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Finding a reason to be Thankful in 2020

By Lisa Mesa on Nov 03, 2020 at 05:00 AM in The Good Life

Each year we create our suggested pairing list for Thanksgiving and this year is no different except that it may be even more important as some are finding it difficult to find reasons to be thankful.  We are here to help you find a few.

The first thing to mention when pairing beer or wine with meals such as Thanksgiving where many different selections play a part is to NOT focus on one thing but to focus on the meal as a whole.  The over all Thanksgiving meal contains many of the same flavors and spices so you are looking for beverages that are complimentary to those flavors and that will fit in seamlessly not falling behind or over shadowing the majority.  Also, don’t be afraid to select several beverages that you can incorporate throughout the meal.  Let’s do this!

Finding a reason to be Thankful in 2020
Thanksgiving Wine Pairing

Sparkling Wine

It’s a celebration after all so Sparkling wine is a great way to start plus bubbles elevate some of the richer, dense selections, lifting them off the tongue and cleansing the palate with each sip.

2017 Loubud Sparkling Brut Cuvee by Laura Roach.  $55
This beautiful sparkling is made in the traditional method and is fermented and aged in bottle for 25 months.  72% Pinot Noir and 28% Chardonnay from the Cebada Vineyards, SYV.
48 cases produced.

Why we love it – With aromas of honeycomb and brioche, the first sip is vibrant and complex with layers of Bartlett pears, lemon preserves and honey. 

2018 Loubud Sparkling Rosé of Pinot Noir by Laura Roach.  $55
100% Pinot Noir from the Cebada Vineyards, SYV.  Made in the traditional method, fermented and aged in bottle. 
45 cases produced

Why we love it – Along with the aromas of fresh baked brioche you will find layers of Granny Smith apples, raspberries and white cherries.  Sparkling wine and Rosés are perfect for the holiday’s and this is the best of both worlds!

White Wine

2018 Lo-Fi Riesling by Michael Roth.  $32
Coming from the certified organically farmed Coquelicot vineyard, aged in neutral oak for 10 months.  FRESH with notes of citrus, apple peel and a clean minerality. 
110 cases produced

Why we love it – Rieslings are light and oh so refreshing thanks to the acidity and don’t be scared away thinking they are all sweet this beauty is dry and that is exactly why it’s so perfect for this meal. The 2018 Lo-Fi is a great wine to start your celebration as you pass around the appetizers but also a nice contrast to the rich and earthy flavors of your Thanksgiving table. 

2019 Habit Sauvignon Blanc by Jeff Fischer.  $43
100% stainless steel and coming from the McGinley Vineyard in Happy Canyon.  Jeff’s focus on high acid, lower alcohol wines makes this a VERY food friendly wine.  Kaffir lime, bright citrus and floral notes with a hint of thyme and a fabulous long, clean finish. 
700 cases produced

Why we love it – This wine is fresh and vibrant with lots of acidity.  The citrus notes, minerality and slight herbal tones make this a perfect wine from Turkey to mashed potatoes and everything in between.

Rosé

2019 La Lieff Rosé of Grenache by Kris Curran.  $34
La Lieff wines are estate grown on the Alamo Creek Ranch Vineyard in San Luis Obispo County.  They are women owned and operated.  Gretchen Lieff is the vineyard owner with Kris Curran as her winemaker.  This pale beauty is 100% Grenache, whole cluster pressed with NO skin contact.
400 cases produced

Why we love it -   So perfectly elegant and delicate with hints of stone fruit, pink lady apples and a touch of minerality.  It finishes with a crisp pucker of acidity.  This Rosé is so refreshing and would go very well with the flavors of cranberry, goat cheese, baked apples and even roasted vegetables.

Red Wine

2017 Seagrape Pinot Noir by Karen Steinwachs$36
The 2017 was just released in September and is a vastly different vintage than previous with very little change in method.  As usual, this wine is all Santa Rita Hills with 20% whole cluster, 15% New French oak, unfined and gently filtered. 
195 cases produced

Why we love it – Pinot Noir is usually the #1 choice for Thanksgiving but it has to be the RIGHT style of Pinot Noir.  The 2017 is dark and brooding in the best way with aromas of cola and blueberry with a hint of sagebrush.  The palate gives way to black cherry, blueberry and a hint of all spice.  This is a balanced, edgy wine and the PERFECT Pinot Noir for your Thanksgiving table.

