From a wine perspective, November and December are my favorite months at the store. Thanksgiving and Christmas are huge wine holidays and it’s mostly to do with food and wine pairing. I love to help a customer find the wine to pair with meals and people get serious about it during this time of year. Lots of questions to answer and lots of choices to make. Far before the holidays arrive, I spend time thinking about which wines I will feature at the store. For Thanksgiving, Pinot Noir or Gamay is the most popular and I like to give the customer a variety of styles to choose from. Some like their Pinot Noir on the fruit-forward side, whereas others prefer the old world lighter style. The cool thing is both work. I also like to throw in some less traditional options, such as Grenache, GSM blends (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) Rose’ or Lambrusco. It’s really fun to get someone to go outside their comfort zone and try something new. The key is to make it work for them or I risk the chance of losing their trust. A big responsibility I take seriously.
I had a customer approach me the other day looking for Beaujolais Nouveau. This will be the first year in my wine career I have not bought any for the store. It has lost its luster and last year I had to practically give it away in January, long after the holidays had passed. Why is that? I’m not sure, but I think some of the reason is the price. Long ago, Beaujolais Nouveau was a big deal. You couldn’t sell it until the third Thursday of November. When that day rolled around, big stacks of Nouveau would go up and fly off the floor at nine bucks a bottle. It was touted as the perfect Thanksgiving wine. Fresh, fruity and light, but also quite inexpensive. A perfect combination for a large gathering of people. Today, it goes for fifteen bucks a bottle and has lost its appeal as a cheap and cheerful Thanksgiving wine. Since it is made with the Gamay grape, I lead people to Gamay in a different form. Beaujolais Villages is a step up from Nouveau and sometimes it goes for less money. I love Gamay with turkey and I prefer the Villages version over the Nouveau.
I have a lot to write about over the next month, so I’m cutting this one a little short. It was nice to see the Hawks pull out a victory over Arizona at a key time of the season. They showed that they can play some defense after all.
I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy some good wines and quality time with your family.
Stan The Wine Man