"EARLY BIRD" SELECTIONS FOR THE THANKSGIVING TABLE
With only three weekends remaining before Thanksgiving, we're already thinking turkey and yummy seasonal grain and vegetable dishes, and picking some delicious wines to give you a head start on your holiday meal planning. But if you're not quite ready for that – not to worry – these wines are equally well suited to any Autumn dinner occasion!
Kite & String "Geneva Russet" Cider 2016 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: USA / Region: NEW YORK - INTERLAKEN / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): N/A --- Kite & String was started by a team of young farmers passionate about organic permaculture and its potential in the Finger Lakes region. Melissa Madden and Garret Miller hold down operations on the farm, which produces a variety of leafy greens, herbs, asparagus, as well as peaches and apples from their young orchard, plowed by their two draft horses, Polly and Leo. Garret's brother Jimmy Miller is the head cidermaker, operating everything from pressing to fermentation to bottling in the cidery right below the tasting room. The team at Kite & String are some of the hardest working people in the cider business because they are farmers first! This bone-dry Traditional Method cider offers a delightful contrast to the higher acid ciders more commonly offered. Thoughtfully blended (from both Russets and bittersweets) to highlight the low-acid, complex character of the Russet apple, this begins with honeyed floral notes, buttered popcorn, and hint of campfire on the nose. A palate of dried apple rings, raw honey, fresh cut grass, crème fraîche, and smoked Gouda finishes with long, soft tannins, for an altogether cozy quaff. Great with spicy crabcakes or even a big bowl of buttered popcorn!
Albert Boxler Edelzwicker Réserve Alsace AOC 2014 - ORGANICALLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: ALSACE / Appellation: ALSACE AOC / Varietal(s): PINOT BLANC+RIESLING+MUSCAT --- Domaine Albert Boxler in the Alsatian village of Niedermorschwihr is the embodiment of the small, family-run estate that's been passed down through the generations. Jean Boxler, many generations removed from his ancestor of the same name that first came from Switzerland in 1673, currently runs operations at this humble domaine, where not much has changed throughout the centuries (it hasn't needed to!). Intensely serious about his winemaking, Jean produces some of the best-regarded white wines in Alsace. World War II brought Jean’s grandfather Albert back to Niedermorschwihr from Montana, returning to the family domaine after the war to harvest the 1946 vintage. He became the first generation to bottle the production himself under a family label. (The label on the wine today was in fact drawn by Albert's cousin in 1946.) Albert’s son Jean-Marc continued the tradition for several decades until passing the baton to his son Jean in 1996. The family’s vineyards grow near the ancient village of Niedermorschwihr, dominated by the dramatic granite hillside Grand Cru, Sommerberg. Sommerberg is renowned for yielding racy, intensely structured, very long-lived wines. After harvest, the wines are vinified and aged in old foudres in a small cellar underneath the family home until bottling. Edelzwicker is a term that simply refers to a blend of grapes from within the AOC, in this case pinot blanc, riesling, and muscat. This is a dazzling display of classic Alsatian flavors, exploding with fresh aromas of white flowers, lemon-lime blossoms, and lychee. Medium-bodied, with mouthwatering acidity, this finishes with a flourish of floral and mineral tones. A wonderful special occasion white, open this with Gruyère quiche or roasted ham.
Christian Venier "Les Hauts de Madon" Cheverny AOC 2017- ORGANICALLY GROWN + LOW INTERVENTION
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: CHEVERNY
AOC / Varietal(s): PINOT NOIR+GAMAY --- Christian Venier is located in eastern Touraine, in Cheverny at the corner of Sologne south of Bois. A former sheep shearer by trade, he rediscovered his family's winemaking roots, honing his natural winemaking skills under his cousin Thierry and Jean-Marie Puzelat of Clos du Tue Boeuf. After years of assisting with harvests, he produced his first vintage in the mid-90s while simultaneously enrolling in the viticultural school of Amboise. Beginning with two hectares he inherited from his parents, today he has six hectares of organically farmed vines. A staunch non-interventionist in the cellar, his aim is the creation of wines with minerality and structure, with no additions or subtractions. 80% pinot noir, 20% gamay, "Les Hauts de Medon" is hand-harvested from Christian's higher-elevation vineyard (of the same name), and fermented whole-cluster using natural yeast in a cement and resin tank. The grapes undergo carbonic maceration, and are bottled unfiltered with no sulfur added. The combination is precise, elegant and refreshing – light in body, its bright, crunchy red fruit flavors mingle with shades of herbs, black cherry and plum. Great with seared albacore or poulet en cocotte (chicken roasted with bacon and potatoes).
Bloomer Creek Vineyard "White Horse" Finger Lakes 2014 - ORGANICALLY GROWN + LOW INTERVENTION
Country: USA / Region: NEW YORK STATE / Appellation: FINGER LAKES / Varietal(s): CABERNET FRANC+MERLOT --- A true trailblazer in natural winemaking in New Your State, specifically the Finger Lakes region, Bloomer Creek proves that producing delectable wines while working organically is not an impossible feat, even in New York's challenging climate. (The first natural winemakers of Burgundy and the Loire Valley in France also heard similar protestations.) Kim Engle and Debra Bermingham have been crafting beautiful examples of natural wine without the use of insecticides or herbicides, famring organically for over 30 years. Fungal disease is controlled by the use of sulfur for powdery mildew and copper for downy mildew. Seaweed/fish and compost formulations are sprayed to aid in disease resistance and vine health. Harvest is done by hand and winemaking methods are what they consider traditional. Fermentation is done with ambient or wild yeast. 70% cabernet franc, 30% merlot, White Horse is a tongue-in-cheek homage to Cheval Blanc, the legendary Bordeaux estate renowned for cab franc/merlot blends. But White Horse has almost as much in common with Loire reds as with Bordeaux. Either way, the results are certainly scrumptious! The cool climate of the Finger Lakes allows lower alcohol levels and a degree of freshness and elegance to really shine. Dark fruited notes of plum, raspberry, and strawberry are accented by hints of forest floor, sandalwood, and baking spices, all of it supported by bright acidity and fine, broad tannins. An elegant, Old World-style offering, this is a wonderful dinner companion, with dishes like mushroom quiche or an old-fashioned pot roast.