Holiday Wines and the Thanksgiving Feast
When most of us think about Thanksgiving, family, friends, and that traditional feast all come to mind. It is certainly a special time of the year, and one of the most treasured traditions here in the United States of America. For me, and many others, that Thanksgiving feast will be accompanied by several special bottles of wine selected to pair with all those amazing food items that tend to be served during the holiday.
Traditional holiday menus include a lot of different types of foods and an amazingly wide range of flavors. A number of wines were released by 4.0 Cellars to Wine Club members in both September and November allocations, many with a nod to pairing with holiday fare. The following are some recommendations for wines to enjoy during the holidays.
Red wines, both dry and a bit off-dry, typically pair well with turkey, ham and other meats served this time of year. The following should certainly enhance the enjoyment at the Thanksgiving and Christmas table.
Brennan Vineyards Tempranillo 2015 Texas
Grape(s): Tempranillo 100% (92% from estate Newburg Vyd & 8% from Cottonwood Springs/Nubbin Ridge Vyd)
Crushed & fermented in SS tank, aged 13 months in American & French oak barrels; 14.6% ABV, pH 3.62, 0.1% RS (DRY)
Ruby color with brick-ish rim; fruit forward with aromas of black cherries & blackberries; flavors echo the same fruits, with notes of freshly turned soil, wet leather and pipe tobacco; well-balanced wine with lush tannins at the finish.
Lost Oak Winery Rain Dance Red 2015 TX High Plains
Grape(s): Merlot 40% & Tempranillo 40% from Bingham Family Vyds, Meadow, TX, Terry County; Ruby Cabernet 20% from Krick Hill Vyd, Levelland, TX, Hockley County
Fermented in SS tanks, blended & aged 11 mo in American & French oak barrels (mix of new & used); 13.3% ABV, <0.1% RS (DRY)
Rich cherry & blackberry fruit aromas & flavors; notes of earth & pipe tobacco; definitely toasty oak character with a long, slightly tannic finish
McPherson Cellars Les Copains Red Table Wine 2015 Texas
Les Copains is a French term meaning “the buddies” or “partners”
Grape(s): Mourvedre 30%, Carignan 28%, Syrah 21%, Cinsault 19%, Grenache 2% sourced from Lost Draw Vyd, Brownfield, TX, Terry County
Fermented in SS tank & aged 12 mo. in medium toast French oak barrels (20% new); 13.8% ABV, 0.3% RS (DRY)
Classic characteristics of a Rhône blend – ripe fruit, warmth & earthy richness; wild strawberry & cherry fruit with herbal spice notes; bright acidity frames a gentle finish that pairs well with lighter meat dishes.
Brennan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Texas
Grape(s): Cabernet Sauvignon 81% and Ruby Cabernet 19% from estate Newburg Vyd, Comanche County, TX
Crushed & fermented in SS tank, aged 18 months in American & French oak barrels; 14.4% ABV, 0.1% RS (DRY)
A worthy follow-up to the 2014 vintage that was awarded Best Texas Red at the 2016 TEXSOM Competition. Ruby color; fruit forward with aromas & flavors of black currants & blackberries; notes of fresh herbs, subtle smoke & creamy vanilla. Ripe, mellow tannins complete the well-balanced finish.
Lost Oak Holiday Red 2016 TX High Plains
Grape(s): Ruby Cabernet 55% from Krick Hill Vyd, Levelland, TX (Hockley County), and Merlot 45% from Diamante Doble Vyd, Tokio, TX (Terry County)
Fermented in SS tanks, blended & aged 13 mo in American & French oak barrels (neutral); 13.5% ABV, 1% RS (hint of sweet)
A traditional festive blend from Lost Oak, this year with less sweetness than in vintages past. Rich cherry & cranberry fruit aromas & flavors; notes of earth & pipe tobacco; mellow finish that lingers on the palate.
McPherson Cellars Tre Colore Red Table Wine 2016 Texas
Grape(s): Cinsault 67%, Carignan 29%, and Viognier 4% sourced from Castano Prado & Lost Draw Vyds in Terry County, TX
Fermented and aged in SS tank; 13.5% ABV, 0.4% RS (DRY)
Classic characteristics of a Rhône blend with a nod to tradition by adding a bit of white to the red – wild strawberry & cherry fruit with herbal spice notes; warmth & earthy richness; bright acidity frames a gentle finish.
