Friday Feature – November 20th, 2009

Turkey time!

It is almost Thanksgiving and the questions have started to roll in regarding what to pair with this holiday meal?

The reality of food and Thanksgiving pairings is that there are many variables.  Are we dealing with the classic roasted Turkey, or do you deep fry?  Are you a gravy person, and if so what’s in your gravy?  Then we have to talk stuffing, and as you can see this is getting complicated.

Luckily there are some vague answers that a wine guy like me can give to you.

If you are considering white wine, you can go multiple directions. If choosing white on the dry side, consider the texture.  Go with something with body, a lush texture helps, but excessive oak you may want to stay away from.  On the other hand something off dry works great, so Riesling with a hint of sweetness may be what is called for.

On the red side please try and avoid the tannins.  There is a reason why vague pairings often call for Pinot Noir, Beaujolais or Zinfandel.  These are relatively low tannin varietals and their fruit goes great with the flavors.

Finally in my world, a party isn’t a party without something bubbly, so don’t forget to have sparkling wine around!

Today’s Friday Feature offers a white and red suggestion for your Thanksgiving, not to mention a festive sparkling cocktail suggestion to start!

Have a great weekend,


Call it the Martha Stewart in me, but as soon as I tasted this great cranberry liqueur I thought about how it would be perfect in some sparkling wine as a Thanksgiving Kir Royale!

Some of you may remember me extolling the virtues of the Leopold Bros.   A Denver based duo that makes some amazing spirits and fruit based liqueurs.  The bad news is that their products have temporarily left the market, but luckily I was able to get my hands on one case of this liqueur before they left.

Everything at Leopold Bros. is distilled by Todd Leopold in a 40 gallon hand-hammered copper pot still.  These are truly small batch goods.

The cranberry liqueur is made from New England cranberries, and over three pounds of the fruit goes into each bottle!  Todd crushes cranberries from Massachusetts and Maine, takes the juice and blends it into homemade eau de vie.

The result is the true essence of cranberry, and as a replacement for Crème de Cassis at the base of sparkling wine, this will be a perfect way to start your evening on Thanksgiving.  But don’t let it stop there, Todd suggests adding some to your cranberry sauce.  Or if someone at the table isn’t a pumpkin pie person, make some vanilla ice cream and top it with a little of this to make it extra special.

I have lot’s of good bubbles around the store, but I would highly recommend adding this to the N.V. Santomè Prosecco Extra Brut that I have in stock now.  It is a tremendous value for Prosecco at $12.99 a bottle!

I only have twelve half-bottles of this New England Cranberry Liqueur, so order yours today!


If anyone knows the vines of his native Spain, it is Telmo Rodríguez.  Growing up in a wine family, he was practically born in the vineyards.

Wine as a passion resulted in him partnering with a friend, Pablo Eguzkiza to form a company that sourced fruit to make wine.  Unlike many other people doing this in Spain and around the world, Telmo and his partner philosophically believed they should only work with native varieties, and only bush vines.

I usually am scared by wine “projects,” as I like to buy from producers who have owned farms for a long time, and really know their region.  But I am convinced that Telmo is 100% committed to making real wines, and that he could often tell you more about a particular region than someone who has farmed there for 50 years.

Because his family owns Remulluri in Rioja, Telmo’s knowledge of this region is particularly strong.  With his “LZ” he has created a great value Rioja that I think is a knockout.  This comes from the Basque part of Rioja , a village called Lanziego de Álava.  Mostly Tempranillo with a little bit of Graciano and Garnacha, this is a really bright, juicy style of Rioja.  It offers plenty of bright strawberry and red currant fruit, with hints at mineral, pepper and flowers.

It is a terrific value!
$14.99 BTL. / $179.88 CASE

OTHER RECOMMENDED RED WINES: ’05 Alain Michaud Morgon $16.99 btl., ’05 Piron Morgon “Cote du Py” $23.99 btl., ’07 Bouchard Bourgogne Rouge $17.99 btl., 2007 Owen Roe Pinot Noir “Solomon Hills Vineyard” $31.99 btl., ’05 Paul Lehrner St. Laurent $16.99 btl., ’06 Combier Crozes-Hermitage $21.99 btl., ’08 Clos de Roillette Fleurie $19.99 btl., and much more!


My friend, Mr. L swears by the wines of Alsace with Thanksgiving dinner.  He is not right very often, but in this case he is!

Whether it is Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Auxerrois or even Gewürtztraminer, the combination of richness and acidity, with the different fruit and floral aromas and flavors of these wines really pair great with turkey.

Today, I focus on a rich and utterly delicious style of Pinot Blanc from top producer Meyer-Fonné.  Located in the village of Katzenthal, this is an old family run winery.  They own some pretty darn good vineyards, several top Grand Cru sites.  As you would expect, a wine range of varietals are produced.

The ’08 Pinot Blanc “Vieilles Vignes” breaks the mold of what you might normally think a Pinot Blanc should be like.  Their old vines produce an incredibly rich style that will absolutely impress you with its combination of weight, acidity and long palate staining finish. Anticipate notes of honey, peach, pear, lychee, and spice on the nose and the palate.

Alsace fans, you are going to love this!
$18.99 BTL. / $227.88 CASE

OTHER RECOMMENDED WHITE WINES: ’08 Acústic Blanc $18.99 btl., ’06 Schwibinger Riesling “Niersteiner Kranzberg” $9.50 btl., ’04 Movia “Veliko Bianco” $35.99 btl., ’08 Handley Gewürtztraminer $11.99 btl., ’07 Paraiso Chardonnay $17.99 btl.

Craig Perman
Perman Wine Selections
802 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
Phone 312-666-4417
Fax 312-666-4487

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