It’s time for my annual holiday and Thanksgiving wine plea: Drink what you like, and don’t worry about food pairings. The next couple of months are about celebration and appreciating the good fortune that has given us the opportunity to be with family and friends. It’s not about wine geekdom, comparing snob notes, and boring everyone with your visit to Napa and how special it was. If someone at Thanksgiving dinner likes white zinfandel, then let him drink white zinfandel.
This month’s wine suggestions are firmly in that vein. There’s a little bit of something for everyone, and a couple of the wines would make nice gifts for the wine drinker on your holiday list. All are available at Central Market. Don’t be afraid to experiment:
• Chateau Barat Rose ($10): This is not just a stunning wine, but a steal at $10. It’s made by the Lurtons, one of France’s premier winemaking families, and it comes from quality Bordeaux fruit. You can’t say that about most rosés. Look for lots of strawberry fruit, but don’t be surprised if it morphs into something with a long, minerally finish.
• Bouchaine Estate Chardonnay ($23): Winemaker Michael Richmond is a Dallas native who ended up in California 40 years ago and found himself in the wine business. That’s our good fortune. This white wine is more fruit than oak (think lime), and shows just how interesting California chardonnay can be.
• Kunde Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon ($24): Kunde has made solid, dependable wine for years, a family-run winery that has successfully competed with the corporate-ization of the California wine business. It’s an old-fashioned and much appreciated wine: lower alcohol, raspberry fruit and balance.
The most pressing food problem this time of year is not what to cook, but what to do with the leftover turkey. So here are several suggestions to remedy that problem:
• Turkey Reuben sandwiches, from the November 2009 Advocate: perfect for the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
• Julia Child’s turkey hash, from her epic “The Way to Cook”: A lot of work, but well worth the effort.
• Turkey frittata: This baked omelet requires nothing more than eggs, leftover turkey and whatever cheese and vegetables are in the refrigerator. Mix all together, put in an over-proof pan, and pop in a 350-degree oven until the eggs are set.
• Turkey soup: One of the best versions comes form Jacques Pepin’s “Cooking with Claudine”, which uses turkey and the leftover carcass.
• Turkey fajitas: Slice the leftover turkey and marinate it in lime juice and soy sauce with sliced onions, bell peppers, and garlic for 30 minutes or so. Drain the marinade, and saute the vegetables until browned. Then add the turkey to warm it up.
Ask the wine Guy?
At what temperature should I serve red wine?
We usually serve red wine too warm in Texas — at our room temperature, about 78 degrees, instead of room temperature in Europe, which is about 10 degrees cooler. Don’t be afraid to chill a red wine for 20 or 30 minutes before you drink it.