<p>Master Sommelier Chris Tanghe whets our palates with these seven wines to try alongside our turkey dinner. </p>
Not sure how to pick a fantastic wine to pair with your grandma’s turkey recipe? Have no fear. Playboy.com brings you Seattle-based Sommelier Chris Tanghe’s top picks. Tanghe suggests a fine crop of vinos to complement your holiday, your budget and your taste.
Why not give them all a whirl?
Syrah has such a delicious savory quality that is perfect with the foods of Thanksgiving. Washington State in particular has the amazing ability to provide lush and ample black fruits to complement the savory backbone: black plum skin, blackberries and boysenberry with bacon fat, black pepper, sweet tobacco and juniper. The Reynvaan family are relatively new to the Washington wine scene as their first vintage was 2007, but they have quickly risen to producing some of the top wines of the state.
Old-school Syrah from the northern Rhone filled with violets, venison jerky, cardamom, roasted beets, roasted tart black fruits and rosemary. This wine is perfect with turkey and stuffing with bacon, herbs and gravy. It has richness and complexity heightened by bright acidity that has the wine leaping out of the glass. Levet is a traditionalist that has inspired many makers of Syrah.
One of the greatest premier cru vineyards made by a rising star. Mr. Piuze’s first vintage was 2008 and he has been killing it since. Vinified from 70-plus-year-old vines that see just a touch of oak, this wine is defined by a crystalline minerality of oyster shells rounded out with Golden Delicious apple, baked pear, lemon confit and soft cheese rind. Buy as much as you can find as it’s going to age magnificently. A top choice for the cheese course.
Riesling might very well be the most versatile food wine out there, and this is a superb dry example from one of Germany’s top winemakers. Grown in the Felsenberg vineyard from the small but powerful 2010 vintage, it explodes with Rainier cherries, slate, stargazer lilies, pink grapefruit and snappy acidity. Sweet potato anything will have you pouring a second glass of this.
Blood orange, high-toned dried red flowers, raspberry and currants wash across the palate with silky tannins. Grown in one of California’s cooler AVAs, this progressive style is at the forefront of a stylistic shift happening right now that is a fresh perspective on what Pinot Noir can be in the new world. Pass the cranberry sauce please!
Barolo is my desert island wine without a doubt. It seduces you with its amazing power combined with a finesse that you wouldn’t expect from a wine with monstrous tannins and acid. This vineyard is one of the best (and most underrated) sites in the zone. It possesses a dense core of tart but sweet red fruits with layers of anise, mushroom, sweet tobacco, truffle, ash and perfume. You could eat anything with this and be a happy human.
Old vine Albarino from green Spain that has incredible density and verve that reminds you of the most perfectly ripe stone fruit you’ve ever tasted. Nectarines, honeydew melon, tarragon, crushed stone and apple blossom fills the mouth and is the perfect aperitif wine before a big meal.
Chris Tanghe resides in Seattle and is the Wine & Service Director for the contemporary Spanish restaurant Aragona. He is a native of the East Coast and has lived all over the continental U.S.