Tag Archives: Thanksgiving wines

Celebrated sips: California’s Central Coast

Living in the Napa Valley, I’ve become accustomed to high-end wines crafted by celebrated winemakers known throughout the world. So when I had the chance to try three wines of the Central Coast, I was a bit skeptical. With Thanksgiving nearly here, I decided to first try the 2015 tangent Albariño of Edna Valley ($17), mainly because I enjoy this Spanish varietal and realize it is sparsely planted in California.

The Niven family’s estate vineyard, Paragon, revels in its SIP™ Vineyard Certification (Sustainability in Practice). The grapes for tangent grew in the Edna Valley, halfway between Monterey to the north and Santa Barbara to the south, mimicking the Rías Baixas climate in the province of Galicia.

My first pour enlightened me on the idea that you really can bring a taste of Spain to California, even with American soil and cultivation. The nose on this wine proved citrus clean and fresh, and the taste was pure Albariño, dry and light with medium acidity. When you buy this wine, try it with sushi (ahi tuna) and you will not be disappointed. In fact, you can drink this wine alone and be perfectly happy.

Next, I tried a 2015 Zocker Grüner Veltliner of Edna Valley, a really good pick to bring to your host for Thanksgiving dinner ($20). These Grüner Veltliner and Riesling grapes are grown in the same region as the tangent Albariño, and is also SIP™ certified. Also, both of these white wines were aged in stainless steel tanks without ever sitting in an oak barrel. And both are screw caps.

Aromas of pepper, tastes of minerality and melons set the stage for a winning wine crafted by winemaker Christian Roguenant. Kudos!

The quote on the label of my final wine review of this area says it all: “Her Secret is Patience”. The 2014 True Myth Cabernet Sauvignon ($24) of Paso Robles is a glowing representation of what Mother Nature can do with finesse. Its motto is “Taste and Believe” and I am on board as a believer! With just enough oak to create cherry and vanilla notes, and a light spice finish, this smooth cabernet sauvignon I sipped has only one drawback for me… I wish I had saved it to enjoy it even more in a few years. Stock your wine cellar with this one, and you won’t be sorry!

Lesson learned: Central Coast wines are worth sipping, and even though the pricing is less than the majority of Napa Valley wines, it doesn’t mean they are lesser in quality and taste!

Wines to pair for Thanksgiving dinner

ImageThanksgiving with Frei Brothers guarantees you’ll be in good company. So, welcome the Russian River and Dry Creek Valleys to your table, where guests will swoon over these elegant wines. Start with a bottle of 2012 Frei Brothers Reserve Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($17) to pair with popovers stuffed with goat cheese. Your guests are sure to love the vibrant, clean, lemon-fresh notes and rich minerality that comes from the terroir of Laguna Ranch, Two Rock Vineyard and MacMurray Ranch. Moving along to Frei Brothers 2011 Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($20), this a a lovely, elegant wine of perfection in its acidity, and pairs quite well with appetizers of substance, such as dates wrapped in bacon and stuffed with almonds or cheese, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and broiled to sweetness.  Or better yet, save it for dessert of apple pie to add a buttery flavor.

Reds you say? Frei Brothers Reserve 2011 Dry Creek Valley Merlot ($20) is an excellent wine to store for aging. For now, this intensely aromatic wine with its baking spice flavors and smooth liquid and smokiness would work quite well with Thanksgiving Day turkey dinner for those who enjoy red wines in particular. Or how about a bottle of Frei Brothers Reserve 2011 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel ($20), made with a commitment to sustainability (in fact, all of the Frei Brothers wines are made with sustainable practices). The zinfandel’s all-spices only get better with the knowledge that this wine was made with the environment in mind. And in the heart of Northern Sonoma, the terroir produces Bordeaux-like wine sure to win over your guests. Add 4 percent petite sirah and you’ve got yourself a winner. So they did.

Bravo, Frei Brothers! And if you visit their website: www.FreiBrothers.com, you can link in to the tab, “In the Kitchen” for great recipes to pair with these wines.