White wines, again either dry or slightly sweet, are so much fun to serve before the meal while visiting with family and friends, and later at the table. The following white wines can be recommended for your holiday festivities.
Lost Oak Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Texas
Grape(s): 100% Sauvignon Blanc sourced from Burning Daylight Vyds near Rendon, TX (in Johnson County just east of Lost Oak Winery & Burleson)
Fermented cold & aged 9 mo in SS tank; 13.8% ABV, 0.7% RS (hint of sweet)
Crisp wine perfect for warm afternoons on the porch; flavors & aromas of pear & pumelo fruit with delicate minerality on a light, but lively finish.
McPherson Cellars Chenin Blanc Old Vines 2016 TX High Plains
Grape(s): Chenin Blanc 100% sourced from a nearly 40 year-old vineyard located near Lubbock, TX
Fermented cold & aged in SS tank; 13.0% ABV, 0.3% RS (DRY)
From one of the oldest vineyards in Texas, this brilliant white wine offers apple, melon and floral aromas that lead to rich, crushed apple & citrusy flavors; the finish has mineral-driven undertones & crisp acidity
Brennan Vineyards Lily Reserve 2015 Texas
Grape(s): Muscat of Alexandria 100%, estate Newburg Vyd, Comanche County
Fermented cold at 52 degrees & aged in SS tank without malolactic fermentation; 13.2% ABV; 0.1% RS (DRY)
This special reserve wine offers aromas of white flowers, citrus blossom & vanilla bean; flavors of clementines, nectarines & bananas with notes of honey & toasted almonds; finishes with palate tingling acidity
Brennan Vineyards Lily 2016 Texas
Grape(s): Roussanne 100%, Reddy Vyds near Brownfield (Terry County, TX)
Fermented cold at 52 degrees & aged on the lees in SS tank without malolactic fermentation; 13.2% ABV; <0.1% RS (DRY)
This wine offers fruit aromas of gala apple, papaya, dried mango & key lime. There is a note of honey on the palate. Well-balanced, the wine finishes with lively acids & a rich finish that pairs well with your holiday menus.
Lost Oak Winery Dry Rosé Frizzante 2016 Texas
Grape(s): Muscat Canelli 90% & Merlot 10% from Diamante Doble Vyd, near Tokio (Terry County, TX)
Fermented cold, aged in SS tank, sparkled at bottling; 13.5% ABV (hint of sweetness)
Aromas of honeysuckle, citrus & peach with flavors to match. The finish is clean & lively with just enough effervescence to tickle the tongue.
McPherson Cellars Piquepoul Blanc 2016 TX High Plains
Grape(s): Piquepoul Blanc 100% from Timmons Ranch, Terry County, TX
Fermented cold & aged in SS tank; 12.8% ABV, 0.5% RS (essentially DRY)
This white Rhône is a nice follow-up to the 2015 vintage that was awarded Best White in Show at the 2016 San Francisco International Wine Competition. Subtle aromas of apple & citrus with pleasant acidity & a gentle finish.
With a large number of family and friends expected for the holidays, there will certainly be those interested in sweeter wines. 4.0 Cellars offers a number of delicious options to choose from.
