One of the dilemmas during holiday wine season is trying to decide what to spend. It’s one thing if it’s just immediate family for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, but start adding guests and the wine bill goes up accordingly. And that takes a lot of fun out of the holidays, which should be about enjoyment and not spending money.
Fortunately, there is great wine no matter how much you want to spend:
• Not much money: Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier ($10) is a white blend from California that is one of the best cheap wines in the world, with just a touch of sweetness and lots of white fruit. Planeta La Segreta Rosso ($10) is a red blend from Sicily that’s made for food — a little earthy and with some cherry fruit.
• A little more money, but still not a lot: Spy Valley Riesling ($18) is a New Zealand white that is about as close to a perfect turkey wine as possible — a dry wine with layers of flavor that range from petrol on the nose (a classic riesling characteristic) to citrus and tropical in the front and middle. Bonny Doon’s Clos de Gilroy ($18) is a dark and spicy red blend from California that still has enough red fruit to appeal to everyone.
• Not cheap: Hedges Red Mountain ($25), a Washington state red blend, is one of the best wines I’ve tasted this year, rich and deep and with lots of quality black fruit. Cornerstone Cellars Chardonnay ($35) is an Oregon wine made in more of a California style, rich and oaky with lots of green apple fruit.
Ask the wine guy
What wine goes best with turkey?
The traditional answer is pinot noir, but any light red will work. This is also a good time to serve sweet whites.
Ask the wine guy
Welcome to our fourth annual Thanksgiving leftovers extravaganza, because the world does not need yet another recipe for the holidays. Instead, let’s clean out that refrigerator:
• Turkey and dressing egg rolls. Who says egg rolls need to be Asian? Combine leftover turkey and dressing in grocery store egg roll wrappers and bake or deep fry according to package directions. Use leftover gravy for the dipping sauce.
• Turkey jambalaya. You can make this with leftover rice, which is even easier. Sauté some onions, celery and bell pepper in a little olive oil until the vegetables are tender. Add chopped garlic and, if you’re feeling adventurous, a finely diced jalapeño, and sauté briefly. Then add sliced smoked sausage and the leftover turkey. Mix carefully, add a couple of cups of cooked rice, mix again, and heat until warmed through.
• Turkey pot pie. The simple way is to buy two frozen pie shells, add a can of cream of mushroom soup along with leftover turkey and whatever other vegetables are in the refrigerator, and bake for 40 minutes in a 400-degree oven. Less simple, but not difficult, is Jacques Pepin’s chicken pot pie (substituting turkey, of course) in “Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home.”