples — ably cuts through rich dishes — be it turkey with gravy or mushroom stuffing.
Bottom line: A-, Bracing and just funky enough
Mission Hill Family Estate 2022 Reserve Rosé, West Kelowna ($25.99, #698191)
When in doubt, pour rosé. This is universal advice, Thanksgiving meal or otherwise — particularly if there’s only going to be one bottle on the table. Mission Hill’s latest vintage of Reserve Rosé is an aromatic blend of Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Franc (sourced from vineyards located in Osoyoos and Oliver). It’s vibrant, full of red berry and melon aromas, yet brings an engaging richness. Then there’s a crisp, angular cranberry-imbued finish. All in all, it makes for an interesting and versatile pairing partner. This means bring on the roast duck, the baked ham, the takeout Thai, or really whatever Thanksgiving meal you fancy!
Bottom line: A-, Bottled versatility
Haywire 2021 Gamay, Summerland ($31.99, available through the winery and select private wine stores)
Hewing to the versatile wine theme, Gamay wins the nomination for “Swiss Army knife” red. Bringing both freshness and depth, there’s not many meals that Gamay can’t play well with. For proof, open a bottle of Haywire’s 100 per cent organically-grown Gamay. Mostly whole cluster pressed and fermented in small open tanks, in the glass it bursts with aromas of red fruit and spice, with an all-around liveliness that dances on the tongue before herby undertones build to a zippy finish. This bottle works well with turkey — either with the fixings or as leftover pie — or even pizza, if that’s the Thanksgiving menu.
Bottom line: A-, Elegant crowd pleaser
The Swirl: Grapes to Glass — Wine Education & Tasting Series
UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems is offering an upcoming four-session class that aims to have participants use their senses to learn the elements of wine production, from grape-growing to enjoying the final product in the glass.
The Wine Education and Tasting Series has a focus on B.C. wines and includes a visit to UBC’s Wine Library. Classes start Oct. 11, running 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the UBC Vancouver Campus. Tuition is $315, for complete details, click here.
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