A couple of my friends love Thanksgiving so much, they make sure to have it twice a year. They spend Thanksgiving Day with their families, but pick another autumn date, when similar-minded friends who like to cook and drink wine get together to do just that. It’s an opportunity to make sure all your favorite dishes are served, or to give a new recipe a dry run. Plus, leftovers!
This year’s “first” Thanksgiving was probably the best yet. A fresh local turkey was cooked to perfection with sage leaves tucked under the skin. The stuffing had two types of sausage and giblets, taking on a wonderful savory, almost earthy tone. Mashed potatoes, gravy, steamed butternut squash and homegrown Swiss chard rounded out my plate. There was a pumpkin pie, cheesecake, and my contribution—a homemade, deep-dish apple pie with a crumb topping and vanilla ice cream.
I also brought a few bottles of wine, but the one that was in my glass when the turkey was carved turned out to be a terrific match with the meal. The Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas Paso Robles 2008 ($25) from California is a blend of the Rhône varieties Grenache, Syrah, Counoise and Mourvèdre. The Thanksgiving meal has so many components to pair with a single wine—but this choice held up to every single element. With plenty of fresh fruit flavors, spice and just a touch of loam, the red matched up with the stuffing just as well as with the turkey and all the trimmings. It also has a wonderful supple texture. I rated it 89 points, non-blind.
As if having great wine, a delicious meal and fantastic friends wasn’t enough to be thankful for, we were also watching the San Francisco Giants clinch the National League pennant together that evening. May your upcoming Thanksgiving be as much fun!
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas Paso Robles 2008 (88, $25).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated red Rhône varieties from California.