Here come the holidays in all their unfettered glory. By now, you probably have your turkey game on lock down, but have you considered what to serve with your feast of all feasts? Long Island boasts some of the country’s finest wines. So, this year, keep it local and keep it delicious.
Break out the Bubbly
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Southold’s Sparkling Pointe produces high-quality sparklers, including a meticulous Blanc de Blancs and a delicious brut. But at Thanksgiving, I’m often in the mood for a meatier, richer sparkling wine that can stand up to the eating at hand. Sparkling Pointe’s Lambrusco-reminiscent 2015 Cuvée Carnaval Rouge is a perfect solution, with ripe red fruits and a silky mouthfeel that will put even the crankiest family member in good spirits. Not a sparkling red lover? Never fear. Lenz Winery’s 2012 Cuvée—the current release for their traditional, Champagne style sparkler—is a yeasty, toasty bubbly that is good both with and without food. What could be more festive than bubbles to kick off the holiday season?
Start a Little Sweet
Beginning the meal with an off-dry wine may feel strange, but the bright acidity of a good Riesling, balanced by a little residual sugar, is the perfect entrée to a day filled with food. I love Paumanok’s 2016 Semi-Dry Riesling, a deeply floral, clean wine with a surprisingly dry finish that pairs well with cheese, lean meats, and virtually anything that has been slathed with butter (see: my turkey). Osprey Dominion’s 2014 Semi-Dry Riesling is equally formidable, with deep minerality and an astonishing finish. For those unsure about the majesty of Riesling, this is a good time to open some eyes. And for those already in the know, well, it should come as no surprise that Riesling is a great match for Thanksgiving.
Go Big or Go Home: The White Version
The debate between red and white on Thanksgiving will go on eternally. I believe in the adage shared by sommeliers everywhere: Drink what you like! To that end, don’t forget to serve a mighty white (or two) to offset the deep-seated Fear of Drinking Red Wine with Poultry. The white wine drinkers in your life will appreciate the 2014 Anemometer White from Greenport’s Kontokosta Winery, a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier. Not to be outdone, Shinn Estate produces a lees-aged Chardonnay—the 2015 Shinn Estate Chardonnay—with enough heft to stand up to even the heartiest of holiday meals. See ya later, Napa Chard. Long Island has this category covered.
Go Big or Go Home: The Red Version
The Macari family has owned their 500-acre estate, Macari Vineyards, for generations, which is why they know what they’re doing when it comes to wine. Their spicy, rich, and not-too-hot 2014 Syrah (a common complaint regarding New World Syrah) has just enough kick to take things up a notch. The Robert Parker-acknowledged Gabby’s Cabernet Franc from Roanoke Vineyards is sold out, but you can still grab a bottle of the 2015 Red Blend, a thoughtful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc that will make you go… mmm. Both of these wines are big without being brutish, which means that you can have a glass—go ahead, have two!—without losing your palate to red wine fatigue.
Bonus: A Post-Meal Tipple
Sweet wine isn’t for everyone, but if it’s for you and your drinking companions, consider grabbing a bottle of the Wolffer Estate’s 2015 Descencia Botrytis Riesling/Chardonnay, a honeyed, unctuous wine that has achieved near-perfection from Sauternes’ famous “noble rot.” If your meal was heavy and your desserts are light—and if you prefer to end on a playful note—test out a bottle of the Pindar’s 2014 Moscato, a wine redolent with orange peel and bright green apple. The great thing about both of these wines is that neither is too sweet, so if you’re serving something decadent, these are sure to complement—rather than eclipse—your dessert table. Sweet wines get a bad rap but, at their finest, they are brilliant and bright and just right for closing off an exceptional holiday meal.