Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Wines

This week one of the most indulgent days for many of us of the year arrives: Thanksgiving. No table is complete without a couple bottles of wine, with red and white choices to keep everyone happy. But you don’t have to stick to those alone.  There are some great fruit wines that pair well with Thanksgiving dinner and many are made right here in New Hampshire with seasonal products.

Cranberry Wine
Cranberry wine, like cranberry sauce, is a great complement to the Thanksgiving meal and with its rich red color, will look very seasonal in your wine glass.
Zorvino Vineyards in Sandown offers two distinctly different cranberry options: CranZeeno and Cranbreez. The CranZeeno is a lighter, fruity wine blend that even non-wine lovers will like. The Cranbreez is much more tart and may bring a slight pucker to your lips. As a great option, the Cranbreez can be mixed with Prosecco, Champagne or sparkling wine to make a festive cocktail.
Haunting Whisper Vineyards in Danbury also offers two cranberry options: a semi-dry cranberry wine and new this year, Misty Bog. The cranberry wine has great fruit flavor and some tartness to it, while the Misty Bog is a sweet, holiday dessert wine. This wine could also be mixed with sparkling wine if you wanted to cut down on the sweetness, or just enjoy it as is as an apertif.
Another option is the cranberry wine from LaBelle Winery in Amherst. This wine is slightly sweet and tart, made with New England cranberries.

Apple Wine
Apples are a fall staple and many wineries take advantage of their abundance, using cider apple varieties from local farms.
Sweet Baby Vineyard in East Kingston offers an apple wine that is semi-sweet, clean and crisp, with a nice balance of acidity. This wine has a velvety texture and is made with local fruit.
Hermit Woods Winery’s Harvest Apple wine, also made with local fruit, is light, crisp and captures the essence of apple juice. Because it pairs well with a variety of foods, it is a good choice for Thanksgiving dinner.
Also supporting a local farm, Coffin Cellars in Webster uses cider apples in their apple wine. This wine is smooth and tangy, with hints of green apple, melon and honeysuckle. Enjoy these wines well chilled, or try apple wine mulled in a crockpot with spices as an extra treat during these colder temperatures.
For something a little different, try Kurt’s Apple Pie from Moonlight Meadery in Londonderry. This is one of their best-selling meads, made from local cider and Madagascar-bourbon vanilla and Vietnamese cinnamon spice. It is like apple pie in a glass and if you don’t want to drink it, try it over vanilla ice cream as a great dessert.

Pumpkin Wine
Pumpkin fans will enjoy Jumpin’ Jacks Pumpkin Dessert Wine from Zorvino Vineyards. The winery staff spends hours working on this wine, cutting up hundreds of pounds of pumpkins by hand. While this wine is more expensive than most, it is only available once a year and combines the best characteristics of pumpkin with mulling spices to create a wine that is rich and almost savory.

Other Recommendations
Some wineries, like Flag Hill Winery in Lee, Sweet Baby Vineyard and LaBelle Winery make apple-cranberry wines. Flag Hill’s is the most tart and sweet, while the other two are semi-dry and have less sweetness.
For a twist on apple wine, try Moonlight Meadery’s Deviant, a sweet melomel (fruit mead) made with apple cider from Sunnycreast Farms in Londonderry. It also has ginger, making slightly sweet and spicy with a lingering finish. It’s also important to note that ginger helps with digestion and stomach aches, so this may be the best post-Thanksgiving choice.
If you have difficulty finding some of these wines, a good standby wine is Chicken & Turkey from the Pairing Collection. This red blend has 50 percent Grenache, 30 percent syrah and 20 percent carignan. This wine has aromas of cherry and tobacco with fruit flavors and a spicy finish. I tried this wine with my Thanksgiving dinner last year and it was a decent match.
Another one of my picks is Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is affordable and less pungent than many sauvignon blancs out there. It has flavors of lemons and limes, with a nice creamy finish.
No matter what you have on your table this holiday, I hope you enjoy it with good wine, good food and the company of family and friends.  

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