Lost Oak Winery Soprano 2016 TX High Plains
Grape(s): Gewurztraminer 50% & Orange Muscat 50% from Diamante Doble Vyds outside Tokio, TX, Terry County
Fermented & aged 11 mo in SS tanks without malolactic fermentation; 13.0% ABV, 3.5% RS (semi-sweet)
Aromas of honeysuckle, mandarin orange & lychee. Flavors of mandarin orange, honey & ruby red grapefruit. Nicely balanced finish makes this perfect for the porch or pool
Vintage Lane Life’s A Peach N.V. TX High Plains (Lost Oak Winery)
Grape(s): Riesling 26% & Gewurztraminer 26% from Diamante Doble Vyd near Tokio, TX, Terry County; Orange Muscat 24% & Muscat Cannelli 24% from Krick Hill Vyds, Levelland, TX, Hockley County
Fermented cold & aged in SS tanks; blended & sweetened at bottling to about 4% R.S. (semi-sweet); 12.3% ABV
This medium-bodied sweet wine with natural peach flavor has a velvety, rich peach aroma & flavor, perfect for warm weather sipping
La Diosa Sangria N.V. TX High Plains (McPherson Cellars)
Grape(s): Blend of Texas High Plains grapes – white & red
13.0% ABV, medium sweet
Dark color; sweet cherry & plum aromas; flavors of cherry & cranberry compote with citrusy notes; round & fruity finish with good acidity to balance the sweetness. This is a warm fall-day “patio sipper” created for La Diosa Cellars, a Bistro & Tapas Bar owned by Sylvia McPherson, located across the street from McPherson Cellars in downtown Lubbock, TX
Lost Oak Winery Emerson 2016 Texas
Grape(s): Muscat Canelli 57% Krick Hill Vyd, Levelland (Hockley County, TX), Chardonel 25% (LOW estate vyds), 13% Vermentino Burning Daylight Vyd, Rendon, TX, and 5% Malvasia Bianca (LOW estate vyds, Burleson, TX)
Fermented & aged 20 mo in SS tanks without malolactic fermentation; 13.8% ABV, 3.0% RS (semi-sweet)
Aromas of honeysuckle, citrus & peach with flavors to match. Nicely balanced with a pleasing sweet finish.
Emerson Carol Lockhart was born in 2017 with a congenital heart defect, and will need 2 major surgeries before the age of 5. Her mother is a former Lost Oak employee & the niece of Winemaker Jim Evans. $5 will be donated for every bottle of Emerson purchased to help defray Emerson’s medical expenses.
Lost Oak Winery Gewurztraminer Frizzante 2015 TX High Plains
Grape(s): Gewurztraminer 100% from Diamante Doble Vyds near Tokio, (Terry County, TX)
Fermented cold & aged in SS tank; blended, sweetened & sparkled at bottling to 3% R.S. (semi-sweet); 12.7% ABV
This wine offers spicy aromas of clove, lychee, & citrus with a hint of ginger. The finish is pleasantly sweet with a light effervescence to tickle the tongue.
Austin Street Comanche Rose 2015 TX High Plains (Brennan Vineyards)
Grape(s): Cinsault 100% from Reddy Vyds near Brownfield (Terry County, TX)
Fermented & aged in SS tank; 12.8% ABV, 3.5% R.S. (semi-sweet)
Slightly sweet, light & refreshing. Fruit flavors of lychee, strawberry & pear with notes of mint, anise & jasmine; well-balanced finish with uplifting acidity & palate-pleasing freshness.
A final recommendation is accompanied by one of my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving, a Pumpkin Custard Pie in Graham Cracker Crust. Try this combination and watch both the wine and dessert disappear before halftime of the family’s favorite football game.
Brennan Vineyards Mistelle of Semillon Dessert Wine 2015 TX – With 16% ABV and 7% residual sugar, this classic style of sweet, fortified white dessert wine is a masterpiece from Todd Webster. Aromas of honey & apricot with floral notes of jasmine & gardenia, coupled with flavors of canned peaches & lemon zest bring the taster to a well-balanced, lush and silky finish. This one is hard to beat when it comes to finishing off the holiday meal.
Pumpkin Custard Pie in Graham Cracker Crust
Adapted by Carl W. Hudson from a traditional family recipe
16 oz Pumpkin (1 can)
1 envelope Gelatin, unflavored
1 tsp Cinnamon, ground
½ tsp Ginger, ground
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Nutmeg, ground (or freshly grated is best)
2 lg Eggs, beaten
14 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk (1 can)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Graham Cracker pie crust shell
Cool Whip or Whipped Cream
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and then whisk in Sweetened Condensed Milk.
Into a large sauce pan, combine pumpkin, gelatin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Mix well. Add egg-milk mixture to the sauce pan, and, with frequent stirring, heat gently to just a boil. Thick mixture will tend to bubble and pop as it begins to boil.
Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
Scrape pumpkin custard into the graham cracker crust. Note: If there is more pumpkin mixture than will fit into the pie shell, scrape the excess into a bowl and enjoy as pumpkin pudding later. Allow pie to cool to room temperature.
Refrigerate pie until dessert time. Serve with healthy dollop of Cool Whip or whipped cream and a glass of chilled Brennan Vineyards Mistelle of Semillon.