Posted November 12, 2012

In Honor of Thanksgiving: A Wine Tour Through the States

Eat + Drink

{A guest post from Kimpton’s Master Sommelier, Emily Wines}

Thanksgiving is almost here. In honor of the national holiday, here’s a little bit of national trivia.

Did you know wine is made in all 50 states? However, grapes are only grown in 48 of them. Vines don’t do so well in the extreme climate of Alaska, for example. Hawaii, oddly enough, makes quite a bit of wine. They grow grapes in the cool microclimates on the mountainside and also make wine from pineapples.

Intrigued? Here’s a bit more about my favorite wines and the U.S. states they come from.

Sparkling Wine: New Mexico

Sparkling wine is a must for every special meal, and many of them come from California. However, one of the best I have tasted is from New Mexico. It’s from Gruet Winery and is made in the same style as Champagne. Their Brut is dry and crisp; I love it with salty foods like the chips and dip my aunt always puts out before dinner.

Riesling: Idaho & New York
The most famous winery in Idaho is Snake River. Yes, you heard me right—Idaho. The cool climate in this unexpected state is perfect for high-acid wines like Riesling. Theirs is juicy and almost dry, a bit like biting into a Fuji apple. I love it with Waldorf salad. Riesling is also really, really good in New York. Dr. Konstantin Frank is one of the older wineries in upstate New York and they make a bone-dry Riesling that is so fresh and crisp it gives me chills.

Chardonnay: California
Chardonnay is certainly widely planted, but one without too much oak is the best fit for the big Thanksgiving meal. (Save those oaky Chardonnays for grilled and smoked foods.) Patz & Hall Winery makes a Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast of California that is gorgeous. The cooler, coastal climate preserves its crisp acidity and brings out tree-fruit flavors, like pear and apple.

Rosés and Pinot Noir: Virginia and Oregon
White Hall Vineyards in central Virginia is my go-to for rosé wines. Made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, their Vin Gris is slightly fruity and has a palate full of light spices, cherries and strawberries. I think it goes really well with turkey dinner and cranberries. Oregon Pinot Noir is another perfect fit for Thanksgiving dinner. The wines are woodsy and smoky with bright cranberry and cherry flavors. On my table every year is Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir or Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir. Argyle Winery makes a beautiful rosé from Pinot Noir that is rich enough to drink throughout the whole meal.

Syrah and Merlot: Washington and California
Bigger, bolder reds may not be the perfect fit for Thanksgiving dinner, but if that’s you want to drink who am I to tell you it won’t be delicious? Washington State is a great source for velvety, winter reds. I love Syrah and Merlot from Walla Vineyards. For a great value, try Charles Smith “Boom-Boom” Syrah. It is peppery and bold. For a sublime wine experience, go to Gramercy Cellars Syrah. This wine is loaded with dense black fruit, peppercorn, smoke, spice and bacon flavors. (Yes, really. Bacon!) Of course, California is also a prime source for big reds too, and I love Cabernet from Heitz Cellar. When most winemakers are coming out with Cabernet that is full throttle and massive, these are rife with finesse and balance.

Dessert Wine: Virginia
If you are thirsty for more wine when the pumpkin pie comes around, look to Barboursville Vineyards in Virginia for a perfect Thanksgiving dessert wine. They make a Malvaxia Passito that is full of dense golden raisin and honeyed almond flavors—perfect on its own if you’re still too full from dinner.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Updated April 20, 2016


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  2. Kandra Wanlass says:

    Dessert is the usually sweet course that concludes a meal. The food that composes the dessert course includes but is not limited to sweet foods. There is a wide variety of desserts in western cultures now including cakes, cookies, biscuits, gelatins, pastries, ice creams, pies, pudding, and candies. Fruit is also commonly found in dessert courses because of its natural sweetness.`*

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  3. Danica Bugtong says:

    Sugar also contributes to the moistness of desserts and their tenderness. The flour or starch component in most desserts serves as a protein and gives the dessert structure. Different flours such as All-Purpose Flour or Pastry Flour provide a less rigid gluten network and therefore a different texture. Along with flour desserts may contain a dairy product.:`