We've always felt that Tablas Creek wines make great pairings with Thanksgiving meals. The Rhone whites (particularly those based on Roussanne) are rich enough to stand up to turkey or ham, and the Rhone reds (particularly those based on Grenache) are fruity enough, spicy enough, and have enough acidity to handle the variety of rich flavors on the table.
That said, I thought it would be fun this year to poll some key Tablas Creek staff for their suggestions for what Tablas Creek wines to pair with this year's Thanksgiving feast... and also to see what non-Tablas Creek wines they are thinking about.
I've listed the suggestions without any significant editing, so the descriptions of the wines and the reasons for choosing are in the contributors' original words, which I think is a big part of the fun.
Denise Chouinard, Controller
Tablas Creek Vineyard Bergeron or Roussanne
Once all of the afternoon grazing and noshing has been enjoyed (which, along with some T-day traditional items, has to include smoked salmon mousse paired with Tablas Creek Rose!) we begin dinner with one of our favorite appetizers which is seared scallops on a minted pea puree accented with curry oil. The scallops and the sauce are wonderfully enhanced by a glass of the Tablas Creek Vineyard Bergeron or the straight Roussanne.
David Bruce Pinot Noir Bien Nacido
We often buck tradition and go with a "bird of a different feather" for Thanksgiving (though we have 'buck'ed tradition so far as to go with venison in the past!). We enjoy either a snow goose, wild turkey, or duck, and have managed to stay away from the Tur-duck-en to date. Duck is one of our favorites, and Julia Child's recipe for duck done two ways is always wonderful. If this is on the table, there has to be a Pinot Noir to accompany it. We have enjoyed several selections from David Bruce Winery including the Pinot Noir Bien Nacido.
Neil Collins, Executive Winemaker and Vineyard Manager
Tablas Creek Vineyard Rosé
I would go with the ever versatile Rosé, currant vintage or older. The Rosé has the uncanny ability to tie into the many elements of the Thanksgiving plate, including the cranberry stuff.
Lone Madrone Bristols Cider
For other, I am going to have to go with the Bristols Hard Cider as it is of the season and it is what I like!!!
Nikki Getty, Director of Wine Club, Hospitality and Events
Tablas Creek Vineyard Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc
We're doing a pumpkin soup with ginger and roasted pumpkin seeds and will serve the Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc. The ginger and pumpkin spice complement the honey and mineral flavors of the wine.
For our roasted root vegetables with drizzled balsamic vinegar, we'll serve a nice Chianti. The acidity of the Chianti and the balsamic bring out the sweetness of the vegetables.
Robert Haas, Founder and General Partner
Tablas Creek Vineyard Esprit de Beaucastel and Côtes de Tablas
This may be a copout since I was asked to choose one Tablas Creek wine. But I really like both of these two for Thanksgiving with its variety of flavors on the table. I usually lean toward older red wines but I love the elegance and grace of the Tablas Creek 2006s that goes along with their lovely red fruit flavors, spicy character and length on the palate. And one does not have to worry about sediment (pour it out to the last drop) in these young wines. Serve on the cool side (65 degrees).
Chambertin, Vielles Vignes 1985, Domaine Trapet
Sorry about this choice since it is only available out of my cellar. The wine spent most of its life after bottling in an underground cellar in Vermont and arrived in California three years ago via FedEx. It has had these years in refrigerated repose to recover from the voyage and is tasting like the great wine that perfectly mature old vine Chambertin can be. The color is appropriately slightly brick tinged red, the bouquet is quintessentially Burgundian Chambertin with an aroma of truffles and tastes of cherry, truffles, and hints of leather with just a tiny reminder of sweet new oak. The length on the palate is remarkable. Best stood up for 24 hours and decanted just before serving.
Ryan Hebert, Winemaker and Assistant Vineyard Manager
Tablas Creek Vineyard Counoise
This wine pairs great with the turkey. Lots of blueberry fruit with a juicy mouth-feel that complements the drier texture of the bird.
Great as an aperitif, also pairs well with the appetizers and first courses of the meal. This wine has no oak with great acid and minerality.
John Morris, Tasting Room Manager
Tablas Creek Vineyard Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc
Last year I was asked to cook turkey. I'm not a big fan of a huge roasted turkey with the unavoidably dried-out breast, so I choose instead Turkey Breast with a Cognac Cream Sauce from Michel Richard's Happy in the Kitchen. It's basically a riff on Steak au Poivre. I served the Esprit Blanc. It was a beautiful foil for the sauce and the savory notes in the wine paired perfectly with all of the flavors on the table. I will do this again this year, although I will roast a whole turkey breast rather than bone and roll it, and I'll probably double the sauce.
I will also serve a Morgon from Beaujolais. I do not remember the producer. Beaujolais Nouveau is of course a standard recommendation for Thanksgiving, but I prefer the Cru Beaujolais. For those who don't know these wines, they're an outstanding value.
Tommy Oldre, National Sales Manager
Tablas Creek Vineyard Cotes de Tablas
As far as Tablas Creek wines go, I plan on having our Cotes de Tablas Rouge on my table. Between the purity and brightness of the Grenache fruit and its ability to be so broadly food-friendly, I think this wine will be an outstanding foil for much of what will be on my Thanksgiving table.
Domaine Vincent Delaporte Sancerre
For my non-Tablas Creek selection, I will probably have a bottle of Vincent Delaporte Sancerre. More than any other reason, I will have this on the table because this wine makes me happy. I am confident it will work with much of the food and I truly look forward to enjoying it over the course of the meal.