2019 Lo-Fi Cabernet Franc by Michael Roth.  $36
This is the newest vintage, just released, 85% Cabernet Franc and 15% Gamay coming from the organically farmed Coquelicot vineyard.  Semi carbonic (giving it a light effervescence), whole cluster and a 50/50 split in concrete and neutral. 
700 cases produced.

Why we love it – First WE LOVE Cabernet Franc for pairing with ALL the flavors of fall plus it has a light to medium body, reduced tannins, and is naturally high acid sooooooooo, it’s a red that pairs with vegetables!  This wine is savory, herbaceous and filled with baking spice.  The 2019 in particular is tops thanks to the added Gamay which is another ALL STAR pick for the season.

2017 J. Dirt Red Blend by Brook Williams.  $50
The Slide Hill vineyard is Bio dynamically farmed and located in the SE portion of the Edna Valley.  The grapes were hand-picked and native yeast fermented with minimal intervention.  The blend is 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah was aged for 16 months in neutral French oak. 
226 cases produced

Why we love it – The moment that I tasted this wine I knew it was going on this list and not just that but on our table this thanksgiving and probably Christmas too!.  Rhone style blends are fantastic for fall pairings and this one is close to perfect with a rich, smooth mouthfeel, flavors of dark red berries, fall spices and a hint of sage on the lingering finish.  The J. Dirt 2017 Red blend is so well balanced from start to finish and has only gotten better over the past two months

Finding a reason to be Thankful in 2020
Thanksgiving Beer Pairing

Beer and Cider

Cider – This is the most obvious choice.  Come on, it’s Cider season, of course it should be at your Thanksgiving table!  Cider has acidity, astringency and sweetness similar to wine.  There are bubbles to clear your palate and apples go with all the roasted and caramelized flavors of the traditional Thanksgiving table.  We suggest sticking to the dry vs sweet as they are more refreshing when paired with and rich, savory table.

What we suggest – Bristols Original 12 oz $5/$15 4pk; South City Oaked Pomegranate 16 oz $8/$25 4pk; Brooks Dry Hard 12 oz $5/$24 6pk

Saison – Some of our favorite beers to pair with food this time of year.  They are typically rustic, low alcohol (though not always!) using local ingredients, light bodied and dry.  Saisons are unique to the brewer and brewery and you will often find notes of citrus, spice, and wild herbs.  All flavors that go perfect with fall weather and heavy, rich foods.

What we suggest – Silva Brewing “Ve Va Che Rustic Farmhouse 500 ml $16 ea; Urban Roots “Capay Rye” Rye Saison 750 ml $11 ea

Pilsner – Crisp and refreshing with bready malt, hints of citrus and subtle spice, Pilsners are another great “lighter side” option.  Just the right amount of flavor without overwhelming your palate and distracting from the headliner – THE FOODS!

What we suggest – North Park – “Paesanos” with Sterling hops (delicately spiced, citrusy aroma with both a floral and herbal punch)  16 oz $8/$25 4pk and “Save Versus Fire” with Nelson hops (an almost white wine "fruitiness" with fresh crushed gooseberry and grape infused tropical flavor) 16 oz $8/$25 4pk

Ambers & Browns – These two are classic fall beers and can be a little hard to find among the sea of IPA’s now days.  Still refreshing enough for the warm days but filled with the flavors of fall.  Caramely, nutty and malty all perfect flavors for a roast turkey with stuffing.

What we suggest – M. Special “Dozer Special" American Brown Ale 22 oz $10/$30 4pk

IPA – For all the same reasons we love Sauvignon Blanc with the holiday table, we love IPA’s.  They fall in very similar categories – Tropical, grassy/piney, and Citrus (Grapefruit).  The bitterness cuts through the heavy, rich flavors of a holiday table leaving your palate refreshed and ready for the next bite. The flavors themselves also go well but stick to Pale Ale or IPA and leave the super hoppy beers for another time (we see you Double and Triple!)  Thanksgiving is rich but the flavors are still fairly soft and a super hoppy beer will make them disappear altogether.

What we suggest – Common Space “Free & Easy” 16 oz $8/$25 4pk and “Pamplemousse” Grapefruit IPA 16 oz $8/$25 4pk; Laughing Monk “Brother Jason” West Coast IPA 16 oz $8/25 4pk

Now, this is by no means a complete list and we have more selections coming in every day.  Thanksgiving is about being thankful, its about time with friends and family and it’s all about FLAVOR!  You do you.  Cook what you love, eat what you love and drink what you love with it.  There are enough rules right now so in this case do what makes you HAPPY.  We are here to help you with all of your holiday beverage needs.  

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

Alfred & Lisa Mesa

The Good Life

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