Wine for Normal People

Thanksgiving is a meal with so much complexity that you may just want to think about streamlining your wine choices. We offer a "one wine" solution -- versatile choices that go with everything -- so you don't have to stress! Here's the shortlist that we mention:

 

Whites:

Off-dry Vouvray and off-dry Riesling

Premier Cru Chablis

Alsace whites -- especially Riesling, Muscat, and Gewurztraminer

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc or Priorat Blanc

Italian whites

Bubbles! American Sparkling or Prosecco are fruitier and may be best

 

 

Rosé

 

Especially New World rosé that can stand up to the multitude of flavors

Bubbly rosé is a great pick too

 

 

Reds

Caveat Emptor, since red is less versatile for Thanksgiving. Pick something low in alcohol, low in tannin, and moderate in acidity

Top picks: Beaujolais, Cabernet Franc

 

 

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Direct download: Ep_172__The_One_Wine_Thanksgiving_Solution.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Every year on the third Thursday in November at midnight, Beaujolais Nouveau hits store shelves, cafés, and restaurants around the world and (a declining number) of people rush out to get this invention of marketing genius.

 

The celebration of this hastily made wine, for which grapes are picked and then processed in a scant few weeks before you drink it (as opposed to quality wine which is made over several months, if not years) is the creation of producer/negociant Georges Duboeuf. This guy took the Old World idea of festivals that celebrated new/young wine —  wine made from grapes fresh off the vines — and put a marketing machine behind it to get the world to support Beaujolais Nouveau.

 

The problem: young wine is best when it’s fresh and sipped at the winery. When it travels overseas and is stored for a month the wine is terrible. But even then, I bet if we tasted it fresh, Beaujolais Nouveau tastes like bananas, bubble gum, and pear candy, with little acid or tannin. Apart from color, it has more in common with a white than a red. It’s fun, but it doesn’t taste that great and as we’ve become more sophisticated in our wine drinking, Beaujolais Nouveau has become less exciting to most people. 

 

Sadly this increasing sophistication has had terrible repercussions in the region of Beaujolais — forcing some growers out of business and creating tensions among those who depended on this product for their livelihoods. So the question for Beaujolais is: Now that Beaujolais Nouveau is on the rocks, what else is there?

 

Enter higher quality Beaujolais. This is the stuff wine people go nuts over but that few others know about: the 10 Beaujolais Crus that make distinctive, floral, fresh wine from the Gamay grape. Just south of Burgundy and north of Rhône, on a swath of granite, which is Gamay’s preferred soil, are scattered areas that make outstanding wine. From north to south these are: Saint-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Côte de Brouilly, and Brouilly.

 

The wines produced in these Cru run the gamut — from floral and fruity to rich, earthy, and complex. Here’s a quick grouping of each type: 

 

  • Lighter bodied, more floral, less age worthy: Chiroubles 
  • Medium bodied, fruity with mineral notes:Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, Fleurie, Régnié, Saint-Amour
  • Fuller bodied, spicy, earthy: Chénas, Juliénas
  • Even fuller and more age-worthy, spicy, and like a cross between Pinot Noir and more floral Gamay: Morgon, Moulin-à-Vent

 

Most of these wines are incredibly well priced for what they are — around US $20 or less — and they taste like nothing else you’ve ever tried. I don’t know of other wines that can boast flavors of iris flowers, violets, or lily of the valley and also have raspberry, earth, and spice notes. The combination of freshness and structure — most Cru have excellent acidity but also a round, soft texture — make these wines like nothing else you’ve ever had. 

 

So clearly, I love the stuff. Go get yourself one from an area I just mentioned that sounds best to you and report back on the blog: winefornormalpeople.com/blog and we’ll compare notes.

Direct download: Audioblog_11__Beaujolais_Cru.mp3
Category:French wine -- posted at: 6:08pm EDT

Ian returns as a co-host, talking about his latest venture -- starting an independent wine shop. We discuss the work that goes into this process, what you should look for in a indie shop, & economics of bottle pricing. Fascinating behind the scenes look!

 

Visit his site jadedpalates.com to see his selection and, if you're in the UK, to get the free shipping he's offering to WFNP listeners!! 

Direct download: 171_Ep_171__Ian_Renwick_Indie_Wine_Shop_Owner.mp3
Category:wine shops -- posted at: 11:19am EDT

A poem...because Halloween is our favorite holiday!

 

An Ode To Halloween Candy Pairing…

 

Halloween was fun, now it’s day of the dead

So don’t make a mistake that will mess with your head

Although some have an empty bowl where once there were sweets

Most of us have tons of left over treats

 

Whether you’re stealing from your kids or eating from the work trough

We’re here to make sure your wine doesn’t taste off

 

Because although some wine people recommend Cab

Malbec, Pinot Noir, and Syrah in their gab

We’ll remind you once more as we did in a podcast

That you should reconsider before you reach for a glass

Dry wine is nasty with Halloween candy

Regardless of your palate, it just doesn’t taste dandy

Bitter and gross with a hollow taste,

With delicious candy, it’s such a waste

 

Better for you is wine that is sweet:

Port, Muscat, Late Harvest anything you really can’t beat

Ruby Port with Snickers? Late Harvest Zin with Kit Kat?

We’ve told you a hundred times, this pairing is where it’s at

Sweet Sherry or sweet Vin Santo is nice

For Starburst and Skittles don’t think twice

Although I’d save the Sauternes and Tokay

With the sweetness of the candy, you could give it a try!

 

We know that sweet wine may not be in your cellar

But a wine sweeter than the dessert transforms things like Cinderella

So grab a sweet wine, invite some friends by

Choose some of these pairings, just give it a try

 

‘Cause Halloween comes just once a year

And this volume of candy will soon disappear

Don’t mess it up with a crappy pairing

That will leave you drunk and have you swearing.

Trust us on this one, we’re not trying to be beat

For candy, Post-Halloween, you better go sweet!

 

 HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Direct download: Bonus__An_Ode_to_Halloween_Candy_Pairing.mp3
Category:wine -- posted at: 2:57pm EDT

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