Grape Expectations – November 2012

Grape Expectations

By Robert Kleffel and Noemí Paz

Happy Thanksgiving


Roberto-y-NoemiWhat’s For Dinner?

This is a great time of year to be thankful and most of us have a lot to be thankful for, including our friends and families, and living in Mexico with our wonderful climate. The pilgrims, in 1621, had very little to be thankful for with the exception that they were alive. The pilgrims got some help from friendly Indians. For dinner they had wild turkey, fish, deer and maybe lobster. The wild turkeys eaten by the pilgrims are unrelated to the turkeys we commonly eat for Thanksgiving. They originally came from the country of Turkey and were introduced into Europe. The pilgrims weren’t fortunate enough to have wine with their Thanksgiving dinner as we have today.

In the United States, Thanksgiving Day is currently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November by federal legislation in 1941 and has been an annual tradition in the United States by presidential proclamation since 1863 and by state legislation since the Founding Fathers of the United States. Historically, Thanksgiving began as a tradition of celebrating the harvest of the year.

In Canada, Thanksgiving Day occurs on the second Monday in October and is an annual Canadian holiday to give thanks at the close of the harvest season. Although the original act of Parliament references God and the holiday is celebrated in churches, the holiday is mostly celebrated in a secular manner.

Throughout North America, turkey is the traditional meal for this holiday. Locally in the Chapala area, turkey is not readily available year around and it may need to be specially ordered.

Pairing wine with a turkey dinner is virtually an impossible task because of the wide range of flavors within the meal. Starting with the meat, the turkey breast is very light and delicate whereas the legs have a rich meat flavor. Next, we have the stuffing which is a festival of various flavors including herbs, spices, fruit, nuts and bread. The white breast of the turkey is usually covered with thick gravy loaded with butter and other flavors. Side dishes, such as cranberry sauce, completely overpower the more delicate turkey meat. Often the addition of sweet potatoes adds another whole flavor sensation. The meal is typically concluded with pumpkin pie. So we go back to the question, “What wines will go best with this meal?”

Here are a few suggestions: If you know your guests well, select wines which you know that they will like. When serving red wines, they should be medium bodied with low tannins. Additionally, with white wines, you may wish to consider wines on the sweet side. In either case, with red or white, keep the alcohol content well below 15%. Some of your guests will probably bring their own favorite wine. When you begin serving wine, instead of attempting to “pair” wines with the food, a good idea is just to ask your guests what they would like from the selection you have. That’s what would happen in a restaurant, and it will work perfectly in your home.

In the list of wines below you will find a group of wines which have broad “pairing” appeal and are often recommended for turkey dinner. They would be wines that you would normally have on hand as they are good for many different occasions.

Cono Sur – Merlot -Chile $136.50 Pesos/ Santa Digna- Carmenere – Chile $154.00 Pesos/ Santa Alicia Reserva- Sauvignon Blanc – Chile $130.00 Pesos/ Blue Nun Riesling – Germany- $136.50 Pesos/ Villa Golf -Pinot Noir – Chile $123.00 Pesos

We wish all of our friends a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Noemí Paz:

Robert Kleffel:


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