Two of the biggest wine holidays are just around the corner. Thanksgiving screams for wine and many of you answer the call. I’m not sure how much thought you give to what wine pairs the best with the traditional meal. For many it has already been decided based on what they do just about every year. Being the wine guy that I am, I have been putting a lot of thought into what I will do this year and where I will guide the customers seeking my advice. This year I am going Grenache. I will be putting out two You Tube episodes featuring Grenache this Tuesday and Friday. I review some choices I selected, and surprisingly one didn’t show very well. I say surprisingly because the producer of said Grenache is usually quite reliable and consistent. You’ll have to watch to find out who that is. I know it’s a cliffhanger, but I would like you to see my reaction to the wine in question.
The reason I am looking to Grenache is the fact that it is low in tannins and when emanating from Spain (called Garnacha), it is usually at a very reasonable price. The flavors of Thanksgiving are savory and subtle. If you pair a wine with solid tannins like a Cab, it will dominate and drown out the flavors of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Of course, you can do whatever you want, it’s your palate and your money. I am here to guide those that want guidance. Grenache a.k.a. Garnacha is soft in tannins, has in a lot of cases a bit of spice and shows a fair amount of fruit. Usually but not always, notes of strawberries and plums with a little boysenberry thrown in. Not quite as much fruit as a Zin, which a lot of people pair the meal with. However, I have tried Zin many times with this meal and have had mixed results. I have a few Grenache set aside for our celebration and I will give a report afterward. Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a fantastic holiday with your families. Later this week I will put out a list of my top ten wines I recommend for Thanksgiving. Stay tuned.
On a somber note, a very close friend and mentor of mine died suddenly at her home last week. Yvonne Swanberg was a maverick in the wine world. Her husband who died in 2006 from cancer, left her with a winery that she had already taken under her wing. She worked tenaciously to build San Juan Vineyards and take care of the grapes her husband had planted years earlier. She was a force to be reckoned with and under her guidance San Juan Vineyards produced award-winning whites and reds. She watched wine makers come and go, but held the winery together with her hard work and love of the winery. She sold the winery in January of this year and just started getting comfortable with retirement. It saddens me each day to realize that I won’t be seeing her smiling face coming down the aisle to say hi and chat about what’s going on in the wine world. Yvonne loved wine and many times I would be invited to her house for a tasting she orchestrated for her friends. She was a passionate woman and a good friend that will be missed by many in our community and throughout the Washington wine scene. I miss you Yvonne and I want to thank you for your advice, support and friendship. Rest in peace, and may you have your angel’s share of any barrel you choose.
Stan The Wine Man