Bacchic Reflections

        When I pour a glass of truly fine wine, when I hold it up to the light and admire its color, when I raise it to my nose and savor its bouquet and essence, I know that wine is, above all else, a blessing, a gift of nature, a joy as pure and elemental as the soil and vines and sunshine from which it springs.
                                                                     Robert Mondavi
Harvest of Joy
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Reds worth cellaring...Cabs, Pinots, Other
                            B.E.'s Cellar Notes

Special Aged Wines:   B.E.'s Discoveries

Virginia/North Carolina:   B.E.'s Discoveries

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Wine Books for Wine Lovers
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Gently cooled, Beaujolais-Villages has the freshness of red fruit that works very well with roast fowl. The 2017 Nouveau  is sturdier than most. I particularly liked the Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages '17. Be sure to chill it briefly (half hour) before serving.
PINOT NOIR: Often my first pick for roast fowl--turkey, chicken, quail, game hens.  Lighter ones rather than big tannic ones are the best choices, such as Pinots from A to Z Wineworks, Erath, Olema, Willamette Valley Vyds, Decoy, Argyle, Chehalem, Raptor Ridge.
Ritual Pinot Noir 2015, Chile, $20**+  The cranberry accents in this Pinot make it especially accommodating for roast turkey and trimmings.

More full-bodied Pinots will also work with roast fowl, such as Pommard, Volnay, Chambolle Musigny from Burgundy--especially good choices for roast duck or goose. Your wallet can decide this, since Burgundies are expensive, but it's hard to beat their warmth of flavor and character.

CABERNET FRANC.  Cab franc's red fruit flavors, notably red currants, are a great match with roast turkey and other roast fowl NC makes some excellent ones from such wineries as  Biltmore, Childress, Jones von Drehle, Grove, Sanctuary--check out at A Southern Season.
Chinon and Bourgeuil from the Loire Valley are excellent cab francs, from such producers as Olga Raffault, Bernard Baudry, Mabileau, Charles Joguet, Alliet. These wines have an earthy, mineral character that gains flavor interest with a few years aging. Well worth laying away for future feasts.

ZINFANDEL. I find most Zinfandels too big and tannic for roast turkey, but moderate priced ones can work, and their spiciness can nicely handle the variety of flavors, such as:  Dry Creek Vyd Heritage Vines 2015, $18-22*** -- a beautifully balanced Zin.
The bigger Zins can certainly handle rich meat stews, venison and the like.

Choice Whites
Hugel Classic Riesling 2015  Alsace***   $19-23 -- on sale for $18.99 at Chapel Hill Wine Co (also Hillsborough Wine Co.)    If you want to know what a classic, pure dry Riesling is, buy this wine! Aromatic, with hints of floral and mineral, superbly balanced, with an acidity that gives it great verve, and fruit that is enticing and appetizing. I was simply delighted by the taste of this wine. 
King Estate Pinot Gris 2015   Oregon  $15-18**  Dry with some richness of honeyed pear flavors--a very affordable choice for roast turkey, also game hens.
Le Paradou Viognier 2016  Languedoc-Rousillon $15**  Appealing floral fragrance, nice and fresh crispness. An excellent aperitif.
Macon-Charnay 2015  Burgundy  $15-18**+   Bright chardonnay fruit, mineral accents, excellent acidity. Look for such producers as Jean Manciat, Domaine Renault, Domaine Pascal

Fall's Dry Pinks:  I'm still drinking dry rosés--especially before dinner. They make great aperitifs, and can be just right for Thanksgiving if you prefer chilled wines.  Wine Authorities in Durham still has a handsome cache of dry pinks (as do several shops).  You're bound to find one you like, but try these two, made from the gamay grape:
Domaine des Grands Bruyères 2016 Beaujolais Rosé, $12.99
Robert Serol 'Cabochard'  Rosé    Loire Valley   $13.99

Bubbles.........I always have one on ice, just in case. And a great way to launch the Thanksgiving feast:
Gloria Ferrer Brut Rosé   Carneros **+ $20-29  This sparkler--the flaming color of sunset--is lively and crisp with bright berryish accent. Made from pinot noir, a grape that excels in the cool Carneros region of Sonoma County.  Quite delicious.
Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs NV, California, $18-22**+  Tiny bubbles, bright, clean fruit, dry and quite delicious. Keep this sparkler on hand  as a great aperitif, year-round.  I've tasted this wine several times with great pleasure. An excellent value, too.
Domaine Chandon Etoile Brut Rosé  $24-30***  Chandon's top cuvée--a dry pink, very elegant with a delicate scent of strawberry; tiny stream of bubbles, long in finish. A delicious match with smoked salmon!!!

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                                                                                                                                             ©Barbara Ensrud