Room at the table for vintages aplenty

A rack of rosŽé at Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman, 19 N. Second Ave., offers Thanksgiving wine shoppers an alternative to the traditional white wines served with turkey. The two roséŽs in front are both from local wineries. The Robison Ranch Cellars wine takes it one step further, and is made with merlot grapes from the Walla Walla Valley appellation.

A rack of rosŽé at Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman, 19 N. Second Ave., offers Thanksgiving wine shoppers an alternative to the traditional white wines served with turkey. The two roséŽs in front are both from local wineries. The Robison Ranch Cellars wine takes it one step further, and is made with merlot grapes from the Walla Walla Valley appellation. Photo by Alfred Diaz.

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Walker's picks

Five labels to consider for Thanksgiving dinner with prices ranging between $15-$22.

Jack, by Saviah Cellars, reds and whites available

Blacksmith, by Forgeron Cellars, reds and whites available

Linen, by Bergevin Lane Vineyards, reds and whites available

TATT, by Trust Cellars, red table available

Redd Brand, by Tertulia Cellars, reds available

WALLA WALLA — Dark or white meat?

Mashed or sweet potatoes?

String beans or brussel sprouts?

Thanksgiving is a day when most families face a cornucopia of delicious decisions, with the exception, perhaps, of the brussel sprouts.

And it’s OK if among those choices you find yourself having to decide over a white or red wine, or maybe something in between.

“Regardless what anyone tells you, I tell people drink what you enjoy,” says Duane Wollmuth, executive director of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance.

But if you are set on serving a wine that is normally paired with Thanksgiving, tradition has it that you will lean toward whites to go with that lean meat.

And if you are set on serving a Walla Walla made white wine, you are in luck.

“There is actually quite an assortment of white wines made in the Valley,” Wollmuth said. “But not all of the grapes come from here.”

What that means is if you also want to serve a white that is made from grapes grown in the Walla Walla Valley American Viticultural Area established in 1984, good luck because fewer than 5 percent of the grapes grown in the appellation are white wine grapes.

So if you insist that it be locally grown, Catie McIntyre Walker says go for red, if that is what you like.

“I think people should drink anything they want,” said Walker, a writer, blogger and merchant of Walla Walla wines. She did, however, recommend to stay away from the heartier cabernets and merlots.

“If you are truly wanting (red) wines that will pair well with (Thanksgiving) foods, there are other red wines to look for from our local wineries,” she said.

Sangiovese or grenache are two of her choices. Just don’t neglect the whites.

“A few bottles of white wine is a must for the Thanksgiving table. Any and all white wines will pair nicely,” Walker said.

In addition to drinking what you like, be sure to put out what others like and give them plenty of choices.

“(It is) boring to have just one wine at the table when there is so much diversity on the menu, as well as diversity of guests and their palates,” she said.

If you are still hesitant to put out a red with white meat, Walker suggested considering dry rosés.

Local winemakers excel at these wines, traditionally made from the same grapes used to make red wines. But local winemakers also produce them in lower quantities. The result is many rosés sell out by summer.

“We are trying to get people to think of serving them all year round, especially because they go so well with turkey and cranberry,” Walker said.

Rosés do have a reputation of being too sweet, which Walker said is due to decades of inferior quality rosés produced in California.

Local rosés, however, are made in the “French tradition” — Walker likes to point out — and are “dry and crisp” and go great with turkey. Unfortunately, they’re few in number.

“These rosés are generally released during the spring, very limited, so when they are gone, they are gone until the following spring,” she said.

Walker added that she still has some local rosés and a good number of French ones available at her Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman store.

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