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November 25. 2014 9:47PM

Tasting Notes with Jim Beauregard: Turkey Day wines and a resource for brewers


 

Thanksgiving Day is tomorrow. If you have some wine shopping left to do, let’s take a look at what goes with Thanksgiving dinner.

I’m assuming we’re having turkey, both white and dark meat, and the usual fixings.

For white-meat lovers, you can serve Riesling (on the dry end of the spectrum, like a Kabinett), an unoaked California Chardonnay or a Sauvignon Blanc if you want something with a little kick to it. Then, of course, there’s always sparkling wine — Champagne (French), Sekt (German), Asti or Prosecco (Italian).

For dark-meat fans, you can think about switching to a lighter red wine like Pinot Noir or a Beaujolais, Rioja, or even a Merlot if it’s not too heavy. Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, in their encyclopedic “What to Drink with What You Eat,” even go so far as to suggest Cabernet Sauvignon with a plate loaded with stuffing, potatoes and gravy and cranberry sauce.

Speaking of cranberry sauce, not a few of our local vineyards produce a cranberry wines that are well worth considering.

Let’s take a look at one white-meat option, an Austrian Riesling that we are fortunate to have here in New Hampshire thanks to the efforts of Crush Distributors (available at Harvest Market and wine shops): Tegernseerhof Terassen 2013, $22.99, 12.5% alcohol by volume. From the Wachau wine region, it’s pale gold in the glass, with a medium-intensity nose of white fruit and hints of citrus, and some distinct mineral hints. The palate is dry, of medium-plus flavor intensity, medium weight with very good, mouth-watering acidity. The flavors are white fruit, green apple, pear, just a hint of peach, and some good minerality toward the finish. Excellent balance, concentration of flavors, intensity and multiple components in a harmonious blend. 91 points.

You will find very few wines of this quality at this price point. I give you an 8-hour headstart before I buy some more myself.

Brewing resource

I was at Harvest Market this past weekend and spotted an issue of Brewing Beer magazine, all about (what else?) brewing your own beer. Have you ever thought about trying it yourself?

The magazine starts with a bit of a primer, some beer history, and a look at many of the major styles. It informs us that pale ale, for instance, is also known as English pale ale, and is generally light in color, leaning toward hoppy with a focus on citrus. They give the example of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Pale Ale.

It’s full of useful info like this. There’s also an article on home brewing equipment, letting you know what you need to know about brew kettles, hydrometers, sanitizers, bottles and bottle cappers (hint — don’t go all the way through the brewing process and then realize you don’t have bottle caps).

Then there are the ingredients, which, all things considered, are simple: water, grain, hops, yeast. Now within this framework, there are of course infinite variations that affect flavor and style.

And there’s a step-by-step guide to the brewing process, including some specific recipes for IPAs, wheat beers and porters.

If you’re thinking, “How do I find everything I need?” you’ll also find an article on starter brewing kits, with some online resources for purchasing.

So, if you’ve thought of giving it a go, or know someone who would like to, Brewing Beer magazine is a good resource to get you started.

Contact local beer and wine writer Jim Beauregard at tastingnotesnh.com.


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