Turkey Wines

Have you picked out the perfect bottle of wine to accompany your Thanksgiving dinner next week?

No matter what type of wine you like, Finger Lakes wineries can provide a great bottle of wine for that special occasion when friends and family gather to give thanks.

Wine writer Natalie MacLean offers five tips for choosing just the right wine to go with your holiday meal.

She suggests starting with bubbly. More and more area wineries are not only making sparkling wines, they also earning accolades with them. Swedish Hill Winery in Romulus earned the Best Sparkling Wine award at this year’s Wine and Food Classic held in the Napa Valley. It is one of four sparkling wines I was able to taste recently that should be a hit.

Natalie’s next suggestion is to consider the turkey. She says that most turkey is dry in texture and could use a mouthwatering wine like a crisp Riesling or pinot grigio to complement it.

“I think Riesling is one of the best wines for a holiday meal,” say Natalie. “I love Finger Lakes Rieslings. They hold their place with the best Rieslings in the world.”

That plays right into one of the strengths of the Finger Lakes. Recently, King Ferry Winery earned a gold medal at the Canberra Riesling Challenge in Australia with its 2006 Treleaven Dry Riesling. The wine scored 55.5 points, finishing only a half point behind the worldwide winner that was produced in Germany. Other Finger Lakes wineries that scored well in the challenge were Heron Hill, Sheldrake Point Vineyard, Wagner Vineyards and Rooster Hill Vineyards. Overall, five of the top eight wines in the U.S. division were from the Finger Lakes.

Natalie also suggests looking beyond the bird. You do not have to match the wine to just the turkey, she says. Dave Peterson, manager at Swedish Hill agrees, saying, “I love those fruity, dry roses with food.” Or how about a 2006 Vidal Blanc from Atwater to go with the squash or green beans, suggests Katie Marks, who handles public relations and marketing at Atwater Estate Vineyards in Hector, where her father, Ted, is proprietor.

Natalie goes on to recommend a buttery chardonnay to complement the smoky flavors of chestnuts and pecan stuffing. You get the idea: there are lots of options, red, white and rose.

Natalie’s closing suggestion focuses on dessert. “End on a sweet note. If anyone still has room when it is time for pumpkin or pecan pie, offer a late harvest or Riesling ice wine.” That is another category in which the Finger Lakes wineries excel. There is even a holiday treat called Cranberry Essence from Cayuga Ridge Estate that ties in beautifully with a Thanksgiving meal.

The bottom line is that Finger Lakes wineries offer a bountiful selection of wines to accompany your meal.

Here’s to a joyful Thanksgiving holiday as you share the day with loved ones.

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