Holiday Wines

Fri. November 21, 2003 12:00 AM by News Staff

Selections by The Gourmet Grape

Chicago, IL - Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the bounty of the autumn harvest and making the right wine selection will complement a traditional Thanksgiving feast.

Jeffrey Durbin and Mike Banko of The Gourmet Grape, 3530 N. Halsted St., share several wine selections they feel offer the tastes and flavors of Thanksgiving.

Beaujolais Nouveau – Price Range between $ 9.49 and $ 11.49

Just after midnight on the third Thursday of each November, from little villages and towns, over a million cases of Beaujolais Nouveau begin their journey through France to Paris for immediate shipment to all parts of the world. The New Beaujolais has arrived!

By the time it is over, over 65 million bottles, nearly half of the region's total annual production, will be distributed and drunk around the world. It is amazing to realize that just weeks before this wine was a cluster of grapes in a growers vineyard. With an very fast harvest, a rapid fermentation, and a speedy bottling, all is ready at the midnight hour.

Apart from the fanfare, what makes Beaujolais Nouveau so popular? Beaujolais Nouveau is as about as close to white wine as a red wine can get. Due to the way it is made, the must is pressed early after only three days and the astringent tannins, normally found in red wines, isn't there, leaving an easy to drink, fruity wine. This, coupled with the fact that it tastes best when chilled, makes for a festive wine to be gulped rather than sipped, enjoyed in high spirits rather than critiqued. As a side note, it makes a great transitional wine for anyone wanting to move from white to red wines.

2003, Beaujolais Nouveau, George Duboeuf, France $ 11.49
2003, Beaujolais Nouveau, Joseph Drouhin, France $ 10.99
2003, Beaujolais Nouveau, Paul Bocuse, France $ 9.49

Zinfandel – Price Range between $ 17.99 and $ 41.99

Zinfandel (not to be confused with White Zinfandel) is the perfect Holiday red wine. This big jammy grape makes a very nice wine to go with a holiday dinner. Zinfandel is often called the "mystery" grape because its European origins are oddly uncertain. What is known is only that bottled wines bearing the varietal label "Zinfandel" appeared as early as 1883 in California. Hence, Zinfandel is known as "California's grape."
Once harvested, the fruit ferments with little coaxing from the winemaker. Underripe grapes are used for rose wines, ripe for reds, and overripe for port wines.
The best Zinfandel grapes grow in cool coastal locations. They yield dry, full-bodied, intensely flavored red wines with substantial tannins. Premium Zinfandels are rich and peppery, with a lush texture and ripe fruit flavors.

1999, Edizione Pennino, Niebaum-Coppola $ 41.99 (personal favorites)
2001, Carla’s Vineyards, Rosenblum Cellars $ 27.99 (single vineyard Zin)

Riesling – Price Range between $ 10.99 and $ 17.99

Riesling grapes are the source of some of the best wines of Europe, including Germany's Rhein and Mosel river regions as well as Alsace in France.
California Rieslings tend to be more delicate than the European style. Dry California Rieslings generally have the freshness of melon rather than the tartness and grapefruit flavors of German Rieslings, although a select few California vintners are making dry Rieslings more in the German tradition.
Rieslings can range in style from very dry to sweet dessert wines with up to 25 percent residual sugar. Typically, they have a lively fragrant, fruity and floral bouquet.

2002, Riesling Kabinett, Gunderloch, German $ 17.99
2001, Riesling, Jean-Marc Bernhard, Alsace, France $ 11.99

Now is the time to select your Thanksgiving wine and to think ahead to the upcoming holidays. Tasting gives you the ultimate opportunity to make the perfect selection. Join The Gourmet Grape, 3530 N. Halsted St., for a “holiday wine tasting” of 12 various varieties from around the world on Sat. and Sun., Dec. 6 & 7, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. 10% of wine sales and 15% of merchandise sales from these two days will be donated to “The Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation.” Event Details