Date set for release of popular Georges Duboeuf Beujolais Nouveau

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The 2013 vintage sported a festive label, and sold quickly.

The 2013 vintage sported a festive label, and sold quickly.

It is hard to believe that I am sitting in front of my computer writing once again about Thanksgiving and the wines that can be associated with the feast. Since this is being written earlier than usual, I urge all of you readers to contact me via e-mail if you have any questions regarding what wines to serve. Find my e-mail address at the bottom of this column.

I recently called my friend Terri in Georgia to find out what she is making for the Holiday. To me, this woman represents the entire Thanksgiving tradition! As usual, she is having both family and friends over for dinner.

I don’t know how she selects the friends, but by the time dinner is served, it would not be unusual to have 24 or more adults along with an indeterminate number of children. As you might have guessed, she has a big old rambling farmhouse home and still grows and puts up a fair amount of food for the fall and winter.

Her lucky diners will find hot and cold appetizers, turkey with stuffing, ham and whatever wild game her husband has found, sweet and white potatoes, field peas, okra and other assorted veggies, plus corn bread and biscuits. All of this is followed by various desserts, including several types of pie — especially pecan!

Teri’s dinner is typically problematic in choosing what wine to go with the meal. The variety of tastes from sweet to savory to acidic makes the selection of wine difficult.

The wines that I most often turn to for Thanksgiving are: New Age, a white wine blend from Argentina, which has citrus undertones, allowing it to freshen the palate while eating. Pinot Noir, a red wine that pairs with a vast array of dishes, especially meats and desserts. Beaujolais Nouveau, made from the Gamay grape, and meant to be served young. This year I am adding a sparkling wine from Spain called Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava — which is the case with most relatively dry sparkling wines – this one pairs with everything from appetizers to dessert.

The Beaujolais Nouveau 2014 will be released for public sale on Nov. 20. From my sources, I have learned that the quality of the harvest was good thru mid-September. With the grape size being larger than last year, this foretells a well- balanced and aromatic wine.

Due to the strength of the dollar versus the euro, I hope prices will be the same or a tad lower than last year. This wine will be available at most of the wine sellers in the New Bern area. I anticipate a bottle will sell for less than $12.

Here’s a sneak peek at the wine’s label for 2014.

Here’s a sneak peek at the wine’s label for 2014.

My favorite medium-priced Pinot Noir is Meiomi from California. It is a well-balanced wine with dark berry overtones and a good finish – excellent to pair with wild game, turkey and ham. Look for this one at $21.99 per bottle, although it is available once in a while on sale for about 20 percent less, but expect to buy 12 bottles. Do as I often do – get together with a friend or two and split the purchase.

The New Age, mentioned above, runs about $10 per bottle and works well with appetizers or the turkey. With a low (9 percent) alcohol content, this wine can be sipped all afternoon with no unfortunate results.

I have tried the Cristalino Brut Cava a number of times and I find that it has a pleasant taste, clean finish and just enough residual sweetness to pair with a wide variety of food. Sparkling wine, due to a 100 year campaign led by France, has achieved recognition as the ‘go to wine’ for celebrations. Although this is not Champagne, the same method is used in the production of the Cava and the end result is similar.

The main differentiation is price! French Champagne can range in price from $30 to $200 or more bottle. The Cristalino is available at Harris Teeter for less than $11. If you are buying just one wine this holiday, by all means give this one a try.

I will return to Italian wines for my next article and look forward to revisiting North Carolina wines again has it has been a few years since I have written about our state.  Wishing everyone a great Thanksgiving! Again, I will be happy to answer any questions. Just e-mail: justin@compassnews360.com

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